“Dupree. When I say the words ‘alive and unharmed,’ do any neurons actually fire in that brain of yours?” —Baron Klaus Wulfenbach
Wow, it’s been a while since I last showcased a villainess, and even longer since I used one of Phil Foglio’s characters. Bangladesh Dupree remains one of my favorite characters among the delightfully written and smartly drawn cast of Girl Geniusby the Professors Foglio. Bang is a former pirate captain currently under the employ of the Wulfenbach Empire, under the tyrannical Baron Klaus Wulfenbach.
In some ways, it seems paradoxical that Klaus would hire a figure like Dupree. His Empire is as brutal toward pirates as any other legitimate government, and with Wulfenbach’s ruthless enforcement of order and stability, it seems odd that he’d tolerate someone as chaotic as Bang. Despite her apparent instability, however, Dupree follows orders for the most part and is efficient and professional in her ruthlessness. Sometimes maintaining stability requires napalming a convent, shooting an unarmed prisoner, or taking a puppy’s food dish away, and Baron Wulfenbach knows all to well that Captain Dupree will follow such orders without hesitation or argument. (Though I suspect he wishes she didn’t enjoy it quite so much.)
I suspect that Dupree’s captain’s uniform is a carry-over from her pirating days before signing on with the Wulfenbach airship fleet. Though it looks smart and professional, it doesn’t look particularly military. It looks closer to what one might expect from the captain of a yacht or cruise liner, rather than an Imperial gunship.
Much like Violetta, Dupree never wears her weapons visibly, but always seems to have one ready when needed. Instead she keeps them concealed in her wardrobe. With no medals or patches on her shirt or jacket, Dupree’s cap is about all that signifies her captain’s status, the Wulfenbach sigil above the bill shows her affiliation. It’s entirely possible that her hat also conceals various weapons of her pirate trade: throwing knives, a small handgun or two, or even a garrote of some kind. Indeed, I’d not be surprised of the bill itself is sharpened for surprise decapitations.
Bang’s light jacket looks similarly professional—again, like a cruise ship captain. The coat is long enough to hide any weapons on her person, and the sleeves are loose for hiding knives, guns, grenades, more knives, or even a small death ray. Dupree’s turtleneck is an interesting contrast to the frilly, low-cut silk shirts popular in pirate queen costumes. Despite its formfitting nature, it’s probable that she carries additional weaponry where feasible. Plus she can pull the long neck up to protect herself from the stench of burning flesh or rotting corpses. Her white slacks match her jacket and cap, and likely also contain easily concealable firearms and cutlery. Lastly, her black or red leather calf-length boots work perfect for flashy entrances, concealed weaponry, and swift kicks to lazy crewmen.
As I’ve seen pointed out, the color coordination of Dupree’s outfit seems deliberately designed to show blood other than her own. The white cap, jacket, and trousers seem chosen for the purpose of showing blood, oil, dirt, and other stains acquired during battle, while the red turtleneck should prevent blood from showing should Bang take any wounds to the torso. All in all, I think the ensemble fits both Bangladesh’s flamboyant personality and professional ruthlessness.
For a semi-in-comic discussion of Bang’s wardrobe, try this link. Many thanks to Studio Foglio for letting me borrow Captain Dupree for the blog. Thanks for reading, once again, folks, and stay awesome!