Steampunk Comic Books!
June 30, 2011 by suzannelazear
Today we welcome comic book artist Joe Benitez, who does the *awesome* Lady Mechanika comics.
Joe Benitez is an American comic book artist who has worked on such titles as “JLA”, “Superman/Batman”, “Detective Comics”, “Supergirl”, and “Titans” for DC Comics and “The Darkness” for Image Comics. He also co-created and penciled the sci-fi series “Weapon Zero” and the dark fantasy mini-series “Magdalena: Blood Divine” for Image. In 2005, Joe published his first creator-owned mini-series “Wraithborn” through Wildstorm. In 2009, he stepped in to finish up Michael Turner’s run on “Soulfire”. Joe is currently working on a new creator-owned book, “Lady Mechanika”, published by Aspen Comics. For more info on Joe Benitez or Lady Mechanika, please visit www.joebenitez.com.
Lady Mechanika #2 is scheduled for release July 13th, and a collected edition including the sold out #0 and #1 issues will also be released the same day. Lady Mechanika books can be found at your local comic book store, or online at www.aspenstore.com.
My name is Joe Benitez and I am a comic book artist. A lot of people associate comic books with men in tights, mwa-ha-ha villains, and outrageous plotlines. While these elements can sometimes be found, comics have evolved to encompass so much more, giving me a perfect medium for expressing my love of steampunk!
“Steampunk”, to me, is about re-imagining history, combining the elegance, mystery, and superstitions of the Victorian Era with more advanced inventions and technology. While this can all be effectively incorporated into a well-written story, there’s one thing traditional novels can’t explore, the most appealing aspect of the steampunk genre in my humble opinion: the visuals.
Corsets and cogs, airships and automatons! Written descriptions simply don’t do them justice! I was first inspired to create a steampunk comic book by all the visual possibilities. For the last several years, steampunk cosplayers have been flocking to comic conventions with their brass goggles, intricate timepieces, and clockwork rayguns. This piqued my interest so I began researching steampunk online, which steered me into a new world of amazing crafts men and women with their own spin on the genre. The more I looked into it, the more amazed I was by all the cool steampunk artisans. I was very taken by the genre, loved the idea of combining Victorian elegance with the retro future tech look. I wanted to be a part of this phenomenon, to show my artistic take on “steampunk”, so I began working on my own steampunk comic, eventually titled “Lady Mechanika”.
After the spark of inspiration was lit, I had to work on the actual story. I was doodling and sketching, designing the look I wanted for this world I was creating, but I also wanted to create compelling characters and intriguing storylines. From the get go, I knew the main protagonist would be female and British (there’s just so much more you can do with female fashion). I wanted to have a strong female character in a very male dominated era. Then I gave her mechanical limbs. This, for me, was the ultimate steampunk character: an elegant, classy Victorian woman with mechanical parts. It also automatically gave me an interesting story: discovering how she came to be. At the start of the story, Lady Mechanika has no memory of her early years, so she doesn’t know where she came from or how she got her mechanical limbs – she doesn’t even know her real name. Finding the answers to her past is a driving force for her character. Though she hasn’t been able to unravel that mystery yet, her search leads her to investigate other unusual or supernatural cases, giving me the opportunity to place her in various adventures that explore the visuals of my fictitious steampunk world.