For the next two week wunderkind Tim Hart takes the controls of the blog and tells us how his epic steampunk tale Victoriana came about.
WHAT’S IN A NAME?
Names are important. A name can tell you much about a person. “Mourndak the Destroyer” is unlikely to be a primary school teaching assistant.
So when it came to naming the Bast siblings I had to have a bit of fun. For years the industry has played with alliterative names like “Peter Parker” or “Mickey Mouse” but I wanted something that sounded more striking. Originally they were going to be the “Isis” children, and someone or other (more likely Vicky) pointed out the Egyptian Goddess of Cats was Bast. So one name change later I knew I had the best choice of name.
So to the siblings:
Maggs: (Magdalene) This was a clear reference to the Biblical figure in the New Testament. Mary Magdalene was an early follower of Christ. This element would foreshadow her later nature and position within the group as the element of Soul. Inevitably her name being slightly complicated to pronounce it would be shortened at the orphanage for ease and thus an instant personality was born. I did consider “Maggie” but dismissed it early on.
Harmony was an ironic name choice, given the force of her nature. “Harm” would be her nickname from the Mortal Accademy. I didn’t need too much else, she personifies Body
Julius is an amalgam of people I have met during my life that I didn’t like. This sounds harsh but I wanted to make Julius unlikeable. Knowing my luck, he’ll be the favourite of all the ladies who read Victoriana. To a degree he channels Julius Ceaser, the Roman emperor. Also it’s my nod to the great comedian Groucho Marx, as Julius is his real name. Also “Jules” would be his nickname from his childhood that he hates for its familiarity. Julius personifies the darkside that is hidden in each of us.
Now Alice, you see, was the tricky one. I had thought of many different names but none seemed to fit until I hit upon Alice, which is a good, solid name that is unlikely to be shortened or abbreviated. She is the personification of Mind – and what a mind she has! She also appears to be the most popular character at the moment.Clothes make a man, or cat-person in the case here.
The designs for the Bast sibling’s clothes were based on rough ideas of mine and then visualised by Saskia. The only one who has gone through any kind of major modification was Maggs, she was first in the designs that Saskia sent me. Her look was to be between a Nuns' habit and a Governesses dress. This would convey a divine and caring personality. The George version only needed some redone sleeves and she was ready to go, the avatar of clerical efficiency.
Harmony was practically all Saskia's work, my only specifications were 'hair in three braids' and 'armoured Corset' (the main stay of Steampunk culture next to goggles). Harm in my head had a piratical flair about her. The armoured corset was a subtle hint to her nature with a large dose of glamour. Beyond that it was all Saskia. In the transition to George style the only modification of was the 'Skort' that was introduced. This fitted in perfectly with the eccentric nature of the Steampunk Genre. At any given meeting of the genre, there will always be very different dress styles but easily designated as 'Steampunk'. The goggles are a big giveaway you see.
Alice was the easiest to do, Victorian scientist, but the actual uniform is quite mannish as this is the era where women aren't so equal. So Alice is the Tomboy of the group and her eccentric nature is shown through her constant wearing of mismatched boots and the glasses. (Actually clear lensed, she has no myopia).
Julius (not yet seen) prompted a question from George, 'What kind of Ninja? Naruto? or proper ones'? They are proper ones so you shall fear not! Some days Anime has a lot to answer for. I look forward to seeing Asian Steampunk element in the comic. Many years ago at primary school I saw a play where the main focus was a mechanical nightingale. If that isn't Steampunk, I don't know what is. Julius dresses like a classic ninja. Nuff said.