People have always had sex. Even in the Victorian era, a time synonymous these days with prudery and abstinence, sexual acts were committed.
In one of the period’s most infamous cases, popular author Oscar Wilde was tried and jailed for the “gross indecency” of making love with other men. Yet Wilde wasn’t alone in his support of “Uranian” (same-sex) relationships. Poet Alfred Douglas, Wilde’s lover and originator of the phrase “the love that dare not speak its name” (echoed in this post’s title), was also a proponent of the well-known Uranian movement. Since steampunk so often draws on Victoriana, we should find Uranian interests represented in a fair number of steampunk stories, right? Plus, the overtness of sexual markers such as corsets in steampunk, and the tendency of the genre’s authors to imagine modern attitudes into their versions of the past, should make queer steampunk common enough that multiple examples are easy to find. Right? Right?
[Read the Rest on Tor.com’s Steampunk Week]
Filed under Essays, History
Outlined routes towards discovering and conversantly addressing Carla Speed McNeil’s graphic series Finder.
Panel from Finder: Sin-Eater, Issue 9: Artist/writer: Carla Speed McNeil, Lightspeed Press, March 1998
One inspired comic maker, Carla Speed McNeil, who began self-publishing Finder through her own imprint of Lightspeed Press in 1996, has been ardently continuing to develop this ongoing graphic series since 2005 as a webcomic. The creative commitment McNeil has applied toward the progressive formation of Finder has been appreciably recognized receiving a Lulu Award in 1997 and numerous Ignatz Awards leading to several Eisner nominations since 2001 1 In transitioning her successive work to a digital domain, McNeil has continued to draw critical accolades while expanding readers’ awareness within this worldly field, and in 2009, Finder was duly awarded an esteemed Eisner for ‘Best Digital Comic’. Topically, McNeil has accepted a representative offer from one of the foremost comic book publishers in the United States, and her prolific graphic saga will soon be widely republished in chronicle volumes by Dark Horse Comics.
Note: This week features Noah Meernaum, with a dual review of ROBOTIKA and its follow-up, ROBOTIKA: FOR A FEW RUBLES MORE.
Wherein the graphic series Robotika is seen to be mounting up and continuing into further outbound territory proclaimed to be steadily aided by an additional scribe (causing much trepidation upon the reviewer).
Robotika: For a Few Rubles More by Alex Sheikman (writer/illustrator), David Moran (writer/script), Joel Chua and Scott Keating (colors). Archaia Press, 2009.
Alex Sheikman’s resplendently rendered comic concoction Robotika was (as serial albums often intentionally are) left largely open-ended regarding its leading characters and had rather boldly proclaimed that its odd cast would be drawn further forth within the sequential sequel subtitled For a Few Rubles More. I reckon most readers will recall that this secondary heading is an exchanged refrain rung from Sergio Leone’s notorious noodle western For a Few Dollars More (Per qualche dollaro in più, 1965) aptly referenced by Sheikman as a flipside further molded by Russian relations. 1 This inflected impartment reflects upon Sheikman’s personal experience living in Russia and tenders due currency toward maliciously ‘made men’ or marked outlaws. 2
Note: This week, Noah Meernaum (who previously wrote for Beyond Victoriana about racial representations in Weird West comics) returns with a dual review of ROBOTIKA and its follow-up, ROBOTIKA: FOR A FEW RUBLES MORE. The first review is below, and its companion piece will be posted on Monday.
Steampunk is currently continuing to be abundantly referenced to describe a vast array of fictional works that have presently arisen in the revitalized interest around this peculiar fantastic amalgam. Amid this extensive fictive outgrowth there is an increasing concentration towards advancing beyond any given geographical location, fixed elements, or customary Western outlooks surrounding steampunk. These alternate positions and views, while being openly encouraged as further imaginative formulations enlarging upon the allowable confines of this compound term, are sometimes held as far flung adoptions disproportionately conjoined of disagreeable parts or disparate plots.
One such decisive adaptive outthrust of steampunk is graphically pronounced in the comic series Robotika, that through its principal creator Alex Sheikman’s descriptive reference as being informed of a “samurai steampunk” is sure to directly incite those opposed to such an audacious concoction.1 Certainly this conjunction of Eastern emblems interacting with Western motifs is not novel in its projected mythical fusion. This perpetual exchange has stemmed from the pioneering films of Akira Kurosawa and continued in current re-shoots or re-slashes such as Takashai Mikke’s Sukiyaki Western Django (2007) and Ji-woon Kim’s The Good, The Bad, The Weird (2008). 2 Afro Samurai (Manga or magazine format, 1999-2000) is another preceding animate example of engaging what would appear to be disparate cultural elements portrayed through alternate perspectives. 3
Note from Ay-leen: This is the first of a two-part essay from Noah Meernaum of the Steampunk Empire about minority representations in Weird West. Part Two of this essay will be posted next Sunday.
Wounded Range: A backtracking survey into the outlandishly penned or set trail of the Weird Western in American popular culture proposed to readdress its multicultural representations, taking in its past shadowed forms cast of lone two gun heroes, (or antiheroes), curious carriages, disfigured renderings, dying curses, sundered souls, vengeful spirits, and other unnatural varmints sifted from lost lore to the ragged pages of dime novels, pulps, and other two bit books. A notorious twisted trail turned inward with an outlook toward its past and present course.
Filed under Essays, History
This week’s feature came to me from MySpace (yes, I still have one, and keep it updated…sorta). From the steampunk community there, I friended Tess Fowler. She’d done some gorgeous steampunk erotica work in the past, but I noticed that she began posting character designs such as these:
Cue the double-take on the names. Characters of color in my steampunk? And (gasp) one of them is Vietnamese-?
Since then, I’ve been following Tess and her progress on The Seven for months. The project is still in its development stages, but, dying to know more, I had a recent conversation with Tess and The Seven’s writer Chris Gutierrez about The Seven and what inspired them to create a multiracial steampunk world.
Read the interview under the cut