This week we were lucky enough to break BOMB QUEEN creator Jimmie Robinson away from his ridiculously hectic lifestyle to answer 10 Questions. While finishing up on his latest issue of Bomb Queen, here is what Robinson had to say:
1. Bomb Queen is quite possibly one of the most evil characters to ever have his or her own regular series (or series of series) and she has done some pretty incredibly horrifying things. But is there anything that even you wouldn't have her do?
I have no problem with her doing anything. The sky is the limit with Bomb Queen, but the initial problem is trying to keep those horrifying things new and exciting. A villain book has a unique problem. It's too easy to go back to the same well of ideas over and over. There are only so many KKK, Nazi, pedophile, rape and race jokes you can pull off. I try to keep up with current events and spin some black comedy out of that. However, just because I personally have no problem with Bomb Queen doing anything doesn't mean I can actually do that in print.
This country (and others) still have some decency and ethics laws in the real world. Plus, not everyone gets the jokes. It's not always something to laugh at, so a reader has to be pretty cynical and jaded to get the entire concept. In fact some folks take Bomb Queen too seriously. So, in order to keep my sanity and keep the publisher out of court I have pulled back a few times, but when you look at the whole picture it doesn't look like it.
2. Bomb Queen volume 6 ended on a real series-shattering moment. What can fans, both new and old, expect when the series picks up again?
This is spinning off from the problem I mentioned about keeping it fresh. The last story arc pretty much destroyed all of the platforms I built in the last 4 years, so I took time and I took liberties with a few of the one-shot specials to set up a completely new franchise structure for the series. It's a good starting point for new readers and old readers will get something unique while keeping the same Bomb Queen. Also, this time I will give more of a challenge for the character. She's been through a lot in the previous story arcs, but she's never had an opponent like Batman has his Joker, or Superman has his Lex Luthor. Bomb Queen has been free of a true nemesis. I'll fix that in the upcoming series. Change is the keyword for the new series in the Fall of 2011.
3. If you had to choose between giving up comics and giving up your obsession with Hello Kitty, which would you choose and why?
I'd give up Hello Kitty. It is only an obsession and Hello Kitty doesn't pay my rent, [Laughs] Nor can I create stories with Sanrio characters. I love telling stories and challenging myself. This is why I prefer to be at Image Comics. I have the freedom to create my own world in comics. I haven't done a lot of work for other publishers, and the experiences that I had were fun, however when I wrote a Wolverine book for Marvel it made me realize how much fun I have making Bomb Queen. It's like you understand it better once it's gone. Would I say that for Hello Kitty? Perhaps, if I had to give it up and then I saw a well designed Hello Kitty product. But, fans and readers continue to bring me Hello Kitty items at conventions so it's all good. [Laughs]
4. Bomb Queen had a recent crossover with Hack/Slash. Are there any other characters in the comic universe who you could realistically see having another team-up with the Queen?
Bomb Queen vs. Battle Pope is something I'm still trying to get off the ground. Bomb Queen vs. Empowered is another. However, that would be a crossover in the other character's book because the situation and environment of the new story will be different than any other character in comics. In a way it will distance Bomb Queen and I'll have to be creative in who she could team up with. But the Hack/Slash crossover was very good and I enjoyed it. In fact, I wish it wasn't a one-shot. I had SO much story to tell and I had to condense it into 22 pages. That's the problem with a one-shot crossover; you just don't have the room to play. The other crossover that I would like, but I doubt can happen, would be with Deadpool.
5. What is your greatest joy in life?
The act of creating. I'm still in awe, and also disbelief, that people around the world even notice my work and read my comics -- be it in print or online. It is something, in this new era of communication, that will easily outlive me and possibly be around forever. It's really strange. There are people with tattoos of my work that they'll have until the day they die. The character has been used as nose art for military planes flying over Afghanistan, and obviously the character is around the internet envisioned by fans in ways even I haven't imagined! It becomes more than just making a comic, it becomes creating a joy that has a life of its own. And I have MORE ideas beyond Bomb Queen. This series is just what I'm doing at the moment. What will I create next? Wait and see.
6. What many people do not know is that you are an accomplished semi-pro skateboarder. What's the most gnarly move you ever pulled off?
I was street skating with a combination of what's called freestyle. My board was smaller than most (at the time -- nowadays a lot of boards look like my old board, I was ahead of my time). What this means is that I had the ability to pull off more complex tricks, not just big daredevil-style tricks. It wasn't so much that I could "ollie" onto and across a bus bench -- but that I could do that in the middle of other tricks. So my best move is really my best string of combined moves.
