The Game is Afoot! Aspen Comics to Debut Lady Mechanika: a Steampunk Paranormal Detective Series Created by DoctorQ on 9/30/2010 12:52:08 PM
An preview of a new miniseries from Aspen Comics, Lady Mechanika, as well as an interview with its creator.
By Doctor Q
All Artwork used in this article is taken from Joe Benitez’s art gallery and used with his express permission.
A mysterious woman with clockwork replacements for her arms and legs sets about finding out the secrets of how she came to be by becoming a private detective. Lady Mechanika is the latest from Aspen comics and is written and illustrated by Joe Benitez with colors by Peter Steigerwald. It features a gorgeous semi-mechanical female detective, stellar art, mystery, intrigue, crazy contraptions and supernatural themes. I mean seriously – what more do you want in a Steampunk comic?
Artist Joe Benitez spared some time from his busy schedule to speak with us at the Chronicle, as well as supply some wonderful teaser art you see strewn throughout this piece.
Interview with Joe Benitez:
Q: Can you briefly let our readers know a bit about your other work in the comics industry?
Joe: I started working at Top Cow (Weapon Zero, Darkness, Magdalena), then did a creator-owned book Wraithborn through Wildstorm, followed by some work for DC (Titans, JLA, Detective Comics, Supergirl). The last couple years I’ve been working for Aspen (Soulfire, Executive Assistant: Iris), who is now publishing my new creator-owned, Lady Mechanika.
Q: Before going into detail about your new comic, a question I ask everyone I interview: What is Steampunk to you?
Joe: There’s a wide range to what’s called “Steampunk”. For me, it’s about re-imagining history with more advanced technology. It’s also about combining the elegance, mystery, magic, & superstitions of the Victorian Era with scientific advancements, inventions, & technology.
Q: So tell us about Lady Mechanika.
Joe: Lady Mechanika is about a half-human, half-machine female investigator. The book takes place in the late 1800’s, Europe. Mechanika has no memory of her early years, so she doesn’t know where she came from or how she got her mechanical limbs. 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 has led her to investigate many supernatural cases, so she has developed a reputation as one of the top investigators of the paranormal and other oddities.
Q: What were your influences for the character and the story in general?
Joe: A lot of the inspiration began at cons watching over the years all the really cool Steampunk cosplayers. As time went on, they seemed to get more and more elaborate with their outfits. The genre appealed to me. I love the elegance with the retro future tech look. As I did more research online, I discovered so many amazing artisans and craftsmen that were taking this genre to the next level. I wanted to be part and so I began working on Mechanika.
Q: Your story draws from both the super-science of Victorian science-fiction, but also just as heavily from the occult and paranormal elements as well. Explain to us a bit about how you treat your world’s science and magical elements and how, if at all, they intersect.
Joe: I’ve got a reason in mind for the science and the magic but figuring all of that out will be part of the story!
Q: What about this story should really resonate with us steampunks? Why should we rush to the stands and grab every issue as they come out?
Joe: My goal is to put my spin and to create visuals that perhaps you haven’t seen before in the genre. Add elements that perhaps you never thought of . Well that’s my intent anyways.
Q: Is this a limited-series run or an ongoing story? Are there plans for a trade paperback?
Joe: Just a Mini to begin with. If Mechanika finds an audience then I'll see about doing the ongoing. Yes, there should be a trade for the first mini.
So, dear readers, it’s up to us to show Mr. Benitez some support. Go grab those issues off the stands and spread the word. You may even find a new design in these books to inspire you in your own steampunk lives.
Here’s a sneak peek at the opening page from Lady Mechanika #0, available at your local comic shop October 6th, with special release (featuring an exclusive cover) available at next week's New York Comic Con. Make sure your local comic shop knows to stock copies come new comic day next week.
For more on Joe Benitez’s Lady Mechanika
, see his website, linked HERE
Doctor Q is the Media Editor for Steampunk Chronicle. He fancies himself an acoustic arranger of music and founder of the Artifice Club.