The Hundreds has been around since 2003, when the brand’s fearless leaders Ben and Bobby thankfully decided they didn’t want to be LA’s next top lawyers and instead built the storied streetwear company from scratch. Over the years, The Hundreds has been recognized worldwide for its storytelling and design prowess, while working with some of the greatest creators on Earth to deliver iconic products and ideas to fans. But it was the smallest idea, an impromptu recommendation, and a fan contest that birthed what many would consider the brand’s single most recognizable asset, Adam Bomb.
On Thursday, May 2nd, The Hundreds will release the first ever Adam Bomb capsule collection. First. Ever. Yes, Adam Bomb has popped up in countless other projects and appeared on almost every kind of product, but The Hundreds has never focused completely on him for an entire release.
Over the years, everyone’s favorite little weapon has had his color changed, face modified, arms or legs or wings added to his body, and redesigned to fit in with whichever collaboration he was involved in. Though it’s hard to believe after all of this time, the upcoming drop will be your first (and maybe only) chance to snag a whole drop from The Hundreds filled with completely unmodified Adam Bombs.
It’s a huge deal, and when it was teased on Instagram, many even said, “It’s lit.” But Bobby Hundreds has mixed feelings about all of this. He has a real love/hate relationship with Adam, which you can read about in Bobby’s upcoming book, This Is Not a T-Shirt. Available for pre-order now. This was not a plug, it’s just relevant to the story.
Fine, I’ll give you the gist of it. That’s the first time I’ve ever written the word gist. Spell check hasn’t slapped me with a squiggly red yet so I’m going to assume I nailed it first try.
In This Is Not a T-Shirt, which is available for pre-order now, Bobby talks about how Adam is both his best friend and worst enemy, his biggest blessing and cruelest curse. While Adam Bomb brought throngs of new fans and gave The Hundreds bankable brand identity all over the world — and internet — Bobby didn’t love that it distracted people from the designs and became all some people wanted to see from The Hundreds.
“Adam Bomb was a runaway train,” Bobby writes in This is Not a T-Shirt. “Stores went from wondering, “What’s with this bomb stuff?” to asking, “The Hundreds? You guys do Adam Bomb, right?”
Overwhelmed with demand, stockists started to only buy The Hundreds products if they had the little cartoon bomb emblazoned somewhere on the garment.
“No matter how much we sweat over our cut-and-sew apparel, regardless of the thoughtfulness and consideration imbued in the T-shirts, the majority of customers were only scanning The Hundreds for that black, red, and yellow insignia,” Bobby added.
While The Hundreds has been synonymous with Adam Bomb for over a decade, many would be surprised to learn that the worried little explosive isn’t one of the brand’s day one homies. In fact, Adam Bomb didn’t come along until three years later. For the first few years, the company didn’t even have a logo, as most people were buying products based on the individual designs and not the brand recognition of The Hundreds.
But as the brand grew, the time came for The Hundreds’ two head honchos to pick one logo to run with, and it wasn’t a surefire success from the jump.
While Adam Bomb was still just a figment of Bobby’s imagination, Breadman almost became the mascot for The Hundreds. A play on America’s sudden obsession with removing all “killer” carbs from their diet, Breadman was a smiling, knife and gun-wielding psychopathic slice of white bread. The Hundreds was ready to roll Breadman out to the masses, but buyers were not sure the idea was fully baked. The Hundreds went back to the drawing board.
Bobby Hundreds told Noah Callahan-Bever on the Complex show Blueprint, “I went back to the roots of what we were all about. The 1990s, the 1980s, Saturday morning cartoons, ACME, Looney Toons, Warner Brothers, the cartoon bomb.”
At first, Bobby had come up with the Solid Bomb logo, which still appears on some The Hundreds releases and other media. It was Ben Hundreds who recommended to Bobby that he turn the bomb into an actual cartoon character, like one of the silly, seemingly invincible ones they’d grown up watching with a bowl of cereal in-hand. It was this small suggestion that gave Adam his soul, ever in fear of the looming boom.
But that boom never comes — and never will. Bobby designed Adam to constantly stay right on the cusp of exploding without ever blowing up. The perpetual state of being about to break fit with Bobby and Ben’s vision of keeping The Hundreds underground and maintaining the spark of excitement and energy it always had.
Adam Bomb Fun Fact :: Some people see an “H” in the stem of Adam’s wick. Bobby says it is NOT intentional.
Though Bobby can take credit for the design of Adam Bomb, it was actually a fan of The Hundreds that named the character. After Bobby finished drawing out and working through different iterations of the cartoon bomb Ben had suggested, he couldn’t decide on a moniker for his new creation. He took to the blog, his pre-social media gateway to communicating with the loyal followers of The Hundreds, to seek suggestions from the faithful.
He woke up the next morning with hundreds of emails, varying in level of stupidity. The person who came up with the name Ben and Bobby chose for the bomb would win a free T-shirt, so a lot of people put on their thinking hats. After turning down valiant efforts like “Kablooey Louie,” Ben and Bobby were left with a tie, as two people had suggested “Adam Bomb.” Both winners were sent prize tees and thanked for their contribution to The Hundreds lore, but their identities were lost to the sands of time and server changes — or so we thought.
