Tag Archives: steampunk

Comics Review: Clockwork Lives: The Graphic Novel

Clockwork Lives: The Graphic Novel

Any escape might help to smooth
The unattractive truth
But the suburbs have no charms to soothe
The restless dreams of youth

–Neil Peart, RUSH – Subdivisions ( Signals Album 1982 )

Any kid growing up in the ’80s and in tune with popular music was listening to Rush in 1982. I fondly remember the single, “Subdivisions,” with its eerie biting satire. Flash forward thirty years, Rush released its 19th and final album, Clockwork Angels, in 2012. The lyrics written by Neil Pert, were adapted into a comic book mini-series by Boom Studios in 2014. And now we have a new Clockworks tale to tell, Clockwork Lives, published by Insight Comics. It is a treat for fans, new and old, promising to deliver something trippy and unusual, another ode to nonconformity.

If I were to storyboard out this narrative, I would be anticipating some really weird and fun visuals. Here’s the thing, this whole story is about dreams and telling stories where anything is possible. The premise is quite whimsical: the great clockworks conductor has passed away; if his sheltered daughter wishes to gain her inheritance, she must venture out into the world, beyond her little hamlet, and collect wonderful stories into a special book.

The Death of the Father

Be prepared to take in one intriguing image after another. It’s like Jethro Tull meets The Wizard of Oz. Or Ozzy Osborne meets Tintin. Or, better yet, steampunk meets The Canterbury Tales. So, curl up in a nice comfy chair and just take it all in. This is coming from Rush’s Neil Peart, after all. Co-writer Kevin J. Anderson worked with Peart on the original Clockwork Angels comics adaptation. As Anderson states in the Introduction, with this new tale, Peart and Anderson did not have album lyrics to guide them. This time out, the world of the Watchmaker, the Anarchist, and Albion, would be set free to develop further.

The Fortune Teller’s Tale

The art (Benjamin Rboly, GMB Chomichuk, Juan Vegas, Moy R., Tom Hodges, Tony Perna, Vic Malhotra) here is gorgeous with a true steampunk sensibility. And the cover, by the way, is designed by Hugh Syme, who did the covers and illustrations for Clockwork Angels and just about every single Rush album.

As our main character, the mellow Marinda Peake, soon learns, it’s good to strike out on one’s own. Before you know it, your life can blossom from a “mere sentence or two” to a true epic. It will prove an enjoyable journey for any reader.

Clockwork Lives: The Graphic Novel is a 176-page full color hardcover available as of June 26, 2018. For more details, visit Insight Comics.

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under Comics, Graphic Novel Reviews, graphic novels, Insight Comics, Insight Editions

Review: THE BOZZ CHRONICLES

The-Bozz-Chronicles

THE BOZZ CHRONICLES is going to appeal to those who love an offbeat story with an ooey-gooey weirdness rolled into a droll misadventure. Does that sound like you? More cheezburger, perhaps? Yes, you. And you’ll dig the vintage quasi-steampunk vibe too. We have been enjoying a comics reprint renaissance in recent years. And Dover Publications is doing its part by bringing back ole Bozz which was originally a six-issue series published by Epic Comics from December 1985 to December 1986. Set in Victorian era England, we follow a space alien as he solves crimes with the help of prostitute Amanda Flynn and American Salem Hawkshaw.

Bozz-Chronicles-Dover-comics

Written by David Michelinie (The Amazing Spider-Man) and drawn by Bret Blevins (New Mutants), this is a comic ready to regain the spotlight. The one thing I can’t help but focus on is how effortlessly quirky this comic is. And, of course, it’s steampunk before there ever was steampunk. It takes its cues from a long tradition of bawdy and oddball British humor going all the way back to Chaucer, and you thought I was going to say, Alan Moore. Funny, but there is a Moore connection. There usually is one if you dig far enough. Mr. Michelinie wrote for “Swamp Thing” before and after Alan Moore. Pretty cool, huh?

