Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Showcase: Steampunk Transformers

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"Optimus Prime"

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A disclaimer: I try to avoid anything steampunk here, because let's be honest - steampunk has been done to death, and then some. I could go into a whole rant about steampunk, in fact, and how it was a novelty for about six months back in 2002 before it got co-opted by the Hot Topic crowd and blown completely out of proportion, but that wouldn't change the fact that blue-haired teenagers wearing corsets, goggles and top hats would continue to celebrate an era of western history typified by its horrific working conditions, abuse of children and the poor, and rampant, unchecked colonial expansionism. So I'll leave it alone.

But, having said that, sometimes I come across something that uses steampunk tropes to its advantage, and that's what we have here, with Brian Kesinger's clever steampunk\Transformers mashup. As you may or may not know, depending on how nerdy you are, IDW published a steampunk Transformers miniseries, called "Hearts of Steel". Kesinger's industrial revolution revisions of Transformers blows that officially sanctioned concept out of the water, thanks to his attention to detail and a number of sardonic touches.

In particular, I love how both Optimus and Megatron are sporting mustaches. I love how Optimus turns into a steam-powered locomotive, Megatron into a baroquely-patterned sixshooter, and Soundwave into a victrola\player piano. I love how era-specific hats have been incorporated into each character's robot mode.

If more steampunk had as much of a sense of humor as this, I probably wouldn't be so quick to dismiss it out of hand.

[Brian Kesinger on Deviantart]

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