bomb1I wanted to check out something a little more on the indie side, so I went with The Bomb published by Asylum Press. Originally released in August 2008, Steve Mannion is the writer and artist of the trade and holy shit does his talent shine!

The Bomb is a series of T & A black and white short stories of the superhero/horror genre that are crude, hilarious, and sexy all at the same time. It’s also jam packed with pin-ups, which is appropriate considering the trade’s main story line takes place in the late 1930’s/early 1940’s when pin-up girls were all the rage. Plus, the main characters are f-ing HOT (seriously, if I had an extra copy of this book my apartment would be littered with Mannion’s art). The Bomb has a wide array of characters and is broken up into a bunch of vignettes that have no real continuity in relation to each other, as most of them stand on their own as solo stories. Because of this the book’s pacing feels like a Vaudeville show or one of the rare good episodes of Mad TV- fast, funny, and highly enjoyable.

bomb2The star of the book is Prissy Jones, a.k.a the super-chick Fearless Dawn. Prissy is a late teens/early 20 something school girl who is cute, sexy, and endearing in the most dorky way possible. She wears glasses, reads comics, and smokes cigarettes, while repeatedly breaking the fourth wall to the delight of the reader. At school Prissy is constantly harassed by the tough girl, Betty Magillicutty (who looks A LOT like the temptress of the day, Betty Paige… actually, she looks exactly like her). After being humiliated by Betty for the last time, Prissy decides to make a stand as she sends away for a Joe Jeeder Miracle Strength Kit. She saw the ad in a comic book she was reading (pick up any comic from the 80’s and you’ll get an idea of what she ordered), and once the package arrives she pumps herself up and kicks Betty’s ass. Prissy then happens upon a costume (to the chagrin of a horny douche), tailors it a bit, and decides to head out on her first mission as the superhero, Fearless Dawn!

After the Third Reich invaded Poland in 1939, a ghoulish looking Nazi dude called ‘The General’ is recruiting men in America for his evil forces. He’s planning on making his own army of Nazi zombies so Fearless Dawn decides to investigate, scoping out The General’s HQ at the Sauerkraut Factory. She’s still too new at the superhero gig, bomb3and eventually gets herself captured, but guess who comes to her rescue? Betty Magillicutty! The girls lay down some kicks, punches, and marbles, making a narrow escape to the factories roof top. There they back themselves into a corner as The General and his men are closing in fast, so the girls strip down to their undies and set their clothes aflame in order to attract the attention of the local police. As the cops arrive and arrest The General, the girls leap from the roof top into a stream below, making a safe exit.

Other stories in The Bomb featuring Fearless Dawn include a battle between her and a villain known as ‘The Monster’ (they duke it out with fish and salami as weapons), a tale where The General escapes from prison (ironically by using a Joe Jeeder Miracle Strength Kit) and comes looking to get his revenge on the girls, the back story of how Prissy and Betty were able to overcome their differences to become best pals (the reason is pretty ridiculous!), and a futuristic story where Dawn takes on her arch nemesis Helga Von Krause. Helga is German, hot, and wears an unzipped army jacket without anything on underneath… yeah, she’s a goddess. Have I mentioned yet that Mannion draws really sexy women? We also get an outtakes section, and at the end of the book we are treated to a few full color pages starring Dawn and Betty!

bomb4Throughout the trade we meet a variety of other characters totally unrelated to our lovable duo, like Brownhole Jones, the captain of the S.S. Blow Me Down, his woman Sea Goin’ Lil, and their first mate Seaman Stains. They’re a group of pirates who get wasted, party with zombies, and generally cause trouble. As for Sea Goin’ Lil, as Mannion says, “Think Mae West mixed with… some hot chick and you’ve got a good idea of what Lil’s all about.”

Other characters who make multiple appearances are Jungle Chick and Dinosaur, whom Steve gives the following introduction, “Jungle Chick starts out in the story pretty stupid and then she gets hit in the head and now she’s really stupid.” Basically these one or two page stories are in the style of Tom and Jerry or Spy vs. Spy, where Dinosaur (a T-Rex) is constantly trying to kill Jungle Girl but is repeatedly foiled one way or another- like by a giant rock falling on his head, or a bubble of tar burning his eye. Jungle Girl is totally oblivious to what’s going on, heightening the hilarity of the situation. Oh, did I mention that Steve draws really hot women?

We also meet characters like Lizard Guy who serves as a host of sorts, randomly popping into the book saying things like, “Heeeeey I’m Lizard Guy! Wasn’t that great?” or “Heeeeey this is Lizard Guy! Enjoy the next story.” Witchie Witch and Robynn are two women who show up at the end of the trade and get nothing more than cameo appearances, leaving me wondering if perhaps they’ll have a larger role in an upcoming series… Mannion also provides some stand alone short stories like Dead Men Don’t Lose which is about a Nazi general who refuses to believe that Germany lost WWII and has his own plans for global bomb5domination (it would appear that Steve is fascinated with Nazi’s, but I can forgive him because they are always depicted as the villains and because he draws bodacious babes… have I mentioned that already?), and Chicks on Bombs (which I incorrectly call Girls on Bombs in the podcast- whoops!) which sounds exactly like what it is- absolutely hilariously ridiculous. Especially when the Chicks on Bombs meet up with a planet of Guys on Planes!

As if that weren’t enough, included in the latter half of the book is a Swimsuit Special where practically every character is featured, and most are featured more than once like Fearless Dawn, Betty, Sea Goin’ Lil, and Jungle Girl. Yeah… it’s a nice section to say the least. Mannion even rewards his readers with a shower shot of Betty and Prissy (please excuse me while I go grab a kleenex).

In case you just skipped down to this part of my review, Steve’s art is clean, detailed, and downright sexy! He switches artistic styles like a new born switches diapers, and his writing and pacing feels like you’re watching a live performance where after each little vignette the lights dim, the MC comes out to introduce the next piece, and your imagination flows with the show. It’s awesome stuff. Asylum Press had announced late last year that a new Fearless Dawn mini-series was supposed to hit the shelves in April. However, due to the recent Diamond bomb6shipping restrictions the book had to be delayed. Here’s some exciting news for you; I managed to set up a phone interview with both Steve and Frank Forte (Asylum’s head dude and main scribe) early next week! So keep an eye out for that podcast as I’ll be sure to ask them when we can expect the release of the Fearless Dawn mini.

The Bomb is a trade I recommend to anyone with a sense of humor and an eye for smokin’ hot art. It’s totally kick ass and exceeds it’s $15 price tag in entertainment value. If you can find it at your LCS, definitely get a copy, and if you can’t find it, head over to Asylum Press’s website, AsylumPress.com and check out their store to order The Bomb. Be sure to stay tuned for the interview with both Steve and Frank, and for more reviews from Asylum Press!

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