There’s a very good chance that if you don’t currently know who Lady Mechanika is, you soon will. The steampunk hero of one of Aspen Comics’ most intriguing new series is set to re-enter the comic world’s radar this month with the release of Lady Mechanika issue 2, and fans couldn’t be happier.

“We had no idea this character was going to be quite as popular as she has become within the steampunk culture,” says Aspen editor in chief Vince Hernandez. “It’s great, though — we keep seeing more and more people dressed like her at the bigger events like WonderCon.”

For those who aren’t familiar with steampunk, it’s a sub-genre of science fiction that is typically set in an industrial, steam-powered, Victorian-era world. Imagine Jules Verne’s Nautilus submarine being the design standard for all vehicles, weapons and fashion and you’ll have a pretty good starting point for the look and feel of this incredibly imaginative world.

“It’s one of those genres that didn’t really have a (comic book) title to hang its hat on,” Hernandez continues. “We hear from fans all the time, telling us how much they love it.”

Mechanika‘s Joe Benitez operates as a triple threat for the title, serving as creator, writer and illustrator on the series. Peter Steigerwald provides his always amazing skills as a colorist. If the story itself weren’t so intriguing and well-written, the books would be worth purchasing for the visuals alone. When Benitez flips his creative switch, he’s among the best in the comics world when it comes to pure illustration talent.

Hernandez agrees. “Joe’s always been on the cusp of being an absolute superstar. He’s a rarity in this industry in that his storytelling talent is on par with his art abilities.”

“When he has a vision, it’s best to just stand back and let him do his thing.”

Lady Mechanika follows the story of a mysterious yet beautiful part-human, part-mechanical private investigator who deals with supernatural and occult events, while attempting to solve the mystery of her own origin. A steampunk London provides the stage, with an array of steam-powered machines and metal-heavy weaponry and gadgets filling in the industrialized details.

With the 2010 debut of issues 0 and 1, fans have been clamoring for a Lady Mechanika issue 2 for more than five months. Hernandez acknowledges that a few personal issues got in the way of Benitez putting out the next issue in a more timely manner, but insists the quality of issue 2 is equal to or better than its forerunners. “I’d rather there be a slight delay than put out an inferior product,” says Hernandez.

“We originally planned on a six-issue story arc,” Hernandez reveals, “but I’d be comfortable saying that we now plan on doing a lot more than that, depending on what Joe wants to do.”

Mechanika was spotlighted on the cover of Aspen’s annual Free Comic Book Day offering, Worlds of Aspen: 2011. In addition to Benitez’s über-cool creation, Hernandez is quick to point out that there are additional titles that Aspen is equally excited about coming up later in 2011.

Two of the company’s most popular series to date, Fathom and Soulfire, will continue with volumes four and three, respectively. The company will also unveil new additions to its Executive Assistant series and has announced new titles, Broken Pieces and Haunted City.

Hernandez is the creative force behind his own recently launched series that will see new issues released later this year, as well. Charismagic follows the story of a magician who gets “vanquished to a weird other-world,” says Hernandez. “It’s kind of a self-indulgent project for me,” the creator admits. “I throw everything that I think is cool into it. We got great feedback on issue 1.”

In addition to some of the familiar names at work on Aspen titles, the company also continues to attract industry luminaries, such as writer Marc Andreyko, who will be working on an issue of Executive Assistant to be released this August.

Hernandez concedes that the company has been more well-known for its art in the past, but is excited at the prospect of collaborating with writers like Andreyko in order to add some storytelling firepower. “We’ve reached a point where we’re now really starting to get recognized for the quality of the stories that we’re creating.”

“We don’t just want to put out a huge number of titles that don’t meet our standards,” Hernandez says. “There are so few of us working at Aspen, that we just don’t have enough people to put out a huge amount of titles. You’re judged by the quality of the titles you put out, and I think we do a great job of making sure that our titles are up to the standards that we’ve set forth for ourselves.”

With Lady Mechanika leading the way in 2011, Aspen titles, with their increasing focus on high-quality storytelling,are sure to be on the must-have list for many comic book fans in the months to come.

From Aspen Comics


  1. AKA says:

    Ummm…what’s the release date for LM, then?

  2. Lord Shaper says:

    Issue 0 and 1 are already out and if I remember correctly issue 2 is due this month