Saturday, March 24, 2012

A Little Something for the Discerning Steampunk Gentleman (or Lady)

Gearheart's Steam-punk Glamor Revue
Antarctic Press Entertainment

Okay, I know this isn't the usual thing I feature here, but a little variety never hurts.  I met the editor Guy Clayton Brownlee and associate editor Patricia Ash at ConDFW, where they had a copy of the first issue.  I was impressed the production values; this publication was clearly a labor of love.  Patricia Ash was kind enough to send me copies of the first two issues.

What Gearheart's Steam-punk Glamor Revue is about is beauty, whether that beauty is the female form, well-designed costumes, or colorful art.  Just for the record, it isn't porn.  The raciest the photos get is cleavage and/or thigh.  Each of the first two issues contains a piece of original short fiction as well.  The ladies in the photos aren't professional models.  Rather they are steampunk aficionados who made their own costumes.  In keeping with steampunk culture, the magazine is, as stated in the editorial of the first issue, hands-on and do-it-yourself.

Here's what the first two issues contain.

The first issue, coming in at 28 pages, contains a frontispiece of gorgeous artwork by Chris Ortega, an editorial by Brownlee, four photospreads each containing an interview with the lady featured, two art profiles (Brian Kesinger and Mahmud Asrar), and a short story by Patricia Ash.  Oh, and a photo on the back cover of a young lovely not featured in any of the interior spreads.  Plus a few pages of ads.

The second issue, the cover of which heads this post, had a little more variety and 32 pages.  There were only three photospreads.  The artwork for the frontispiece was by Brian Kesinger and was different in tone and execution from his art featured in the first issue.  Brownlee returned with another editorial.  Featured artist was Micheal Dashow.  The fiction in this issue was by Jules Cox; it was longer than the fiction in the first issue.  Of course there were some ads, all steampunk in theme, and another back cover with a different model than the interior shots.  What was new, and what I thought had the second issue a more interesting one than the first were the interview and the phony ad.

The interview (accompanied by several photos) was with Gail Carriger, author of the Parasol Protectorate series.  The ad, though, was the most fun.  It was for Dr. Oh's Octopodiform Deterrent.  Cthuloid repellant, in other words.  It was illustrated in the style of a Victorian newspaper ad, and I found it quite clever.

While the fiction in the first issue was more to my taste, overall I liked the second issue better.  (Isn't that what a publisher wants?  For a reader to like the new issue better than the previous, not the other way around.)  The addition of the interview added some depth to the magazine.  The ad for Dr. Oh's added some levity.  I thought this combination made for a stronger issue.

I realize the fan bases of heroic fantasy and steampunk may not overlap that much, but those of you who enjoy a good zeppelin chase might want to check it out.  The photography is professional level, as is the art.  The fiction does more than allow one to say, "But, dear, I only read it for the short stories."  Both stories were quite readable, although completely different in tone.  I suspect Patricia Ash intends her story to be the first in a series.  My feeling is that a sequel to the Cox story would probably destroy the tone established at the end, but I could be wrong.

I am confused about one thing, though.  The cover price, at least on the copies I have, is $3.99, while on the website the price is listed as $4.99.  Either way, I think the price is reasonable.  The production values are quite high, and the creators clearly care about what they're doing.  This isn't something churned out to make a fast buck.  That fact alone puts the publication miles ahead of much of what's being published today.  Check them out.

Credits:  First issue cover model Katy Dehay photographed by Greg Daniels; second issue cover model Taja Varem Mohsen, photography by, styling by


  1. I haven't read much steam punk but I think there are a lot of similarities with Sword & Planet fiction, which I love, of course.

    1. You're right, there is a lot of similarity between steampunk and sword and planet. I've not read a great deal of steampunk, but what I have read has been fun.