Taste the Justice of the Steampunk!

Posted by on October 2nd,2008

Lobster Johnson

Mike Mignola’s Hellboy stories have always had healthy doses of Steampunk. With Iron Prometheus, the first Lobster Johnson collection, the Hellboy world has taken another stride into the world of wonderfully clunky mad science which we all love.

Before we get into the new story, allow me to take a moment to go over some of the best Steampunk moments from previous stories:


Wake the Devil: A Nazi scientist with his head floating in a jar, an evil cyborg Nazi, and an artificial army in glass tanks.

Conqueror Worm: Even more Nazi superscience, with the Nazi head-in-a-jar scientist and a cyborg ape, and this time the artificial army in its tanks plays an evil bigger role.


Hollow Earth & Other Stories: Ancient Steampunk machines deep within the Earth. Also, a containment suit made to hold a man made of ectoplasm.

The Dead: Just look at the cover. Look at it!

The Black Flame: The Black Flame itself is a suit of Steampunk armor.

Garden of Souls: Whereas I tend to use the term “Steampunk” rather loosely, there is no doubt whatsoever that this story has genuine, Victorian Steampunk. To say more might ruin the story, but trust me: it’s cool.

Which brings us to Lobster Johnson: Iron Prometheus. Scroll back up and take a look at the guy in armor standing behind Lobster Johnson. See that guy? He can use that suit to throw lightning. Also, see that brain behind him? That brain is, in fact, in a jar.

The story takes place in 1937 in the New York area. Lobster Johnson is a pulp-era hero who fights gangsters and Nazi spies, bringing them the justice of the Lobster’s Claw. The story starts with Lobster Johnson saving Jim Sacks from a person who comes into Jim’s apartment and turns into an enormous, enraged ape. Jim Sacks, it turns out, is an assistant to a scientist who is developing a suit that allows its user to create electricity. Sacks currently has the suit, and there are people out there who want to take it from him.

Add to this a Siberian cult of murderers, a man who may just be the Devil, and of course Nazis, and you’ve got quite the story.

Is it perfect? Well, I have to complain because Mike Mignola isn’t drawing it. I know, Mignola has been very busy with other things and he doesn’t have the time to draw three ongoing comics (or one ongoing comic, apparently, but that’s another story), and Jason Armstrong does quite a good job. I’d just like to know why he has to draw every single firearm so large. Also, the story is not even close to being politically correct, but I suppose that’s just showing its pulp roots.

If you like comics, pulp stories, and Steampunk (well, of course you like Steampunk), you should check out Lobster Johnson: The Iron Prometheus, along with the other stories set in the Hellboy world.

One final note: As I mentioned earlier, I’m using the term “Steampunk” fairly loosely here. You may prefer “dieselpunk” for a lot of the science in these stories. Whatever your preferred terminology, it’s good stuff.