DC Collectibles’ highly popular line of World War II pinup-inspired collectibles is now an ongoing, digital first comic series. Premiering digitally late last month, this week marks the debut of the print edition of the series. Written by Marguerite Bennett, with Marguerite Sauvage illustrating the first issue (look for additional artists, including Laura Braga and Stephen Mooney, to help illustrate future chapters), it introduces us to a retro world that is heavily informed by World War II, but paints an alternate, more optimistic picture of society. It’s a unique title—utterly unlike anything currently on the stands—that’s boiling over with creative potential and is worth a look regardless of whether or not you’re familiar with the collectibles.
So how did this series come together, and which of the Bombshells will be introduced in the future? We spoke to Bennett recently about these very things. Her answers lay ahead, along with a preview of this Saturday’s new, not-yet-seen digital chapter!
Art by Ant Lucia
So how did you get involved with DC Comics Bombshells?
I was a huge and very vocal fan of all the Bombshells designs and all the statues and variant covers, and I made no secret of that on Twitter and social media. After last year’s August variant month, there was such intense fan reaction and such enthusiasm for those designs that DC was interested in actually seeing if this could exist as a comic. Fans seemed to love it so much, why not give them something that they really wanted? So Jim Chadwick, our fantastic editor, approached me about it, and I couldn’t say yes fast enough.
But then I had to keep this entire thing quiet for so many months! It was really difficult. Every day I had this dream project, and such a level of creative freedom, and I couldn’t tell anyone about it!
How do you go about building a comic around a line of collectible statues?
Jim [Chadwick] sent me this fantastic PDF of all of the designs of the Bombshells, from all different angles with all the detail that had gone into their creation. From there, I sort of retroactively drew stories out of the artwork. There are some places where the backstory was established through costumes and some places where I saw opportunities for future plots just based on these designs. I can’t get more specific without getting into spoiler territory, unfortunately. But I promise to talk about it on Twitter once the issues are out!
So which characters are you focusing on?
Batwoman, Wonder Woman and Supergirl will be the main characters in our first wave.
Why those three?
So, this is how our entire series begins. It starts with this sort of grainy film reel and this super cheesy announcer talking about [switches to an old-timey voice] “this innocent family out for a summer stroll!” We’ve got this well-dressed couple and their little boy heading toward the movie theater. Then we see a gangster with a tommy guy “suddenly out of the shadows!” There’s an attempted robbery and then “out of the darkness, from above…who is this mysterious, beautiful Bombshell?!” And Batwoman comes crashing down and prevents the murder of the Waynes.
There is no Batman in this universe. The women came first. No heroine is derivative of her male counterpart. They are the sovereign heroes of this world, and that was the conceit of the entire story. Batwoman is our equivalent.
What can you tell us about their world? Is the story set in the 1940s?
Yes, it’s an alternate-history World War II. I wanted the heroes to be given a chance to be heroic. Something that has bothered me in a lot of different media featuring heroines and female heroes is that it seems like they first have to overcome this level of sexism, which is true to life, but sometimes exhausting. I want to see my heroines be heroines without having to first prove that they’re allowed to be ones in the first place. I wanted to have this place for them to breathe without people questioning it and pointing out that it’s not historically accurate. Well, guess what? In this history, it’s completely accurate.
I had the Women’s Liberation Front happen earlier. I wanted to do away with segregation. I didn’t want to see heroes of color being downtrodden in this universe. I wanted to have the space to breathe, have fun and really see these characters take flight.
Art by Ant Lucia
Is it fun being able to build from the ground up like that?
It is! Just the level of freedom I’ve been given has been bonkers, and I’m so grateful for it. Jim Chadwick has been so encouraging. The inspiration I’m taking from our artists—I’m working with Marguerite Sauvage for the first arc, and she is just so tremendous. She brings such style and grace to the characters. There have been elements that she’s included that weren’t in the scripts, and I was like, “That’s a fantastic idea! Let’s run with that and see what we can explore!” She is just tremendous. I could not be happier to be working with her.
Will the heroes’ adversaries be familiar villains or entirely new ones?
It will be a combination. You’re going to see the female villains. You’ll see Catwoman, Poison Ivy and Harley Quinn. That’s my triumvirate. Those were always my favorite characters growing up. But then there’s going to be a new villain that is not in the standard DCU. It’s completely original. We didn’t want to feel like this was an alternate world made up of everyone you’d expect because then when a character shows up, you’d already know their strengths and weaknesses. We wanted someone who was going to discomfit and frighten both the heroines and the readers. So for that we did create an original character. I hope people really enjoy it, or are conversely really terrified of it.
While these characters had looks and designs prior to your series, they didn’t have personalities. Did you let their DCU personas inform their personalities in Bombshells, or did you throw that all out?
It was a combination. Because it’s a different history, there are certain experiences that would have altered their characters and personalities that now don’t exist. There was this question about whether we should find a World War II equivalent of those that would have the same effect on their character and personality, or did we want to go in a different direction? A Babs Gordon who has never been Oracle is a very different Babs Gordon than the one I grew up with. We’re still sort of negotiating instances like that. We’re making decisions for all the characters and it goes back and forth. So really it’s about what best serves their development and what best serves the story.
Is there one Bombshell in particular that you’re having a blast writing?
Batwoman. Kate Kane is my favorite hero in the DCU. Getting to write Batwoman has just been an absolute treat. I have so much fun with her. It’s really a joy.
Will the series explain the baseball bat and uniform?
Oh yeah! It’s so funny because I see more Batwoman cosplayers than any other Bombshell.
I know! It’s funny because she was introduced for the variant covers. At the time, I’m not even sure they intended to make a statue of her.
Yes, but she caught everyone’s attention and she is our opening foray into this world. I really hope that people have an even bigger response to her when they read it.
One last question. If through some trick of the Multiverse they were ever able to meet, what do you think the regular DC Universe heroes would say about these versions of themselves?
I think it would vary from person to person. I think a few of the heroines would be like, “That’s not what I dress like!” In some cases, I think the [Bombshells versions] are farther along in maturity, just because that was the place that I needed them to fill in the story. And then in some cases they’re younger, and they don’t have the same moral compass to define them. We didn’t want for everyone to start at the same level. We wanted some characters to be more adult and some to be younger and clumsier, but still well-intentioned. We’re hoping to create a full and rich world with so many women that no single character has to suddenly stand in for the experiences of all women. Once there are enough women, the world feels real.
DC Comics Bombshells continues digitally this Saturday with a chapter written by Bennett and drawn by artist Laura Braga. Enjoy a special sneak peek of it below.
Look for a new digital chapter of DC Comics Bombshells every Saturday on the DC Comics App and through the DC Digital Comics Store, iBooks, comiXology.com, Google Play, Kindle Store, Nook Store and iVerse Comics Plus. Prefer your comics in print? DC COMICS BOMBSHELLS #1 is now available in comic shops worldwide.