A Visit from the Boston Metaphysical Society – guest post by Madeleine Holly-Rosing
Steampunk! Comics! Need I say more?
I’m completely thrilled to have Madeleine Holly-Rosing, Writer/Creator of Boston Metaphysical Society Comic, visit my blog. Not only is it just plain cool, but I’ve had a long-standing love of comics, so this is like a bonus Christmas present for me. At their best, comics are the perfect marriage of two kinds of storytelling–visual and literary–and have the freedom to play with point of view in multi-layered ways. And, of course, they’re great entertainment–so check out the website, and don’t forget to comment on this post!
All comments on this blog will be entered into a draw for a book of your choice from the Baskerville Affair trilogy!
Remember, EVERY comment made on one of my guests’ blogs in December will be entered for a $50 Amazon gift certificate! This is the last of my December guest blogs, so this is your LAST CHANCE to get in on this draw!
And now I turn the floor over to Madeleine . . .
That was the word Alex Diaz blurted out to me as he hopped over the sofa outside the film and TV production office in Melnitz Hall at UCLA. I simply stared at him as he repeated that word again – “steampunk.”
Little did I know that day and that word would change my life.
We were classmates in a TV Development class and he was a huge fan of a TV Pilot I was developing called BOSTON METAPHYSICAL SOCIETY, a supernatural procedural set in late 1800’s Boston. The story was a marriage of my love of THE X-FILES and a historically based feature script I had written called STARGAZER for the Sloan Fellowship. I had heard the term steampunk before, but did not know much else. That brief conversation set in motion a series of events which would lead me to a place I had never been before – Steampunk Geekdom.
I had grown up reading science fiction, fantasy and tons of historical military fiction. My older brother loves superhero comics, but comics had never interested me, at least not superhero comics. (By the way, he probably has the largest and highest graded DAREDEVIL collection in the country if not the world. I kid you not.) Unfortunately, he didn’t bother to mention anything about indie comics. Grrr…brothers. But I digress….
I set about reading everything I could about steampunk and soon decided that it was the genre I had been waiting for all my life. All the things I love were there: science fiction, history, tech stuff. So I redeveloped the story into an alternate history of Boston during the late 1800’s. The story resonated with everything I liked to read: a strong female character, class struggles, a lead character who is torn between doing what is right and doing what he wants. Using some of the leading historical characters of the time (Bell, Edison, Tesla, and Houdini), I was able to bring a sense of place to the world. It took a lot of time and a lot of research, but bringing this story to life became an obsession.
For those not familiar with story, it’s about an ex-Pinkerton detective and his spirit photographer partner who battle supernatural forces in late 1800’s Boston. Think “Before Mulder and Scully, there was Hunter and O’Sullivan.”
Not long after I finished writing another episode of the show a few people I trust and respect suggested I turn the pilot into a comic. (Yes, there are more Boston Metaphysical stories out there.) Sure, I said. I can do that. Who knew it would take even more time than being my dog’s personal assistant? (Which I was, but that’s another story.)
To help me understand steampunk more, I attended my first ever steampunk convention – The Gaslight Gathering in San Diego. Boy was that fun. The costumes were amazing and the creativity was astonishing. I loved the dioramas, the steam driven mechanicals, the workshops on Victorian hair design, costuming and even metal working. Imagination ran at full steam here. (Pun intended.)
To prepare for this event, I did what any good steampunker would do and visited various thrift stores and second hand costume shops. Living in Los Angeles, I was able to frequent a number of the stores that obtain wardrobe from film and TV. I came up with a cool vest, a hat and some jewelry. I then plundered my old jewelry box for accessories and found an old watch with no hands, my dagger earrings and my copper owl. I managed to attach the old watch to my hat, add a plain white blouse, some black jeans and I was ready to go. Being on a budget, I needed to keep it simple. Since then, I’ve changed out hats, added goggles and some other pins to my basic wardrobe. Recently, I’ve also pulled together a western steampunk costume. For special occasions I have two corsets (black and hunter green) which I mix and match with other things. I am told all steampunk outfits are a work in progress.
My husband has even started to become more involved. Being an engineer, he’s fascinated with any machine that is steam driven. He’s been doing more and more research and is pretty keen on building a working Tesla lab that I can display (and maybe sell) at conventions. Time permitting he should be able to create something pretty awesome.
Since Gaslight Gathering I’ve attended numerous other steampunk events and I learn something new every time. But the thing which sticks with me the most is the generous nature of the community and the fact that I’ve
been welcomed wherever I went. Thank you, guys. You’re the best.
Madeleine Holly-Rosing is the writer/creator of the steampunk webcomic Boston Metaphysical Society.
Also a TV and feature film writer, Madeleine holds an MFA in Screenwriting from UCLA where she won numerous awards as well as the Sloan Fellowship which requires integrating science and technology themes into a script. Madeleine has just completed her first novel, a middle-grade fantasy, and has published a number of short stories and novellas based on the BOSTON METAPHYSICAL SOCIETY universe which are available on Kindle, Nook and Smashwords. Her short story, THE CLOCKWORK MAN was published in eSteampunk magazine (March 2013) and THE WAY HOME was published in an A1/Atomeka/Titan Comics anthology in November 2013 along with three special illustrations by Emily Hu. Formerly a nationally ranked epee fencer, she has competed nationally and internationally. She is an avid reader of science fiction, steampunk, fantasy and historical military fiction.
For more information on the webcomic, the novellas and the upcoming Kickstarter in January 2014, please visit the website at Boston Metaphysical Society.