Steam Wars, a Star Wars parody? No, something different! ~ What'cha Reading?

Steam Wars, a Star Wars parody? No, something different!

9

A normal Wednesday at Royal Collectibles, I was picking up my books and browsing for a moment when I come across a book from a publisher I wasn’t really familiar with. Antarctic Press has been around for quite a while (since 1984!), their flagship series Gold Digger (also by Fred Perry) is poised to hit issue #200, but more on that later. The title from Antarctic that caught my eye last Wednesday was,

steamwar_cover

Steam Wars #1!

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Ok I hear you, looks like a Star Wars rip but let me assure you this is more homage than rip. What starts off feeling very familiar starts to turn very quickly. This is more steam-punk war-time adventure in an alternate dimension than a star wars clone. One thing I look for in my science fiction and fantasy is a story that doesn’t shove explanations for everything down my throat. How often have you been rushing through some hectic situation with a friend and said “Quick Jim, into my car! It’s engine creates internal combustion which drives it to frenetic speeds!” No. Nobody talks like that. I know there is a need to inform the reader of what’s going on but there are better ways to do it. That was the first thing I noticed about the writing, I was following the adventure not the technology.  Here’s the synopsis.

“A not so long ago, in a galaxy relatively close by began an epic struggle on a world seized in the grip of an evil Victorian empire. Only a ragged alliance of rebels oppose the emperor and his black guard, but hope is fading. While fleeing from the steam-driven war machines of her imperial pursuers, Duchess Imoen stumbles across the home of the last Dragoon: the legendary storm foil warriors of ancient lore! This new (but strangely familiar) steam-fantasy epic will give thrills that haven’t been felt since 1977!”

I read it. I enjoyed it. I wanted to pass it along. So I contacted Fred Perry the writer, artist, creator of Steam Wars and asked for a little help. To say he was generous would be an understatement. Take a look at what he sent us.

 SW0101 SW0102 SW0103

 SW0104_05

SW0106 SW0107 SW0108

It was obvious to me early on, though the feel is familiar these aren’t hollow copies of Lucas’ creations. These are characters in their own right. I was talking (ok texting) with a friend this afternoon about comics, tv, etc and he brought up a point about how many shows were copies of The Honeymooners. He’s right, the true classics are always emulated, copied, cribbed from, the difference is whether they can grow past their source material, if they can say something new. I’ve only read the first issue of this comic but I think there’s a chance that Fred Perry might be able to find something new, something interesting to say with these characters. I’ll definitely give it a few issues and see what I see.

Along with the wonderful pages he supplied us with Fred Perry was also cool enough to answer some questions.

I’m assuming Steam Wars is an homage to Star Wars, what prompted you to write it? Will the Steam Wars series continue to mirror the Star Wars saga or will we see a different path?

At first it was just something cool to put in the “Summer Fun” Steampunk anthology. But soon it took on a life of its own.

It is an homage. Initially it began as a joke image of a steam-punk version of a speederbike. Then I began drawing characters who fell into the princess, rogue/big lug, hero-boy, snarky-robot molds when they started telling me what they wanted to be like.

What they wanted became very different from the source material!
Captain Lowe wanted to be a young clint eastwood stage-coach driver. With a little (The Rifleman)Chuck Conner’s mixed in.
Duchess Imoen became what would happen if an slightly-spoiled upper-crust socialite was given a gun and thrust into the trenches in World War I. But I didn’t want her to whine and complain about her situation. I wanted her to be motivated into seeing justice done with her own two hands. All while trying to keep her spotless gloves from getting too much soot on them.
Beauregard Baron (Bo) was modeled of this awesome kid I saw from a movie called “What the %$#@ do we know.” A movie about quantum physics. After seeing that movie, I knew the mystical force that surrounded the destinies of the world I was creating must be based on quantum physics and all its postulates! I was thinking, if a “Quantum Dragoon” could manipulate their surroundings through quantum observation and superposition collapsing, they would be able to perform feats that would drop the jaw of any midi-chlorian!
Steam Wars centers on the struggle of a world oppressed by a group of powerful nations called the Hegemony. So, if you mean that the heroes are working with a resistance to break a tyranny and it’s overlord’s grip over the citizens of a once free pact, then yes. But there’s no death-star trench battle. No asteroid escape. No “it’s a trap” moments. I’ve got different ideas.

