STEAMPUNK GOLDILOCKS #1 (ANTARCTIC PRESS) Story and Art by Rod Espinosa (reprint from October 2014) www.antarctic-press.com
STEAMPUNK GOLDILOCKS is a clever and engaging re-imagining of the Goldilocks and the Three Bears fairy tale complete with archaic gadgets and other trappings of the steampunk mythos. In this version, Goldilocks partners with Miss Muffett to undertake secretive missions for the Dark Queen. They are expert thieves and are assigned to retrieve a “golden bear” artifact from a secure bunker guarded by a family of ursiforms (armored bears that resemble a cross between Iron Man and Predator). Traveling in a huge tank that resembles a Civil War era Ironclad, the two young schemers penetrate the security system. Goldilocks gets inside, and following the plot outline of the fairy tale, she also discovers the porridge, drinks, chairs and beds and tries them out. This version has an ending that won’t disturb any younger readers.
COVER APPEAL: As much as I like this cover, I wonder if a young person would assume this was a simple fairy tale comic and not a re-interpretation. If not for the word “steampunk” above the title, and certain aspects of Goldilocks’ attire (goggles pushed back on forehead, brass buttons on corset, extra buckles and fingerless gloves) this could easily be confused for a simple re-telling of the classic fairy tale. 2 Points.
STORY: Espinosa does a good job of establishing the fairy tale trappings of this fantasy world before he drops in the steampunk effects. That helps to make it more palatable. He also portrays Goldilocks and Miss Muffett as sweet innocents (hardly, but we don’t find that out until the story gets moving) and somewhat silly. They are definitely food-motivated and love sweets. This makes them more appealing. You may find yourself rooting for them to complete the mission. 3 Points.
ART: The air of innocence and silliness that makes this book so appealing is reinforced by the way that Espinosa draws these characters and details their facial expressions. They are buxom but cute, and still have their baby fat. While this should gain the attention of young boys in similar fashion to what Zenoscope does so well with their versions of Grimm Fairy Tales, the art never pushes the boundaries between acceptable young reader material and more mature offerings. Tastefully done. Backgrounds and props show a good eye for detail. This has a whimsical fairy tale look to everything. 3 points.
YOUTH APPEAL: This ought to hook the right audience, as well as anyone who enjoys these types of stories. 2 points.
NEW READER APPEAL: It’s not hard at all to jump into this story and follow along without need of any background material. 3 points.
PROMOTIONAL CONSIDERATIONS: There is no filler here, just 22 pages of solid story. Antarctic Press at least puts their web address on the credits page. The cover logo also notes their 30th year of publication. It would have been better to include some ad pages featuring their other types of books. 1 point.
BONUS POINTS: WOULD I PERSONALLY RECOMMEND THIS BOOK? Yes. I liked this, even though the material is very familiar. In fact, I read my copy four times. Yes to younger readers and all fans of fairy tales. 2 points.
FINAL RANKING FOR STEAMPUNK GOLDILOCKS: 16 HIGHLY RECOMMENDED