Last week the Chicago Comic and Entertainment Expo (C2E2 for you cool kids) rolled into town with its usual juggernaut of the innovative, the unusual and the spandex’d.
Though this is my fourth year covering the show for Black Gate, I must say it is by far the worst place to send someone like me who has a problem with staring; especially when doing so is likely to seriously annoy a very big person in a very small costume.
But never let it be said that I shirked my obligation to a long-suffering readership. Therefore I bribed Black Gate photographer Chris Z to once again wade into a precarious situation with me, this time with the promise he could meet all the crew of the Black Pearl from Pirates of the Caribbean who were listed as special guests.
Plus, Chris would be a good deterrent if I did indeed seriously annoy someone; like Batman or Chewbacca.
Almost immediately I realized Chris Z was probably in as much trouble as I was.
The first indication was a sign instructing us to text a number if we saw anything “suspicious.” At which point Chris and I looked at each other and said in unison, “Define suspicious.”
When everywhere you look are adults dressed as super heroes, Star Wars characters and video game icons, determining exactly what constitutes “suspicious” is darn near impossible. Which makes you wonder what would cause someone to text the number as instructed.
Still, Chris and I did our very best to put on the mental blinders and run through a full-day lineup of interviews, meet-and-greets and 100 aisles of merchandise.
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I’m not truly sure when I first heard the word ‘Steampunk.’ I suppose it happened recently, because I believe the word is more modern than most realize. Before the 2000s I’d say the genre in question had a different title, although I’m not sure what it was.
I mean, we’d certainly seen it, in movies like 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea or even the Wild Wild West. In gaming, I’d even played it with Frank Chadwick’s Space: 1889, but it somehow was just ‘Victorian Era’ or ‘Old West with a Twist.’ I suppose it could have been called ‘Vernian’ after Jules Verne, although it’s certainly not as catchy as Steampunk.
My thought, as it strikes me in this very moment, is that Cyberpunk, the catalyst of William Gibson, came first and that the ‘punk’ tag got attached to the ‘steam’ aspect of the time period in which the genre takes place. This, however, has begun to get overplayed, and just last week I swore off the word ‘punk’ entirely when I read a quote for a book that labeled the fiction ‘Godpunk’… seriously?! Godpunk?
Ah well, whatever the case, Steampunk is here and it seems here to stay. In my own experience, I’ve had the pleasure of not only gaming in a Steampunk setting, but also writing a novel in the genre with The Gun Kingdoms. That book, inspired by Space: 1889’s lead concept artist, David Deitrick, was a pleasure to create and it certainly gave me a fantastic reason to research the culture of the growing genre.
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What the heck does one wear at the end of the world? Sure, yes, most people would answer, whatever you can find, but…why not be prepared, and why wait till disaster strikes? Don’t you want to look like a post-apocalyptic hardass? I mean, come on, who doesn’t want to get their Mad Max and Alice on? Nobody wants to be the tarp-toga guy who ties guns to his belt with bootlaces. It’s unwieldy.
Crisiswear is a Chicago-based clothing company. They specialize in future-forward fashion with industrial elements. All of their clothing is custom made, double stitched and built to last. This is survival gear that you can blow up evil, mutant villains in and then dance around their charred lairs.
Stock up on versatile, hedonistic, cyberpunk apparel at their website, or check out Crisiswear on Etsy.
MedTech Dress by Crisiswear
Kensen by Crisiswear
Vigilante vest by Crisiswear
Solo Leg Holster by Crisiswear