DC Collectibles Puts a Pin(up) in 2016 With Bumblebee and the ‘Art of DC Comics Bombshells’ [Review]
The DC Bombshells may have started as nothing more than a fun twist on nostalgia and the DC Universe, but over the past five years the line has evolved into something much larger. Since the first Bombshells statue arrived, the fan following has continued to grow exponentially, and DC Comics and DC Collectibles have expanded the reach and realm quite a bit. Now the Bombshells aren't just collectibles --- though there are still plenty of those --- they're also the stars of an acclaimed comic series.
This week, DC Comics and DC Collectibles will celebrate the fifth anniversary of the Bombshells with the release of The Art of DC Comics Bombshells, a hardcover collection of process art for the statues, variant covers, and comic. And following next month, DC Collectibles will release Bumblebee as the 19th statue in the Bombshells series. We got an advanced look at both, and fans of the Bombshells line won't be disappointed in either.
The DC Bombshells Bumblebee is an interesting piece as she's really the first character-turned-collectible that's portrayed as a teen. Even Stargirl and Supergirl were aged-up ever so slightly to make it more acceptable for them to be considered pin-up models. That's true enough of the comic as well, where those two characters are active military members during the war. Bumblebee hasn't yet appeared in the comic, but independent of that fact, her portrayal here in statue form is still a bit more wholesome than the other pin-ups in the Bombshells.
That doesn't work against the design. In fact, this is still a piece that's very much in line with the aesthetic of Bombshells even if Bumblebee's a bit more conservative than other characters. The outfit is distinctly of the era, and the pose still shows the character having a good time cheering whatever team it is that Bumblebee is rooting on. While there have been a few Bombshells that are captured in motion, more have been rendered in less dynamic stances that convey mood versus movement. That's clearly not the case here, as Bumblebee looks as if she might leap to life at any moment.
There's some nice detailing in the sculpt, and Tim Miller's interpretation of Ant Lucia's concept art gives her a bit more realism. The way her skirt ripples and the way her pony tails are flipping give you a complete sense of the scene. You can almost see the before and after of this frozen moment, which is a testament to the skill in rendering Bumblebee from head to toe.
Beyond the statues, a large part of the appeal of the DC Bombshells has been the artwork and designs that lead up to the line's success. Though the concept was originally brought up back in 2009, it took until 2011's move from New York to Los Angeles for DC Collectibles to look deeper than just concepts. Since that time five years ago, DC Collectibles hasn't just amassed a number of concept pieces and design documents for its works, but the DC Bombshells line has grown exponentially to include variant covers and its own comic series. That history is documented quite well in the Art of DC Comics Bombshells.
Some of the original 2009 art from Brian Walters is included, but it isn't until UDON Studios and Ant Lucia come into the fold that the concept really takes off. Many of the initial characters like Wonder Woman, Harley Quinn and Supergirl have tons of concept art included, from various poses to different portrait options. The only real negative to all this concept art early on is that there isn't quite as much shared for some of the later statues like Bumblebee, Killer Frost or The Flash.
While some of Tim Miller's sculpting progress for Wonder Woman and Poison Ivy is shared, there's very little of that process revealed as well. Considering so much of what Bombshells is originated in these unique statues, it's a shame we don't get to see more of that development. However, static photos of these sculptures aren't quite as interesting as concept art itself. That part of development might be better suited for a video series (hint, hint, DC) than a photo gallery.
About half of the book is devoted to the DC Collectibles statues, and the other portion is focused entirely on the comic iterations of the Bombshells. Most of the work is from all those variant covers from the early days of the New 52, but seeing a lot of JG Jones, Emanuela Lupacchino and Des Taylor art from start to finish is never a bad thing. Seeing the figures independent of the final cover treatments is great as well.
Disappointingly, there are no actual DC Bombshells comic interiors offered, though covers for all the chapters are included. This seems like a major missed opportunity given how devoted that fanbase is, but anyone that craves seeing more of Ant Lucia's artwork will have plenty to observe. If you were hoping for a glimpse inside the processes of series artists like Marguerite Sauvage, Ming Doyle, or Elsa Charretier, you'll be a bit disappointed however. Perhaps that will find its way into another collection down the line, so don't give up hope that you'll never get to see it.
In the meantime, you can check out a preview of the full Art of DC Comics Bombshells below.
The DC Comics Bombshells Bumblebee statues is available for pre-order now for $124.95, and is expected to ship on December 24. The Art of DC Comics Bombshells will be available at comic shops on November 23 for $39.99. Both items were provided by DC Collectibles for review.