Gotham by Gaslight
One of the most famous characters to ever come out of comics is undoubtedly the Batman. In 1989 a story was printed reimagining the character in Victorian London 100 years earlier. After a crazed loon kills his wife and attempts to commit suicide using a strange poison, leaving him with a permanent grin (Joker) Bruce Wayne decides to become Batman in order to fight crime in the streets of England’s capitol. This is the first and often noted as best of DC’s “Elseworld” stories which reimagine different characters under different circumstances. See Wonder Woman: Amazonia for another good Steampunk take on a classic character.
Written Supernatural’s Adam Glass Rough Riders is an extremely fun story set in the United States in 1898. After alien technology is used to destroy an American ship a young Theodore Roosevelt bands together a rag tag crew of soon to be famous legends. People like Annie Oakley, Thomas Edison and Harry Houdini team up in order to stop this otherworldly threat. It’s undoubtedly similar to The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen in its premise though not quite as dark in its presentation. Any fan of Glass’s punchy dialog won’t be disappointed, this is heaps of fun.
JLA: Age of Wonder
Another DC Elseworlds story, JLA: Age of Wonder follows the story of Superman, landing in Kansas in the year 1850. He introduces himself to the world at the Centennial Exposition in 1876, carrying none other than the torch of the Statue of Liberty. Superman ends up working with Nikola Tesla to help advance the world at an exponential rate which brings about the introduction of a vast amount of Steampunk contraptions, buildings and vehicles. The story also features a 19th Century Flash, Green Lantern and Star man along with genuine insights between the relationship between Tesla and Edison.
Lantern City is set in the fictional city of the same name, the story revolves around Sander Jorve, a man whose only goal is to keep his wife and child safe. This task isn’t so simple though when you live in the lower class of the city, here the towering walls of the centre leave them in near constant darkness whilst the rich elite of the upper classes enjoy life in the elevates skyscrapers, with interconnected towers and glorious airships to boot. Sander reluctantly joins a revolution and infiltrates the guard. If a Steampunk take on Les Miserablé is what you’re looking for this could be for you.
This somewhat bluntly named comic is by comic book heavyweights Joe Kelly and Chris Bachalo and tells the story of a divided London in the 1838. The city is in the grip of the villainous madman Mortimer Absinthe who has divided the country into a caste system. Queue the revolution! It’s a similar premise to the previous book mentioned, however think of this as a far more bombastic approach, just take the hero of the story for example, he’s half man, half machine, with a furnace for a chest and a giant metal arm. This book is so much fun and the art is incredible, showcasing some truly marvellous contraptions.