Tag Archive: Legenderry: A Steampunk Adventure


Dynamite Comics announced a return this winter of the world introduced by Bill Willingham in his 2013 steampunk series Legenderry: A Steampunk Adventure.  Legenderry: Red Sonja will follow his otherworldly twist on the character where we last saw her, living the pirate’s life on her ship The Nautilus.  Marc Andreyko has been tapped to write the series.  The Eisner and Harvey Award winner has worked on series including Manhunter, Batman ’66 Meets Wonder Woman ’77, and Wolverine vs Deadpool.  Igor Lima (Green Lantern Corps) will serve as artist on the series.

Legenderry is the steampunk–or more accurately “steam noir”–series featuring the ultimate mash-up: Red Sonja joined with Six Thousand Dollar Man Steve Austin, Zorro, Vampirella, the Green Hornet and Kato, Captain Victory, Silver Star, and the Phantom, all to face off in a final showdown with Ming the Merciless, Queen Flor Zora, Kulan Gath, Lydia Valcallan, General Tara, and Doctor Moreau.  It’s every bit as fun as it sounds, and could only happen at Dynamite Comics, which carries the licenses to so many classic titles.

The best character development in the series was that of Red Sonja, who initially had spells cast on her leaving her to think she was actually the mild and citified Magna Spadarossa, Sonja’s sister.  By the end of the original series her primitive side broke through and she became the savage we’re all familiar with, with a steam noir edge.  Designer Johnny Desjardins and artist Sergio Fernandez Davila created a visually stunning setting, and Willingham’s fun take on the characters made Legenderry one of the best steampunk stories to enter the comic book medium.

Here is some preview art for the new Legenderry: Red Sonja series, courtesy of Dynamite:

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We’ve seen some celebrities turn to the unlikely medium of comic books to tell their stories recently.  First, we saw Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Darryl McDaniels turn to comic books to tell his own story under the DMC label.  Then Congressman John Lewis wrote a graphic novel about the civil rights movement called March–winning countless awards this year.  Now basketball legend and activist Kareem Abdul-Jabbar has adapted Arthur Conan Doyle’s Mycroft Holmes into the next best steampunk comic book series.

Mycroft Holmes and the Apocalypse Handbook, co-created with writer Raymond Obstfeld, artist Joshua Cassara, colorist Luis Guerrero, and lettered by Simon Bowland, is the ultimate mash-up of 19th century science fiction and fantasy motifs.  Sherlock’s smarter brother has been kidnapped by Queen Victoria, tasked with deciphering a building full of broken doomsday machines capable of doing the unthinkable.  Think Warehouse 13, if a suave Brit (think James Bond), with a quirky analytical mind (think Doctor Who) is plunged into a world-ending event and an impossible task to solve.

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Mycroft Holmes reads like Bill Willingham’s Legenderry–A Steampunk Adventure and Alan Moore’s The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, only with five issues to speed through the story the action is quick, the dialogue is brief, and the banter is witty and fun.  Abdul-Jabbar, who became a fan of reading Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes stories early in his NDA career, grew to become a connoisseur of 19th century fiction including Holmes and his infamous brother, enough to write the novel Mycroft Holmes–A Novel with screenwriter Anna Waterhouse, published last year.   Mycroft Holmes and the Apocalypse Handbook takes Mycroft on a parallel-world adventure from the Mycroft of Abdul-Jabbar’s novel.

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Legenderry trade edition

Compiling the seven-issue mini-series from Dynamite Comics written by notable Fables writer Bill Willingham, Legenderry gets the trade paperback treatment this week as it is released nationwide.  Legenderry is the steampunk–or more accurately “steam noir”–series featuring the ultimate mash-up: Red Sonja joins with Six Thousand Dollar Man Steve Austin, Zorro, Vampirella, the Green Hornet and Kato, Captain Victory, Silver Star, and the Phantom, all to face off in a final showdown with Ming the Merciless, Queen Flor Zora, Kulan Gath, Lydia Valcallan, General Tara, and Doctor Moreau.

It’s as fun as it sounds, and could only happen at Dynamite Comics, which carries the licenses to so many classic titles.  And it’s just the first of several series with these classic characters in their newest and most creative incarnations–a “what if” where they all rub elbows in the 19th century instead of the 1930s to 1970s.

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As reported here earlier this year at borg.com, Bill Willingham’s successful steampunk/steampulp series is spawning three new series coming in February.  Starring Vampirella, Red Sonja, and the team of Green Hornet and Kato–as they all were re-envisioned for the Legenderry universe, these series follow the characters after the events in the seven-issue mini-series that wrapped this summer from Dynamite Comics.

We now have the images of the three main covers for each title, shown above and below.  Rarer variants will feature original art black and white versions of some of these covers.

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The first to be released is writer David Avallone and artist David Cabrera’s Legenderry: Vampirella.  Coming February 4, 2015, the publisher has describes the series as:

A return to Bill Willingham’s fantastical steampulp world of LEGENDERRY! Vampirella comes home from the epic battle in The Principality to find that her Scarlet Club has been closed, and powerful forces within The Big City are conspiring to destroy her… but they quickly learn they’ve pissed off the wrong immortal vampire.

February 11, 2015, Dynamite releases writer Marc Andreyko and artist Aneke’s Legenderry: Red Sonja.

