Many of our classic monsters were born in the dark and foggy streets of Victorian London. Literary or legendary, so many monsters seem to have been conjured up or at least written prominently about in that wonderful time. It’s no wonder that steampunk is also a product of that fertile era, the birthing ground of science fiction and horror, kindred genres.
As a costumer, I’ve always been drawn to opportunities to do my own characters instead of re-creating characters from books or movies. When I started to dress in the steampunk mode, I found it enticingly open. Rather than the expectation that you were Captain Nemo or Artemus Gordon, you could be a new character of your own devising. It delighted and inspired myself and others to find that we didn’t have to be characters from someone else’s imagination, but could make it up ourselves.
As I began dressing up for steampunk events, I realized that one of the best ways to go about creating a look was to start from one of the known steampunk archetypes. An archetype, or reccurring character, is one that people will recognize fairly quickly even though it isn’t someone they can name. In the steampunk genre, this character is usually a main character, a hero or villain with a recognizable style of dress or equipment.
Series: Steampunk Fortnight
Ever since I began promoting and educating people about steampunk, I have had to explain it to folks of diverse backgrounds. Early on I came to the conclusion that the giant mechanical spider from the movie Wild Wild West was our poster child.
If they knew nothing at all about science fiction, Jules Verne, or H. G. Wells, they almost invariably knew about that blessed spider. Dr. Loveless with his diabolical machines and Artemus Gordon with all his wild invention were part of the human gestalt now. Steampunk was firmly represented in their minds as a wonderful giant mechanical spider. No other movie was as universally steampunk. Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow is decidedly dieselpunk, and City of Ember is really too technologically advanced. Van Helsing is close, but it is so cheesy that we hesitate to own it. So Wild Wild West it is.
Series: Steampunk Fortnight
- Liz Bourke Sleeps With Monsters: What to Read When the Whole World’s Falling Apart, Part 2 2 hours ago
- Tor.com All the New Science Fiction Books Arriving in April! 3 hours ago
- Stubby the Rocket Working a Great Premise Into a Plot, And Other Highlights from Sarah Gailey’s Virtual Con r/Fantasy AMA 4 hours ago
- Stubby the Rocket Celebrating the Minimum Wage Warriors of SFF 5 hours ago
- Stubby the Rocket Join K.M. Szpara and N.K. Jemisin to Discuss Docile Over Livestream on April 2nd 5 hours ago
- Liberty Hardy The Gideon the Ninth Reread: Chapters 21 and 22 6 hours ago
- Andrew Liptak SFWA Unveils Revised, Virtual Nebula Conference 6 hours ago
- The Picard Maneuver — Star Trek: Picard’s “Et in Arcadia Ego, Part 2” 5 seconds ago on
- Star Trek: Voyager Rewatch: “Elogium” 6 mins ago on
- 17 Optimistic Fantasies to Brighten Your Reading Life 6 mins ago on
- Reading the Wheel of Time: For Our Next Trick, We Hunt Trollocs in Robert Jordan’s The Shadow Rising (Part 24) 11 mins ago on
- The Picard Maneuver — Star Trek: Picard’s “Et in Arcadia Ego, Part 2” 12 mins ago on
- Neil Gaiman: I Don’t Get It 15 mins ago on
- Sleeps With Monsters: What to Read When the Whole World’s Falling Apart, Part 2 16 mins ago on