Chopping Block Review: John Henry The Steam Age SDCC Preview Book


Review by Nolan P. Smith- Pastrami Nation

Writer: Dwayne Harris

Artist: Dwayne Harris

Publisher: Arcana Comics


The genre of steampunk is something that has exploded in popularity as of late. The emphasis on the power of steam, the goggles, the gears and the creativity: it’s one very cool and exciting part of pop culture that many are taking notice of. So, what happens when you take the aspects of Steampunk and combine it with one of the timeless tales in folklore: the story of John Henry. That’s what this preview book shows us a glimpse of. So, does it hit its mark?

Story: The story is pretty straightforward: we all know the story of John Henry and his showdown with the steam hammer, as they became the ultimate vision of man versus machine. Henry won, but died shortly after, as the story goes. That’s where this book takes place. Henry didn’t die, he fell into a coma and woke up to the worst possible nightmare to the man who beat the machine: the world is now overthrown by mechanical terrors. Dwayne Harris crafts an excellent beginning to what is bound to be on the stand out hits of the year.

Art: Harris pulls double duty as he both writes and illustrates this Steampunk tale. Harris, being a classically trained artist, really makes the book have a feel all its own. His characters are minimally detailed, which brings similarities to Mike Mignola’s work, but his backdrops scream of detail. His buildings, the machines, they all have so many intricate lines, its very impressive.

Overall: I am a huge fan of the Steampunk genre, so this book was a must buy from me at this year’s San Diego Comic Con. I had never purchased anything from Arcana, and this year I got two books, and both really impressed me. John Henry The Steam Age starts this November, and if the preview book is any indication of what’s in store, I am fully on board. Head over to the Arcana website to check out a preview of the book.  Highly Recommended, I give John Henry The Steam Age Preview Book a **** out of 5.

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