By RazzaTazz 12 Comments
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:
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:
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.