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Legenderry Red Sonja Davila cover   Legenderry Vampirella Davila cover

Bill Willingham’s Legenderry: A Steampunk Adventure was one of this year’s best ideas, a combination of steampunk, superhero mash-up, and just plain great retro fun.  Legenderry saw a parallel universe including the creation of Steve Austin–the Six Thousand Dollar Man, and alternate versions of Flash Gordon, the Green Hornet and Kato, Vampirella, the Phantom, and Red Sonja, among others.  It was the ultimate new look at familiar characters that Dynamite holds the licensing rights to today.

We’re hoping for a future addition of Miss Fury to this steam-powered world, and to hear about a Legenderry: A Steampunk Adventure trade edition to collect the seven-issue limited series.  Until then Dynamite is branching out beyond Willingham’s story, focusing on three of the characters: Red Sonja, Vampirella, and Green Hornet, each to have their own new series.

Legenderry Red Sonja Poulat cover   Legenderry Vampirella Poulat cover

David Avallone will write the Legenderry: Vampirella series, featuring Madam Pendragon and her path to become Vampirella.  Daryl Gregory (Planet of the Apes) will write the Legenderry: Green Hornet story featuring Hornet and Kato in a Gangs of New York type setting.

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We at borg.com have been pretty excited about Bill Willingham and Sergio Fernandez Davila’s new monthly Legenderry: A Steampunk Adventure.  So much so that our resident author and frequent TV and movie reviewer Elizabeth C. Bunce cosplayed one of the characters at Planet Comicon last week (and Willingham said yesterday on Twitter it may be the first time anyone cosplayed one of his non-Fables characters!).  Check out our earlier review of Issues #1 and #2 of the series here.  Call it steampunk, steam-noir, or as Willingham prefers “steampulp,” the new series is moving full steam ahead with the Dynamite Comics arsenal of licensed characters from the past and telling their story in a fun, new way.  And what’s more exciting than taking the Bionic Man in a new direction?

Last month we sneaked a peek at future marketing blurbs and knew this was coming, but the origin story of Major Steve Austin and scientist pal Oscar Goldman was even more intriguing than we could have hoped for.  The opening image of Steve Austin in a wheel chair–the result of some experimental flying gone wrong and an “uncooperative autogyro”–is just plain inspired.

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Austin’s first mission with his $6,000 worth of prosthetics comes about when Captain Victory’s dirigible encounters a disaster in-flight.  Austin and Goldman’s chummy banter is immediately believable and true to their mirror universe 1970s incarnation.

The Six Thousand Dollar Man’s design, both in this month’s Legenderry Issue #3, and the formal look on the cover, has set up a gentlemanly steampunk hero whose exploits, whatever they come to be, could take on the best of the genre–if given a chance.

After the break, check out this preview of Legenderry, Issue #3, from Dynamite Comics, featuring the first appearance of The Six Thousand Dollar Man:

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You’d need to be paying close attention or you might have missed that Dynamite’s new steampunk series Legenderry: A Steampunk Adventure is a steampunk genre story about Britt Reid, the classic publishing magnate who takes on the disguise of the Green Hornet, and his tryst with Vampirella, here a social butterfly and owner of the Scarlet Club.  The covers and promos don’t shout either Vampirella or the Green Hornet.

Immediately you’re taken to a place unfamiliar–a mixture of times and places.  A mysterious woman is being accosted by masked street thugs and she escapes into the steampunk speakeasy, as Reid and Vampirella are engaged in a clever Benedick and Beatrice-esque lover’s quarrel.  Vampirella doesn’t look like any prior version of Vampirella–she’s a classic beauty and not a bit vampish.  The appropriate geared and copper weapons are drawn by the men on hand, but there is no need.  Vampirella doesn’t need a man to defend her or anyone in her own pub as she cuts them to pieces. The police arrive and learn nothing, as Vampirella and Reid begin this detective story, all in the first issue of the monthly series.

Legenderry exclusive cover

Fables creator Bill Willingham serves up an evocative tale complete with a radio personality named Felix Avalon who offers up word-on-the-street celebrity gossip of the 1920s to 1940s variety via listeners’ “wireless”–the old-time radios.  You can almost hear that drone of the snappy and crackling narrator voice from the days of classic radio plays.  Although Willingham offers up some meaty dialogue and is expert in a classic dialect, it is artist Sergio Fernandez Davila and character costume designer Johnny Desjardins who bear the bulk of delivering all the steampunk vibe, with settings full of geared-up fixtures and equally geared-up costumes and props.

Could this be Steampunk Noir?  It’s hard to place this in an era of the 19th century or the 1920s, 1930s or 1940s. There’s a bit of Casablanca to this story, too, with dialogue such as “it wasn’t anyone else’s doorstep you landed on. It was mine.”  It’s probably a blend of all of the above eras, a time and place similar to that unplaceable setting of the realm of fairy tales Willingham is so used to writing in.  It is definitely fun imagery to see Kato driving the Green Hornet in a horse carriage instead of his famous 1960s roadster.

Six Thousand Dollar Man

Yep, it’s the Six Thousand Dollar Man.

It’s being planned for this series to encounter other classic licensed characters in Dynamite Comics’ arsenal, including Red Sonja and The Phantom.  Issue #3 is coming to comic book stores next month—Will Willingham and Davila give us their take on a steampunk Bionic Man?  Look out in Issue #3 for the premier of the Six Thousand Dollar Man.

Grab your copies of Issues #1 and #2 of Legenderry: A Steampunk Adventure now, at comic book stores everywhere.

C.J. Bunce
Editor
borg.com