Steampunk Week

Steampunk Week: Recommended Watching/Playing/Reading…

During our last Steampunk Week, in our primer we boiled down our own essential Steampunk Reading List, limited to prose books only. But this time around, we’ve got our own recommendations for everything else – comics, movies, and games.

Comics, Manga & Graphic Novels:

The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen by Alan Moore

It doesn’t really get any more essential than Moore, does it?

Hellboy by Mike Mignola

Technically, it’s not really steampunk, but it’s got the aesthetics and trappings down pat. (Plus, I just love Hellboy. Who doesn’t love Hellboy!?)

Fullmetal Alchemist by Hiromu Arakawa

The manga is pretty damn awesome, as is the anime, and rumor is a live action film is in the works. Exciting!

Girl Genius by Phil Foglio and Kaja Foglio

Available on web and in print, Girl Genius is one of those comics that has a strong, loyal following. (We’re also reviewing the first five volumes later today, so stick around!)

Ignition City/FreakAngels/Captain Swing and the Electrical Pirates of Cindery Island by Warren Ellis

Warren Ellis is self-indulgently annoying or incredibly brilliant, depending on what you’re reading, but there’s no denying the guy has mad skills. These three have steampunkish flair and the aesthetic is right (even if they aren’t technically steampunk, by our own stringent definitions).

Iron West by Doug TenNapel

About an incompetent outlaw, mechanical men, and an evil train. Win.

2D Goggles by Sydney Padua

A webcomic following Ada Lovelace and Charles Babbage fighting crime. We’re only just starting to get into it (thanks to recommendations from you, dear readers!) – but it’s wicked good fun.

Film & TV:

Hellboy, Hellboy 2: The Golden Army, Hellboy: Blood and Iron/Sword of Storms

As aforementioned. Yeah, not really steampunk. But some of the elements are there. Who loves Hellboy? We do! We do!

Fullmetal Alchemist (anime)

As aforementioned. The anime, and full length anime movie, is just as winning as the manga.

Howl’s Moving Castle (anime)

Like everyone else on the planet, we love Hayao Miyazaki. Howl is one of Thea’s favorite films, period. Whimsical, beautifully animated, with top caliber vocal talent (Christian Bale, yo) – and, oh yeah, it’s steampunk. Real steampunk.

Castle in the Sky (anime)

Another Miyazaki. Howl, this film, and the next on this list are some of Thea’s personal favorite films (the other Miyazaki you MUST WATCH IMMEDIATELY – not steampunk though – is Spirited Away), and they all have a steampunk veneer. Sky pirates, airships…this is a classic.

NausicaΓ€ of the Valley of the Wind (anime)

More Miyazaki. Post-apocalyptic and environmentalist with a steampunkish aesthetic, NausicaΓ€ is another gem.

The Adventures of Baron Munchausen

A very clever, fun film (even if it’s not the best movie and takes a while to get going). And it’s young Uma Thurman!

Atlantis: The Lost Empire (animated movie)

Disney’s take on steampunk/sci-fi, and a movie I really enjoyed when I was younger (this and Disney’s Treasure Island are pretty fun, imaginative takes on animated SF). And I really like the animation – very different from what Disney was doing at the time.

Steamboy (anime)

If you’re looking for straight-up steampunk in the most traditional sense of the word, look no further. Steamboy, set in an alternate 19th century England dominated by steam technology, also features some strong vocal talent (hello, Patrick Stewart). It lacks the magic of Miyazaki’s films and doesn’t really go anywhere, but it’s still worth watching. Especially if you’re looking for honest steampunk.


While Gaiman’s novel isn’t really steampunk, the film adaptation takes some liberties and has some of the trappings. Most notably, the sky pirates in their lightning-capturing dirigible.


Final Fantasy VI

Classic, old school RPG that is actually SET in a steampunk world. Pretty self-explanatory!

Skies of Arcadia Legends

I still play this on my gamecube occasionally (this and my old metroid games). In a Verne-ian setting, Arcadia is an RPG that rocks. Airship combat. ‘Nuff said.

Bioshock/Bioshock 2

If you haven’t heard of Bioshock, you’ve been living under a rock. These games are AWESOME. Beautiful cinematic graphics and storyline, clever, and – oh yeah – totally steampunk in its aesthetic. Ok, it’s at its heart more of a Sci Fi Pulp Noir sort of deal, but the Verne-inspired, steampunk look of Big Daddy warrants a place on the list!

Phew. And that’s it from us and our list. Now, bring on your favorites (that we have inevitably missed)!

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  • Ryorin
    April 14, 2010 at 2:32 am

    Great list! I’ve read/watched/own (and love) about half of it and I’ll definitely check out the other half!

