Steam Goggles

Steampunk as a genre is slowly finding a way to infiltrate comics. I have mentioned this before in its occasional introduction into Grimm Fairy Tales, including a what is essentially a steampunk character is Liesel Van Helsing. As I was watching Heroes of Cosplay last night, one of the characters decided to create a steampunk stormtrooper (steamtrooper). It was a pretty interesting costume and one of the better ones in terms of original design:

Created by Jesse

I was completely impressed with the character until the judges asked him about his design. "Why would a strormtrooper have goggles?" one of the judges asked. I was expecting an answer like "steamtroopers operate on the steam moon of Halta V, and when trapped in a steam pocket their regular visors are not sufficient protection so they deploy their steam goggles." Instead the response was "Because they look badass!" which resulted in me yelling "NOOOOOOO!" at my screen.

In my appreciation of steampunk and how it is used in its own small niche, this is a common problem. People regard steampunk as something which has a thematic look but not a practical story behind it. In comics recently, Antarctic Press has made it a thing to try to get industry recognition by depicting the genre in a series of one shot steampunk themed specials:

Even the horses get goggles

The problem with the concept is that of a running cliche at this point. A steampunk character does not need to have goggles (to be fair many of the Antarctic Press characters don't) and if they do they should have some kind of meaning to the character. The idea behind the original introduction of steampunk goggles was that because steampunk characters were using the technology of today based off of steam power and the equivalent technology of the time, that they had to be continually tinkering with their technological items, which would require magnifying goggles. I think in order to better capture the spirit of the genre that it is necessary to understand why certain items belong to the genre in the first place. In terms of the HoC steamtrooper, this is even more evident, as a crossover character the background story and the thematic look don't need to mesh at all.

12 Comments
12 Comments
Edited by etragedy

I'm really sick of cosplay, steampunk, and every other aspect of geek culture being mainstreamized.

Posted by RazzaTazz

@etragedy: Well true, but I think this is more of a case of the the subculture people not even getting their own motivations correct.

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Posted by etragedy

I have a hard time believing that they're legitimately subculturally affiliated - that's part of the problem - but I admit I haven't seen the show.

Posted by kuonphobos

Jesse's perspective was also foreshadowed earlier in the episode when he basically said of steampunk "goggles everywhere" or something to that effect.

I'm with your take that it is much more satisfying when items have a narrative purpose. This reminds me of some of the questions the judges asked the designers regarding the Future Frankenstein (creature) competition in the Face Off episode.

Posted by RazzaTazz
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Posted by kuonphobos

You have or haven't? I guess in context you haven't. =)

This spell check is messing up my typing and it seems I type faster than it can compute.

Anyhoo...other than the competition subject matter I don't think there are any spoilers.

=)

Edited by RazzaTazz

@etragedy: I think the theme of the Comic Con cosplay was to mix a genre with steampunk.

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Posted by RazzaTazz
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Posted by warlock360

I'm not so sure it's just in the steam punk genre, as it is an accessory for many known characters

Cid from Final Fantasy VII

Hank Pym rocking the goggles

Cannonball from X-men

Tai from Digimon

might even fit Riddick in it

Okay they make a whole lot more sense on these characters than they do on most steam punk characters, but as I said it might just be an accessory for looks, or handiness. Goggle's are kind of main-streaming items.

Posted by IrishX

I really enjoyed when Yaya asked the Tron Dress lady who made the dress. The whole show I was saying how her husband should be getting the credit for it.

I thought "because it's badass" was a pretty ridiculous reply as well.

Speaking to what etragedy was saying I personally like that all those things are becoming "mainstreamized". I like comics. More people getting into them will help the industry continue and grow. A greater variety and risk taking can be expected as they become more popular. Especially with something like Steampunk. There's a pretty limited number of comics in the genre and it would be great to see more things like Lady Mechanika (well ones that actually get released more often). I do however dislike changing the comics to what they do in the movies.

Posted by Joygirl

Unfortunately, goggles just look cool. Too cool. The problem is less that he had them, and more that he didn't make up the right reason for them... great article though.

Edited by Gannicus8282

Everything is deprived of uniqueness once mainstreamed