On her flights over time and space, my mechanical bird DeeDee gets a landscape view of alternative histories in our future-focused culture. Occasionally we’re lucky to get a quick fly-over . . .
Greetings to all of Lisa’s readers:
DeeDee here. It’s been a whirlwind month touring culture, with a few quick stops along the way. I’ve had great headwind, as steampunk seems to be blowing over the pop scene like a hurricane. But right now, I’m not sure whether my feathers are ruffled or all puffed out in pride . . .
Because our favorite vintage future fandom has finally come full circle. From its roots in DIY to its latest invasion of DC Comics: steampunk has arrived in Gotham.
As a bird-on-the-go, I’m always two knots behind what’s happening. Imagine my surprise when I caught the first episode of Gotham and saw this latest version of Catwoman (Camren Bicondova). Headgear, anyone?
Aside from looking like mass-produced goggles swiped from a nearby con, this nod to the steampunk cliché had me opening my beak to shout “Cheap! Cheap!” Was the costume designer a closet geek, or was this a sign of things to come?
I didn’t wait long for an answer.
As a bird of steel, I try not to fly in circles, but on this one, I can’t help feeling a little batty. On the one wing, this modern fusion of steampunk and the 21st century is everything I love. And it is also straight out of various Batman comics where Gotham maintained a “retro” feel.
But on the other wing, this also feels like a definite wire across the sky: Hollywood has discovered steampunk.
What will Hollywood appropriation do to the fandom?
We knew this was coming of course. We had hints in Looper, and Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters, and even Heroes of Cosplay on SyFy (among others). But this is different. In Gotham, we have not one nod, but a whole world defined a steampunk aesthetic . . .
Or at least, what Hollywood thinks is a steampunk aesthetic.
I may be mechanical, but I admit I’m nostalgic for the “good old days,” when nobody knew what steampunk was except, well, the steampunks. It’s not the mashup between superheroes and steampunk that I mind. It’s the fact that vintage futures are now the cat’s meow of culture . . . and you know how we birds feel about cats.
The future will tell how mainstream attention affects the fandom. For the time being, all we can do is keep our well-goggled eyes on Gotham, and get back to making the fandom that started with, well, fans.
Cheerio, folks! There’s fair weather for takeoff.
What do you think about the steampunk-esque aesthetic of Gotham? Are you excited or saddened that our happy world has come to the masses?