You look at a lot of skaters and not all of them really know how to command a board on any terrain. A lot of skaters know how to do a trick off a *thing* (a handrail, a step, a fire hydrant, a bus bench, a particular curb, a ramp, a pool). They tend to attack the item and not always ride the board between the items or even as they approach the item or leave the item. Thus, I could jump up a bus bench -- or, instead I could pull off a 360 shove-it to an ollie flip onto the bus bench landing on the back wheels and coming off the bus bench in a 180-fakey, land on the other side and then camel-toe back to forward and hit the next *item*. THAT is wiring a string of tricks that people will notice because the bus bench is just part of your skating, not the sole object of your skating at the moment. There was a time when I wired so many tricks together my friend said it was like watching Robin Williams doing a comedy act; it just didn't stop. I can do tricks even at a stand still, so though I may have stopped rolling I had tricks that required stability and balance in a single spot.
7. You write, draw, ink, color, letter and almost hand deliver to comic shops each and every issue of Bomb Queen. Is there one part of creating a comic that you like most and one part you like least?
I like writing more than anything, however since I am a "Jack-of-all-trades" I don't do it very well. I cheat a lot because I have the ability to fix my mistakes later in the production. I can write a scene which sounds good on paper, then when I draw it I can develop a better scene, which might change the position of the characters (example: who speaks first). That means I'll end up changing the script which means I change the lettering. But when I worked for Marvel I was asked ONLY to write and that was hard. There was so much I wanted to change. Thank God there were two editors who chipped it into shape.
As for what I like the least? It's funny because I would say inking. However, that's not really true because I create so much in the inking stage. When readers see a city scene in Bomb Queen with all the crazy background details (gags and jokes) they may not realize that much of that is made up on the spot in the inking stage. I may have drawn some stick figures or ideas but it comes alive in the inks. So in a weird way I like inking the least because it's more labor intensive -- however, that's also where a lot of the magic happens that I like so much, [Laughs] Go figure.
8. What would be worse? A world without music or a world without cats?
A world without music. Cats are great, but they cannot surpass the emotions that music can create and supplement through the various phases of a human life from childhood to the grave. Granted cats are great, too. And many live through phases of our lives as well. My cat is 21 years-old and she has survived and been with me through a lot of ups and downs. However, so has music and I can recall a tune and what it meant to me in my younger years. I can do that a bit with my memories of a cat, but it's harder to relate that to someone else -- especially those who don't have cats.
But with music, whether the person likes your song or not there's a universal agreement that music can touch you. But you know... I say that as a person who can hear all the subtle range of music. Some folks are born deaf and never know the experience of music... yet... they live rich lives just as well. So who knows which is best or worse? But for me, it would be music -- even though I really love the cats that have been with me in my life.
9. What do you want on your pizza?
The topping isn't as important as the spices. So in that regard what I like is a pizza that is spicy and cheesy enough. What kind of spice? What kind of cheese? That can vary, but the overall taste that lingers in my mouth and memory is what I like. It can be Hawaiian style or traditional, but I don't want to eat it and forget about it 5 minutes later. I'd like it to be unique enough to be memorable. Often crushed red peppers and a heavy sprinkling of parmesan cheese can help even the most boring pizza -- because of the spice!
10. You're sort of the elder statesman of Shadowline Comics since you've been with the company almost as long as Jim Valentino. What is your advice for the next Jimmie Robinson of the comic world?
Don't be afraid of change. Image Comics is not a stable for continuity. As we see now [as of this writing] the Big Two are going through some major changes because they painted themselves into a corner of continuity. Continuity is good, don't get me wrong, but it puts a lid on change and exploration. At Shadowline, Jim Valentino goes out of his way to find a broad range of titles. That's one of the reasons I stand with him. He believes in me and he has published all my crazy ideas from my sci-fi story Amanda & Gunn, to my hospital drama Code Blue, to my all-ages girls book Evil & Malice, to a quirky coming-of-age story in Avigon, to children's book literature in T-Runt!, and of course my superhero antics in Bomb Queen.
When you look back you realize that Shadowline allows all that because Valentino is not afraid of change. I am not afraid of change. So that's what I would tell the next upcoming Jimmie Robinson. Don't be afraid, take chances and continue to change your style. Today's comics scene is wild and diverse. Nobody rules the entire playground anymore. If you have more than one corner of the playground to romp around in then do it. Don't be scared of going from the swings to the sandbox to the slide. There are new readers in each area. A publisher like Shadowline can be the rope between those corners. But you need to have the desire to explore. WIthout that not even Shadowline can help a new creator find their true potential.
BOMB QUEEN vol. 6: Time Bomb, a TPB collection, was released this past Wednesday. More issues of Bomb Queen (in one-shots and series) are on the horizon.