  • Moonsanity (Brenda H.)
    April 14, 2010 at 3:44 am

    My 16 year old looked this over with me, and wanted me to tell you that Skies of Arcadia Legends is REALLY hard to find, but he played it at a friends house and you are correct. You were waiting for a teens approval weren’t you πŸ™„ He loves your steampunk stuff too. I really need to pick up some of these graphic novels or at least grab them from the library. I’m WAY behind on getting into these.

  • illukar
    April 14, 2010 at 4:57 am

    Epic list. I seem to be more of a steampunk fan than I realised because I’ve read a fair chunk of these.

    Though, I think the definition of steampunk is possibly a bit different from person to person. I certainly wouldn’t called Miyazaki’s work steampunk, for all that there’s steam, intricate machinery in an ‘old-fashioned’ setting, and a mass of dirigibles and other airships. Hard to say why – it just seems to be the wrong word. A different attitude perhaps?

  • Estara
    April 14, 2010 at 6:10 am

    Yay for 2D Goggles inclusion!

    Okay, you put down the challenge *rolls sleeves up*

    – the anime that Disney’s Atlantis ripped off – Nadia Secret of Blue Water/ Fushigi no Umi no Nadia (true blue steampunk with Captain Nemo, some Atlantis and some Aliens included)

    – another anime influenced by Nadia is Secret of Cerulean Sand or Patapata Hikousen no Bouken, based on two Jules Verne novels

    – if we’re talking about Steampunk Aesthetic, Gonzo’s Last Exile is a flying ship extragavanza

    – And while we’re gushing about Ron Perlman, what about the underground scenes in Beauty and the Beast? They have lots of steampunk/medieval feel
    Beautiful AMV about their love:

  • Cassie
    April 14, 2010 at 6:44 am

    I’ve never understood people’s love and adoration for Howl’s Moving Castle. I guess I just didn’t get it.

    That movie really drives me nuts, with a nagging heroine (who’s life really wasn’t that bad to begin with) and a hero who acted like he was five years old. He’s supposed to be all powerful, amazing, etc., but what he really needed was not blind devotion from his new “housekeeper,” but a friend to slap him upside the head and tell him he’s a whiny moron.

    Phew. Sorry. I don’t mean to offend those that love this movie. I just don’t get it, and apparently I had a rant to get off my chest!

  • Anonymous
    April 14, 2010 at 10:34 am

    I love Skies of Arcadia! I wish I still had my old gamecube just so that I could play that game. I was so excited to see that it made your list, because it’s one of the first things I always think of when looking at steampunk.

    I had never really thought of Fullmetal Alchemist as steampunk before, but now that you mention it I think you guys are right. Steampunk aside, I’d be interested in knowing what your favorite anime and manga are. You’ve focused on graphic novels and comics before, why not do a manga week?

  • Adrienne
    April 14, 2010 at 12:53 pm

    Would the Time Machine Count?

    Who loves Hellboy! We do We do!! πŸ˜†

  • Kris
    April 14, 2010 at 3:57 pm

    Studio Ghibli, how I heart thee. :mrgreen:

    I’m adding my recommendation of Fullmetal Alchemist to yours. I automatically think of this series whenever the topic of steampunk comes up. It is awesome.

    Manga and anime are tops for steampunk. Off the top of my head, others would probably be Chrono Crusade and the epic Last Exile.

  • Erika (Jawas Read, Too)
    April 14, 2010 at 5:01 pm

    CAPTAIN SWING AND THE ELECTRICAL PIRATES! I just noticed this comic over Easter at WonderCon, a local comic convention in San Francisco. πŸ™‚

    As a matter of fact, the cover of one of the issues intrigued me because it looked so steampunk-y. πŸ™‚

  • Roxy
    April 14, 2010 at 6:31 pm

    I love Miyazaki! I showed my husband your post since we’re both fans and now he’s put on Howl’s Moving Castle (my favorite!)

    Have you seen his newest, Ponyo? Great movie!

    Awesome list, by the way.

  • Ryorin
    April 14, 2010 at 8:47 pm

    Hmm… now I’m wondering if the SNES game Chrono Trigger would be considered steampunk as well…

    …And on a slightly more related note: the Howl’s Moving Castle Miyazaki film is typically considered steampunk, but what about the Diana Wynn Jones book that it’s based on? I haven’t reread it in a while, but it’s never really seemed like steampunk to me.

  • illukar
    April 15, 2010 at 4:40 am

    Howl’s Moving Castle (the novel) most definitely isn’t steampunk. Miyazaki’s adaptions takes on his particular flying ships and machinery obsession, and that’s not in the novels at all.

  • Ryorin
    April 15, 2010 at 10:18 am

    Yeah, that’s about what I thought. Miyazaki does love designing machinery, doesn’t he?


  • Giada M
    April 21, 2010 at 1:38 am

    Great list! I love Hayao Miyazaki! *_* I’ve heard about Steamboy but not yet read it.

  • stray
    December 31, 2010 at 3:12 am

    Lovely list! Om my personal list I would also add the anime Last Exile.

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