So last Wednesday, the local Dr. Sketchy’s Drink-and-Draw was held in White River Junction’s humble American Legion. Our theme? Steampunk Extravaganza!
Note: No clocks were dismantled, sewn unnecessarily to patent-leather boots, or otherwise harmed in the making of this blog post.
I had the pleasure of accompanying the typically well-groomed Msr. Radical Warren to this event, which was organized by none other than the remarkable Miss Phoebe, who, according to all readily available information, organizes all of the good Doctor’s clinics in this locale.
In drawing our remarkable models for this event (The dashing Landship Lieutenant Nathaniel Flint, at left, and the darling Lady Kirst Callahan, below at right) my thoughts wandered toward what it is about steampunk couture that irks me (This line of reasoning had very little to do with the models, I assure you, dear reader! It should have become relatively clear to longterm visitors that your humble narrator’s likes and dislikes have very little basis in communally-defined reality).
What is irritating for me about steampunk is precisely what interests me about it: It’s a simultaneous fetishization of past and future, the retroactive production of a time that never was, a fusion of Victorian culture and post-modern technology that somehow manages not to retain the essence of either of the two. This is somewhat problematic for me–I’d have the amount of suffering in a society (particularly in one as rigidly stratified as the Victorian Empire) exaggerated rather than downplayed. Granted, I don’t think it would be terribly fun to cosplay a cholera victim, or child laborer or, you know, a consumptive prostitute who’s never been to a dentist. But I guess that’s what makes it a fetishization–willful idealization and intentional glossing of the facts (and I guess that makes my fetish human misery on a societal scale? No wonder I’m so happy all the time.).
Do not, however, take this as a blanket statement of annoyance with all things steampunk, oh impetuous reader; I thoroughly enjoyed the inventiveness of Gibson and Sterling’s The Difference Engine, the energetic drawing and familiar setting of Kazu Kibuishi’s woefully out-of-print Daisy Kutter: the Last Train (published, it should be added, by Texas indies Viper Comics), Moore and O’Neil’s League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, and, for goodness’ sake, everything ever about Trigun (no, those don’t get hotlinked. If you don’t know what they are, I don’t know how you got here.).
Also, putting extraneous gears on things (my chest excluded) seems a waste of perfectly good gears to me.
I leave you with what I thought were to two best of my inked sketches from the event, which oddly enough happened one-after-the-other. Lady Callahan, Lt. Flint, if you want me to scan these in a way that is more legible but less ‘authentic,’ just give a holler.
Anyway, this evening was a lot of fun, and a great excuse to draw boots and hats. Thanks, Miss Phoebe!