The-Bozz-Chronicles-Dover-Epic-comics

“The Bozz Chronicles” is one of those eccentric comics that goes all out and then sadly comes to an end, like a dazzling magic act. Not every weird and wonderful comic needs to become a perpetual series or franchise. Some of the best just do their unique bit of magic and that’s more than enough. That’s comics at its elusive and ephemeral best.

And if you like this reprint gem, you’ll dig other Dover titles like “A Sailor’s Story” by Sam Glanzman, originally published by Marvel Comics in two volumes in 1987 and 1988. “The Bozz Chronicles” is a 208-page trade paperback and will be available as of September 16, 2015. For more details on Dover graphic novels, visit our friends at Dover Publications right here. You can also find “The Bozz Chronicles” at Amazon right here.

Leave a comment

Filed under Dover Publications, Graphic Novel Reviews, graphic novels, Horror, mystery, Steampunk

Comic-Con 2015 Movie Review: ‘Vintage Tomorrows’

Historian James Carrott poses with Cherie Priest. Photo by Ben Z. Mund

Historian James Carrott poses with Cherie Priest. Photo by Ben Z. Mund

“Vintage Tomorrows” has got to be the best title you could give a documentary on the steampunk movement and it lives up to it. This is a much-needed comprehensive look, both informative and quite a lot of fun. The documentary made its world premiere at the Comic-Con Int’l Independent Film Festival this last weekend.

Produced and directed by Byrd McDonald, this documentary is based on the book, “Vintage Tomorrows,” by James Carrott and Brian David Johnson. They’re in the doc and so are many other notable figures. Interviews and appearances include authors William Gibson and Bruce Sterling (The Difference Engine), Cherie Priest (Boneshaker), China Miéville (Perdido Street Station), Cory Doctorow (Makers), Gail Carriger (The Parasol Protectorate series), Paul Guinan and Anina Bennett (Boilerplate: History’s Mechanical Marvel), Ann and Jeff VanderMeer (Steampunk, The Steampunk Bible), Nisi Shawl (Everfair) and Phil and Kaja Foglio (Girl Genius), and founder of Steampunk Magazine Margaret ‘Magpie’ Killjoy.

What’s all the fuss about, you ask? The story of steampunk, followers will tell you, is for everyone. To give a sense of the many voices and answers to the question, “What is steampunk?” we begin with a whirlwind of responses from many of the participants. Initial segments are sliced together with one person seeming to complete another’s sentence. “Steampunk is…” leads to answers such as “based upon science fiction of the 19th century” and on down to line to rallying cries such as, “you show up in a top hat and spats and you’re there to cause a riot!”

For an ostensibly literary movement, you would expect a rather low-key and subtle vibe running throughout. And, darn it, that is basically what you have and there’s nothing wrong with that. However, what people who are involved with steampunk would have you know is that there’s a strong sense of wonder, adventure, and excitement attached as well. And things are evolving. What may have begun as a quirky meeting of minds, circa 2005, has found formidable and creative leaders in the last ten years.

Steampunk today takes itself more seriously. The irreverence has been tempered a bit with a higher level of self-scrutiny. For instance, as the documentary explains, in order to be more inclusive, steampunk needed to confront the Victorian era’s colonialism and elitism. While history is what it is, attempts are made to address the past. For instance, you hear one participant say she no longer wears a pith helmet, an obvious symbol to her of colonialism.

Attempts to bring the Victorian era into the 21st century are likely to always be weird but that is part of steampunk. Enthusiasts will tell you that a big method to the madness is an attempt to get back to something tactile and real. While a steampunk follower may own an iPhone or iPad, that doesn’t mean he or she doesn’t do it grudgingly. A recurring battle cry is that we’ve lost something vital with today’s technology. There is no steampunk smart phone or laptop. However, we have each other. We have community. Steampunk encourages you to not be afraid to look backward as you find your way forward.

Be sure to visit the official Vintage Tomorrows website right here.