One of the NAME OUR MASCOT! contest winners came forward to go public with his proud achievement in 2012, waiting in a two-hour line outside Prototype for the release of The Hundreds Hawaii Collection. His name is Cesar.
Adam Bomb made his first appearance in a collaboration with Freshjive on the back of the “Fruits” T-shirt. There was no real context, Adam simply represented The Hundreds on the back of the shirt in a row of logos calling out the collaborators on the project.
The Hundreds X Freshjive “Fruits” tee is a collectors item if you can find it now, but it wasn’t a smash by any means when it came out.
Neither was Adam Bomb’s second appearance, when he was placed between block letters “t” and “h” on the front of a crewneck sweatshirt in the 2006 Holiday Collection.
But the third time was most certainly the charm, as the Adam Bomb character became a smash hit once he was turned into a basketball on the “Bridgeburners” T-shirt. While Bobby swears that throwing any kind of basketball graphic on a shirt will sell, this tee holds a special place in the hearts of a ton of The Hundreds fans.
After “Bridgeburners,” Adam Bomb gained exponential momentum, building steam with every release. He became a global streetwear icon over the course of a few years and graced a wide range of projects. Adam made his way into all kinds of collaborations and core designs, with the bomb getting turned into an island sunset, a Sublime tribute, a watermelon, a Garbage Pail Kid, a character in a Jim Davis-drawn Garfield cartoon, and countless other legendary appearances.
But one role Adam Bomb never played on a graphic tee was his true self. The graphic has always had some type of filter, modification, or flip applied to him. The upcoming Adam Bomb Collection is the first time the undisturbed black, red, and yellow Adam Bomb will be made available to the public.
The only other time a classic Adam Bomb has graced a T-shirt undeterred by other graphics or distractions also happens to be the most rare product The Hundreds has ever made. Dubbed the “Black Adam,” this holy grail graphic tee is black with a large Adam centered on the chest for all to see. It has never been sold and it isn’t available anywhere. The mythical tee can only be obtained in gift form from Bobby or Ben Hundreds, and they’ve been pretty picky. Olivia Munn donned a “Black Adam” on the cover of The Hundreds Magazine, The Game was gifted one by the guys, and a few other lucky friends and family of the brand. The only time in The Hundreds history that fans had a crack at copping the tee was if they were one of the first 50 customers at the opening of The Hundreds Store in Santa Monica, which meant you had to be there pretty early.
It wasn’t just the “Black Adam” causing campouts, as Adam Bomb frequently brought out the diehards to wait patiently in line for their chance to collect the most exclusive releases. When The Hundreds released the infamous “Side Adam Bomb” New Era 5950 fitted hat, they only made 300 hats available. The red variation of the cap was limited to 100 units and only made available in The Hundreds Stores. The yellow one was also limited to 100 pieces and was sold exclusively in The Hundreds Online Shop. The remaining 100 “Side Adam Bomb” hats were white and were split among four retailers around the country: Huf in San Francisco, WTHN in Philadelphia, 5&A Dime in San Diego, and Union in New York City.
Adam Bomb showed up everywhere. From award shows to music videos, the little guy was making his presence felt in a huge way.
Adam wasn’t alone in his cartoon bomb universe, in case you were wondering. He had a brother named Badam Bomb always hating on his steeze and the shorty Madam Bomb who was frequently caught creeping wherever Adam could be found.
Though Adam had no arms or legs (except for that time he became a full-body wooden figurine) he absolutely had heart. The “Relief Adam” saw the cartoon bomb don America’s red, white, and blue to raise money for victims of the devastating Hurricane Sandy in New York.
And Adam holds a cherished place in the heart of The Hundreds fans around the world, who sometimes show their allegiance in a number of unexpected ways when simply buying a T-shirt won’t suffice.
Some have created art that featured Adam Bomb.
Some have decided to take a more permanent approach with their Adam art.
Some took the opposite of a permanent approach.
Adam Bomb has been spotted everywhere in the world, but maybe his most crowning cameo was atop a Times Square skyscraper in all his billboard glory. You’re going to have to zoom in on him all the way up there.
Adam became a staple in the rap game, the Kings of Pittsburgh hip-hop (RIP MAC MILLER) to the Chef himself.
It’s only fitting that Adam would merit a certain level of status within the basketball community since the sport was so closely tied to his legacy. Adam’s had many friends in the league, but some legendary California moments for The Hundreds were when Steph showed Adam some love and when he was the only member of The Hundreds staff invited to ride the Lakers 2009 championship parade floats.
In 2017, Adam’s reign as primary logo for The Hundreds came to a close, with the Wildfire taking over the starting role. Adam became more of a team player, saving his immense energy for the specific times we needed him to return to the court and hit a few clutch corner threes. The Wildfire flag’s black, yellow, and red colors were sourced from his logo brethren Adam.
Now that Wildfire is in the mix, it’s more of a special occasion when Adam Bomb joins the party. And May 2nd is one of those very special occasions that doesn’t even roll around every year. Or every five years. Or every decade. Who knows? The Hundreds may never do another Adam Bomb Collection again. So make sure you grab something when it goes live. Time is ticking.