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Lois Lane

DC Bombshells
by yo go re

There's an enduring appeal to the sort of pin-up that came out of the 1940s. An evolution of photographic calling cards that had been used to advertise actresses since the 19th century and of World War I's racy "French postcards," WWII pin-ups were paintings of idealized women in teasing positions. Though they were sexual images, the women depicted were seen as patriotic inspirations or good luck charms, not cheap floozies (or, as one '70s Vargas girl coquettishly put it, "I don't like being treated like an object - but I don't mind being treated as an objective").

Anyway, DC had been trying to create some sort of pin-up-inspired product for years, but the project really got off the ground after the merchandising divison moved to Burbank in 2011. Right after the move, design director Jim Fletcher pitched the idea to Geoff Johns, who insisted they get started right away.

Fletcher turned to artist Ant Lucia, who he'd met in artist's alley at C2E2. Lucia would create 2D artwork of the characters, which was then handed off to sculptor Tim Miller to turn into three dimensions. Wonder Woman was the first one they did, with Supergirl, Poison Ivy and Harley Quinn close behind. The line was a hit and has kept rolling ever since. In June of 2014, DC did a month of variant covers on its comics featuring the Bombshells girls and introducing many new designs. The 12th statue in the line, based on the cover of Superman #32, is intrepid girl reporter Lois Lane.

Unlike nurses and librarians, there's no such thing as a "sexy reporter." [Counterpoint: April O'Neil --ed.] So Bombshells has re-cast Lois as a newsie, out hawking her wares on the corner. Okay, that sounds dirty, but you know what we mean. She's holding up the late edition and yelling "Extra! Extra!"

Despite being explicitly based on pin-up art, this Lois is showing less skin than any average "real" Lois. She's wearing black heels, dark hose, ankle-length brown pants with a bit of a flare at the ankle, a long-sleeved white shirt, a dark vest, a red neckercheif, and a floppy cap. So honestly, the only exposed skin is her hands and her neck. How, then, does she qualify as a pin-up? Well, part of it is her pose - standing on tip-toe, back arched, hand on her hip - and part of it is that all her clothes are so tight they might as well be skin in a different color.

Though Tim Miller is the guy behind most of the Bombshells, Lois was actually sculpted by Adam Ross, a guy who's done a lot of costume and prop work for movies - Martian Manhunter on Supergirl, '70s Sentinels in Days of Future Past, BvS Batman's armor, pilot suits for Pacific Rim, the guns Kate McKinnon licks in Ghostbusters... lots of cool stuff. He also did Sideshow's cute Scarlet Witch statue, lest you think his work is all mechanical. The directive for this statue was to copy Tim Miller's style, a job Ross did so well that all the solicitations still actually credited Miller!

The sculpt really is quite sexy. Except for where they widen out below the calves, her pants accentuate her every curve, both front and back. They're even sculpted with pleats, seams and pockets! She's wearing suspenders, but has slipped them off her shoulders so they pad against her thighs just below the hips. Though considering how far the lower edge of her shirt falls over her waist, you have to wonder how her suspenders would have worked anyway.

Her form-fitting vest isn't straining its golden buttons, but you get the feeling that if she took a deep enough breath it might. The front is grey, with thin vertical panels (or perhaps that's meant to be pinstriping), while the back is a silky black with a cinch to bring it in around her waist. She has two small pockets on the front, and the wide collar of her shirt spills out across her upper chest, nearly reaching to her shoulders. It's hard to tell if she has her sleeves rolled up or if they're just that length.

Lest you think that Lois has been demoted to mere salesgirl, a look at the newspaper she's holding should put your mind at ease. It's the Daily Planet, of course, and is dated Friday, July 25th. There's no year listed, because Bombshells takes place in a sort of WWII Uchronia, but the only time(s) July 25 fell on a Friday were 2014, 2008, 2003, 1997, 1986, 1980... you know what, let's just skip back to the '40s, when we can say it was either 1941 or 1947. Off topic!

The paper has two stories on the front page, and both seem to be about Supergirl (which is different from what was seen on the original design and the variant cover). But more importantly, both stories have Lois's byline on them. She's not selling papers because girls can't be reporters, she's holding up the paper because she owns the front page today, and she's proud of her work!

Which brings us to the face. Pin-up girls may have been in sexually suggestive poses, but they were almost universally looking at the viewer - they weren't shying away or caught unaware, they were meeting your gaze; they were the ones watching you. This simple choice gave them personal agency in the scene and helped with the "they're not just objects" thing. Lois follows suit, looking straight ahead when the statue is viewed from the front. Or, not "straight" ahead, but actually slightly upward - at a perfect angle to meet your eyeline when you're sitting at a desk. She's looking at you. Her mouth is open wide, shouting about her newspaper, but you can still tell she's smiling.

Lois herself stands a little over 9½" tall, though she's holding her paper higher than that. All the Bombshells have the same style of display base, a heavy 5⅝" diameter circle that curves up to a diamond-plate floor (a thick metal peg in Lois' right foot fits into the base to keep her standing). It's about ¾" thick, and the edition number is on the bottom. Nowhere else on the packaging, just on the bottom of the base. All the Bombshells are limited to 5,200 pieces, because this is DC and DC loves the number 52.

A nameplate on the front of the base identifies the character. It's slightly curved, and is sculpted with rivets all around the edges. There's even a section of the original artwork, so the overall presentation feels like a section of airplane fuselage, with Lois as the nose art. The plate is a separate piece from the rest of the base, held on by a strong magnet.

Bombshells is a lot like Ame-Comi - all statues of DC girls reimagined in a new style - but this one is much more successful. The Bombshells can be found on every bit of imaginable merchandise, from the ubiquitous things like playing cards, calendars or shotglasses to more esoteric offerings like officially licensed cosplay outfits. Plus, the Bombshells comic is a hit, which definitely wasn't true for Ame-Comi. The statues are expensive, because they're real statues and not just toys without articulation, but they're done very well. Lois is a beautiful throwback.

-- 05/26/16

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