7 Comments

Filed under Comic-Con, Documentaries, pop culture, Steampunk

Review: NEMO: RIVER OF GHOSTS by Alan Moore & Kevin O’Neill

Nemo-River-of-Ghosts-Alan-Moore

“Nemo: River of Ghosts” comes to you from the universe of The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, written by Alan Moore and drawn by Kevin O’Neill. This is the last in a trilogy of Nemo adventures featuring Captain Nemo’s daughter, Janni Dakkar. Here, you’ll find Janni, the grand matriarch nearing the end of her life, on a most urgent quest. With all her resolve, she knows she has no choice but to find and kill Princess Ayesha before it’s too late. Ayesha is a great threat to Nemo and, after all, Janni already beheaded her thirty years ago! Of course, most people find this quest rather absurd. However, this is a world of gods and magic, so it’s not out of the question.

Everything revolves around this elusive Princess Ayesha. But, whatever the prey, we’re off on one mad adventure. And you can’t have a good adventure without colorful characters. Stealing the show is one Hugo Coghlan. With Janni in a vulnerable state, 80 years-old and in bad health, Coghlan proves to be her most valued assistant. It would be difficult for him to do otherwise as he intimately knows the Amazon jungle they are heading out for and he can easily lift a 1952 Buick with his pinkie finger and simply sigh, “Just as easy.” Hugo also happens to greatly admire Janni despite her chilly rudeness.

Once Janni has her crew on the mighty Nautilus, she has to deal with such classic nautical obstacles as mutiny and stowawys. But when the submersible’s token stoaway turns out to be her own ten-year-old grandson, Jack, Janni is forced to rein in her temper just a bit. In the end, the boy gets a pat on the head and a front row seat, so to speak, to what is about to unfold. Jack provides some useful added perspective. In the bargain, Jack also holds the link to possible further Nemo adventures.

This last installment of Moore and O’Neill’s Nemo adventures is one spot on adventure. There’s some mature content so I would place this as appropriate for teens and above. Overall, it’s quite a ripping yarn. When was the last time you had an 80-year-old as your main character in an action adventure? I think we all know the answer to that one. Brilliant. Simply, brilliant.

“Nemo: River of Ghosts” is a 56-page full color hardcover, priced at $14.95, and available now. For more details, visit our friends at Top Shelf Productions right here.

2 Comments

Filed under Alan Moore, Comics, Comics Reviews, Graphic Novel Reviews, graphic novels, Jules Verne, Steampunk, Top Shelf Productions

Review: ‘Time Samplers’

Time-Samplers-Paranoid-American-2013

ComiXology’s Submit line-up this week includes the first issue of an intriguing comic with a time travel theme, “Time Samplers.” Created by Thomas Gorence, it is written by Thomas Gorence, Erik Koconis, David Pinckney and drawn by Christopher Hanchey. Published by Paranoid American, it is 37 pages priced at $2.99. If you enjoy a plot laced with a healthy dose of conspiracy theory, this one takes care of you in more ways than one. Yes, indeed, this is a wild ride coming at you from various vantage points and with enough twists to keep any fan of time travel stories quite satisfied.

Time-Samplers-Thomas-Gorence-2013

Didn’t we go through a very strange “adjustment” to our financial instituitons not so long ago? We’re all familiar with the big players in the banking system, including J.P. Morgan Chase, are we not? Well, return to the source for insider trading and the like, the original crew of fat cats at Jekyll Island, circa 1913. Point of fact, it was at this elite country club that J.P. and friends cobbled together the U.S. Federal Reserve. In this comic, we find these industrialists meeting with Alexander Graham Bell to discuss his proposals to control the masses through sound waves. Not a bad idea but no one is fully won over quite yet. Although, they are interested in Bell’s prototypes for human slaves in the form of “sheeple.”

Time-Samplers-2013-Thomas-Gorence-001

That is the scene that two adventurous young men, Cal and Lex, drop in on, through their employment with a mad scientist. It’s a great set up and well worth sticking around for. The artwork is an animated and fun style, light and purposeful. There is attention to backgrounds, architecture, gadgets, and characters. All in all, a comic that brings its A game to the table. You get quirky dialogue, well paced action, and a time travel scenario to sink your teeth into.