You write and draw Steam Wars, can you give us some insight into the process? Do you do storyboards or just wing it? How important is a final script when you do double duty?

I do layouts for the whole book before penciling then script the dialog after each page is complete.

You do a lot of work at antarctic, what do have coming that we should look out for?

I’m currently working on my 200th issue of Gold Digger. So far, I’m really pleased with the layouts and the first few pages are really packed with action. At the same time I get to show of Gina and Brit’s (My main characters) personalities I love how they handle the situations I put them in. I’m really looking forward to having my readers pick up this issue!

Are you planning to attend any conventions this year? Any signings we should know about?

This year, I’ll be attending Akon and San Diego Comic Con has asked me to be a guest this year in commemoration of my reaching the 200th issue *all by myself* (something only a small handful of creators have been able to do, I understand.)

I’d like to wish Fred continued success and say thanks for not only taking the time to send us some preview pages but to answer my (hopefully not too lame) questions. I think what he had to say shows that this series could be a lot of fun why don’t you check it out? 3.5 out of 5!

Steam Wars #1
Writer: Perry, Fred
Artist: Perry, Fred
Cover Artist: Perry, Fred
A not so long ago, in a galaxy relatively close by began an epic struggle on a world seized in the grip of an evil Victorian empire. Only a ragged alliance of rebels oppose the emperor and his black guard, but hope is fading. While fleeing from the steam-driven war machines of her imperial pursuers, Duchess Imoen stumbles across the home of the last Dragoon: the legendary storm foil warriors of ancient lore! This new (but strangely familiar) steam-fantasy epic will give thrills that haven’t been felt since 1977!
Format: COMIC
Price: $3.95
UPC: 61072119038800111
On Sale April 03, 2013
Publisher Antarctic Press
Diamond Id: JAN130826

Gold Digger Annual #200 Series Special
Writer: Perry, Fred
Artist: Perry, Fred
Cover Artist: Perry, Fred
50 regular black-and-white issues and 150 regular color issues combine to make this bicen-tastic anniversary landmark!
Gina heads off on a dangerous expedition to a lost Mayan temple on Monster Island, and this one time, everyone’s available to come help out. For the first time, Gina embarks on an expedition with an army of experts to assist, and she’s going to need every one of them to help with what she faces!
Format: COMIC
Price: $3.99
UPC: 61072107010920011
On Sale April 24, 2013
Publisher Antarctic Press
Diamond Id: FEB130688

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About Author

Chuck Suffel is the Owner/Editor-in-Chief of Whatchareading.com. He loves comics, movies, tv shows. When it comes to comics his first loves are independents and small publishers. Feel free to drop him a note anytime at chuck@whatchareading.com

9 Comments

  1. Nice review and great stuff with Fred Perry. Found this site after Google searching for ‘Steam Wars’ after picking up a copy today in the UK myself. Awesome.

    Keep up the great work and yeah, just wanted to say howdy.

  2. Hey Chuck, Great piece.
    do you think you could ask Fred if he’d consider coming to the NYC Comic Con?
    We’d love to have him.
    His Line would be longer than the american idol lines lol

    • Hey Lucas! First thing Fred’s friends and fans should do is drop by his page http://fredgdperry.deviantart.com/ and ask him if he’s attending. Then, work that wonderful twitter-verse by getting friends and fans to ask @NY_Comic_Con if they have considered inviting him. Don’t forget to talk it up on facebook too. Generate enough buzz and who knows what might happen!
      Thanks for stopping by! And for leaving a comment! I checked out your site, you take beautiful pictures. Keep up the great work!

  3. Chuck, I think you’re mistaken on GD being the flagship title, although Fred Perry is one of the original team members and all and an awesome artist/writee. Ben Dunn and “Ninja High School” was and is the 1st Flagship title in AP’s starting history.

    • Thanks for commenting! I was basing my statement however on the fact that GD is the second longest running independently published comic (2nd only to Cerebus). Definitely not knocking “Ninja High School” or Ben Dunn though.

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