Perfect for any Steampunk fan that’s looking for a bit of mystery in their story, Lady Mechanika is an ongoing series created by Joe Benitez (Cyberforce, The Darkness) which debuted in 2010. The story follows the only survivor of a series of murders by a mad killer, after the attack she wakes up in a laboratory with her limbs swapped for mechanical replacements and her memories lost. She becomes a detective, solving crimes and trying to unravel the mystery of her own life. The art is stunning and with elements of Jack the Ripper, Frankenstein and Burke and Hare added to the story this is a real Victorian romp.
The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen
By rule of thumb anything by Alan Moore is likely worth reading and The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen is no exception. There are several books in the series that span through time. The first two volumes are set in Victorian England and follow well known literary characters of the era such Alan Quartermain, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde and Captain Nemo as they team up to save the country. These stories are dark, sometimes brutal and certainly not for a young audience, that being said the story and character work is fantastic and these books are an absolute must read for any fan.
Here we have much lighter book in tone, Iron West is a Steampunk cowboy vs tin man caper created by Doug TenNapel of Earthworm Jim fame. California is in the grip of an army of robots who take control of the railroads, building a massive mechanical beast of train to boot. Outlaw Preston Struck and a band of misfits must stand up to these motorised menaces and save the town from their tyranny. This is an excellent underdog story set in the Wild West.
The Amazing Screw-On Head
Mike Mignola is something of a leader in the Retrofuturism department when it comes to comic books. His Hellboy universe contains some great examples, most notably of Dieselpunk. When it comes to Steampunk however his finest work is likely The Amazing Screw-On Head. This one-shot comic book is a black comedy about a robotic agent working for President Abraham Lincoln. He can unscrew his head and attach it to different bodies to acquire different tactical abilities. It’s an utterly bonkers story that is both macabre and charming. You can also check out the animated pilot episode created for TV that’s now available on DVD.
Captain Swing and the Electrical Pirates of Cindery Island
We’re back in London, this time following Charlie Gravel, a new policeman wading his way through strange visions of a Steampunk reality. The villain of the piece is the well known Victorian urban myth ‘Spring-Heeled Jack’ who was able to leap extraordinarily high even over tall buildings. There are plenty of Steampunk delights to sink your teeth into here from fantastical flying machines to rocks from mars, even better that it’s all polished off with Warren Ellis’s fantastic dialog and Raulo Caceres’ fine art.