Also, as part of this comic, you get a shorter work, “Operation Midnight Climax,” which as a scary amount of CIA stories to tell. Compressed into a mini-comic format, there’s a nice gritty feel to this story of CIA agent George Hunter White and how the CIA made use of just about any and all available drugs for what it considered the greater good.

You can check out “Time Samplers #1” at ComiXology here.

And be sure to keep up with Time Samplers at their site, Twitter, Facebook, and at Paranoid American.

Leave a comment

Filed under Comics, Comics Reviews, Comixology, Comixology Submit, Sci-Fi, science fiction, Steampunk, Time Travel

What It Feels Like To Ride The Kickstarter Beast

Kickstarter_Logo

I love Kickstarter. The ride has been exhilarating. You learn so much when you do a Kickstarter campaign. It really does come down to basics. You learn about yourself, what you’re trying to communicate, how you communicate. This video is interesting to me. I like it. And I know it could be improved upon, believe me. But, overall, I like it. I even love it. And I love my campaign that you can view HERE.

I like myself. Wait, check that, I lOVE myself. That’s important because you have to have a thick skin and accept whatever happens during a campaign. You need to keep perspective. You need to be able to step back and ask yourself if you’ve reached as many people as you’re going to reach during a campaign. I’m still gauging that. Maybe there are some people that I reached but wasn’t able to get them to that last step, the actual pledge. Maybe I missed a whole lot of people somehow. Well, so it goes. That’s the healthy approach. But, yes, there’s plenty of people still to reach. Big hint here to WordPress to make this a Freshly Pressed post! I will state here, without a doubt, I also love WordPress!

And I love all my readers: Hey, go for it! Support this campaign as best you can! Repost this. Give it an official LIKE. Spread the word in any which way you can. Maybe I just had to ask.

You learn, in a pretty significant way, what really matters in goal setting. You set out to achieve a compelling goal that is within your grasp and is in need of funds. Sounds pretty simple. And it can be. For me, my project came naturally to me. And, with only hours left in this campaign, I am so glad I did it, even if I don’t reach my goal. However, who wouldn’t like to reach their goal, especially one that has been carefully thought out and nurtured as mine has? Well, you’re right, I do dearly want to see my comics project make it.

This is a work years in the making and something that will attract readers from many directions: horror, sci-fi, humor, even romance. It will attract readers who love good quirky and offbeat stories. You know who you are! It will attract readers of good solid alternative comics with attention to slice-of-life details. If you love the more artful and literary comics, then this is for you. Each of the short works is an unusual story of self-discovery. One involves a man who must come to grips with killing a bear. Another, the title work, is about a luxury hotel with charming ghosts who are disturbed my a couple of guests with way too much emotional baggage. This story, set in the Sorrento Hotel, refers back to a lot of Seattle history and has a steampunk quality to it. There are a total of four short works that originated from 24-Hour Comics Day experiments. The long story is a coming-of-age piece about a young man’s first adventure in New York City. You can interpret that story in more than one way. So, I’ll keep fighting the good fight. I will. Because it’s so worth it.

You need to carry yourself like you’ve already won, even if it seems like there’s a certain level of indifference. You do this because you trust in yourself the most.

And I’ll definitely keep you posted after this campaign comes to a close on May 6. I’d love to read your feedback and share more of what I’ve learned. But, for now, there’s a campaign still under way! How bad do I want this thing? Pretty bad! You’ve got all the rest of this weekend and all the way through Monday. After that, we’ll talk and see how it goes. Just go to Kickstarter, A NIGHT AT THE SORRENTO AND OTHER STORIES on Kickstarter thru May 6, and head over HERE.

Leave a comment

Filed under 24 Hour Comics Day, Alternative Comics, Comics, Comix, Generation X, graphic novels, Henry Chamberlain, Horror, Humor, Independent Comics, Kickstarter, Romance, Sci-Fi, science fiction, Sex, Steampunk

STEAMPUNK: STEAMPUNK STYLE

Comics Grinder could not resist this one. Psy’s “Gangnam Style” gets the Steampunk treatment in this stylish parody. It’s sexy, funny, and joyful. What more could you want?

