The Forgotten Ones: Bee-29, the Bombardier

Bee-29There’s prob­a­bly a lot of ground I should cov­er to explain this one, so I’ll get right to it.

In doing research for a recent project (which you’ll find out about at a lat­er date), I was point­ed towards a web­site fea­tur­ing com­ic book char­ac­ters that are now report­ed­ly in the pub­lic domain. While going through all those char­ac­ters, it struck me that there was mate­r­i­al there which might be worth min­ing for future blog posts. As a result, this will be the first of a series of posts on “For­got­ten Ones,” which I may do from time to time.

For this inau­gur­al out­ing, I chose Bee-29, the Bom­bardier. Bee-29 is unique because so far as I know, he’s the only bee super­hero! He only made a few appear­ances back in 1945, but one of them was in a com­ic named for him. In the inter­ests of sav­ing col­umn space, if you’d like to read the entry for Bee-29 on the Pub­lic Domain Super Heroes site, you can check it out here.

If you’ve vis­it­ed this site much, you’ve prob­a­bly picked up on the fact I often like to try to find an angle to approach a char­ac­ter like this, some kind of a dif­fer­ent spin I can put on it instead of just repro­duc­ing some­thing ver­ba­tim. So I thought, “What if in some alter­nate world, Han­na-Bar­bera had picked up the rights to this char­ac­ter?” Going down that path lead to my attempt at an HB ver­sion of Bee-29 on the faux Gold Key cov­er you see here, since Gold Key han­dled most of the car­toon-based comics back in the day.

Let me go on record here and say that I am def­i­nite­ly a fan of the clas­sic Han­na-Bar­bera look. Yes, I grew up watch­ing those shows, but it’s more than that. Years ago when Han­na-Bar­bera was locat­ed on the 14th floor of the Impe­r­i­al Bank Build­ing in Sher­man Oaks, mul­ti­ple times a day I would walk by these great framed cels from shows like The Flint­stones and The Jet­sons, hang­ing on the walls in the hall­way. I saw how well-designed all those char­ac­ters were, and how strong­ly sil­hou­ette-ori­ent­ed they were. The HB design­ers took the restric­tions of lim­it­ed ani­ma­tion and small TV screens, and actu­al­ly turned them into strengths.

I’ve not had a lot of oppor­tu­ni­ty to attempt that clas­sic HB look, so this was a chance to ven­ture onto that play­ground a lit­tle bit. And I’d be remiss if I didn’t tip my hat here and say thanks to my good friend Mark Chris­tiansen, who is tru­ly a clas­sic HB master.

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6 Responses to The Forgotten Ones: Bee-29, the Bombardier

  1. John G. Pierce says:

    Mark, you must have tak­en some Vit­a­min B1 in order to have the ener­gy to tack­le this post, which by the way earns you not a B but an A.

  2. You fooled me again, Mark. I hon­est­ly thought that was a real Gold Key cover. 

    Always enjoy your posts. I noticed there is a char­ac­ter on the Pub­lic Domain Com­ic site called Reefer King. Will you be doing him soon in your For­got­ten Ones series? Sure hope so.

    • Mark says:

      Jim,
      Wow! I am huge­ly flat­tered to hear I fooled you momen­tar­i­ly with this one, my friend. You’re no slouch at doing these clas­sic styles your­self, when you want to do them.
      I just looked up “Reefer King” myself on the PDSH site. Kind of sur­pris­ing to see a char­ac­ter like that back then, espe­cial­ly for those of us who grew up dur­ing in the Comics Code era, where any men­tion of drugs at all was not allowed!
      No plans to do Reefer King on this end, but that’s the beau­ty of these char­ac­ters being pub­lic domain: any­one else can take a shot at it, if they’re so inclined.

  3. Lyle Dodd says:

    I thought this was the real McCoy too! I was going to go to comics.org to see if there were any oth­er cov­ers so that I could com­pare it with the original. 

    Like most of your posts, I want to read the sto­ry inside the book now! Too bad for me!

    • Mark says:

      Glad you liked this, Lyle. Actu­al­ly, up there in the third para­graph the words “made for him” form a link to the cov­er for the orig­i­nal Bee-29 the Bom­bardier com­ic on Comics.org. If I under­stand right, that was the only issue, but that lead sto­ry got reprint­ed a time or two elsewhere.

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