Steampunk is one of those genres that intrigues me, but it’s also one that is hard to get a good understanding of. These comics are a great start for those of us who may be a bit confused.
Despite the admonition that “just glue[ing] some gears on it and call it steampunk,” is not enough, most people don’t seem to have a good grasp of the notion. Steampunk is a kind of alternate past, or alternate present where big iron mechanisms, Victorian sensibilities, and gothic monstrosities can co-exist. That’s not an easy thing to convey, and it’s even harder to build a coherent understanding of. That’s where Steampunk Originals comes in.
These comics, written and drawn by various artists, and collected by Mike Schneider, are vignettes into a world that might have been. The stories are short, and largely unconnected, each acting as a sort of taste of a larger realm in which they collectively exist.
While reading, I was at first a little put off at what appeared to be the disjointed nature of the tales, but I soon realized that what I was reading was in fact one of the best sources for building an understanding of what Steampunk as a genre means. Yes, each tale was brief, and yes they seemed unconnected, but then they also seemed consistent. And that’s what I was reading: A view into the whole world, the entire existence of that plane of reality. I was reading “world building,” and it was good.
I was reminded of the anthology magazines, Heavy Metal, and Epic Illustrated. These magazines were built of small, often unconnected stories that each gave a tantalizing taste of something bigger, something beyond what was being told. Unlike these magazines though, Steampunk Originals never takes you away from that reality, it just moves you to another spot within it, as if a crystal ball constantly changes focus as you read.