Leave a comment

Filed under Humor, Parody, pop culture, Steampunk

STEAMPUNK: THE AMAZING ADVENTURES OF VICTORIA CLARKE

Amazing-Adventures-Victoria-Clarke-2013

THE AMAZING ADVENTURES OF VICTORIA CLARKE is a high flying adventure where Steampunk, and its sister subculture, Dieselpunk, coexist beautifully. This story is set in 1920s Hollywood, beyond the Victorian perimeters of steampunk, but also is connected to it. Victoria Clarke’s family is solidly founded to Victorian London so the steampunk connection is deeply rooted.

THE AMAZING ADVENTURES OF VICTORIA CLARKE is on its way to becoming an ongoing series of 10-15 minute webisodes. There is the potential for it to expand to include a graphic novel, a video game, and ultimately a feature film. A Kickstarter campaign is preparing to launch and we look forward to it.

Steampunk-Victoria-Clarke-Kickstarter-2013

We here at Comics Grinder have always embraced steampunk going back to our support of such artists as Molly Crabapple. Our own current Kickstarter campaign, A NIGHT AT THE SORRENTO AND OTHER STORIES, is very invested in steampunk with a loving regard to a bygone era in Seattle. You can view that campaign right here.

Vist our friends at The Amazing Adventures of Victoria Clarke website here.

2 Comments

Filed under Kickstarter, Steampunk, Webisodes

Molly Crabapple’s SHELL GAME Art Show: April 14 – 23, 2013

Great American Bubble Machine, 2012

Great American Bubble Machine, 2012

Occupy is still with us. And it’s Molly Crabapple who is among the leaders of the movement.

“Shell Game,” Molly Crabapple’s Kickstarter-funded gallery show, featuring 9 gorgeous paintings dedicated to the 2011 financial collapse will host a public opening party on April 14, 2013, 7-10pm, at Smart Clothes Gallery, 154 Stanton St at the corner of Suffolk St in the Lower East Side, NYC.

Shell Game
Reeption on April 14, 2013

“It was the year when everyone sat down in the main squares of their cities and said the old machine is broken,” observes Crabapple. “2011 freed me to do the best work of my career, and it was amazing to see my protest art wheat-pasted on walls and carried by activists around the world.”

Molly Crabapple is pleased to announce “Shell Game,” an exhibition of new work. The exhibition will be on view from April 14 – April 23, 2013, at Smart Clothes Gallery, located at 154 Stanton Street, between Houston and Suffolk, New York, 10002.

“Shell Game” is comprised of nine, 6’x4′ paintings and one 3’x3′ painting about the revolutions and crises of 2011 (six of which have already been sold to collectors) including the mortgage bubble, the Greek anti-austerity protests, and Occupy Wall Street, filtered through the artist’s distinctive lens of surrealism, satire, and symbolic animals and, for eight of nine paintings, informed by travel to the settings, including Spain, Greece, and the United Kingdom, during which she interviewed activists for her reported illustrated journalism pieces and participated in demonstrations. For Tunisia, she interviewed members of Nawaat, the dissident blogger collective, via Skype. Nine preliminary watercolors, all sold, will also be exhibited.

Molly Crabapple will host a public opening reception on Sunday, April 14, from 7-10pm, sponsored by Original Sin Hard Cider, Blick Art Supply & all our amazing Kickstarter backers! Visit Smart Clothes Gallery here.

1 Comment

Filed under Art, Molly Crabapple, New York City, Steampunk

ART: SMITH TOWER MAYHEM By Henry Chamberlain

Smith Tower Henry Chamberlain

Smith Tower is a beautiful landmark in Seattle. Here is a more eccentric view of it with a steampunk vibe.

Leave a comment

Filed under Art, Comics, Hank, Henry Chamberlain, Seattle, Smith Tower