Steampunk Nutcracker Retelling Coming in 2022 | The Mary Sue
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This Steampunk Nutcracker Retelling Has Me Humming Christmas Songs in August

Young white girl (Clara) within a big coat and big voluminous hair looking off in a sky of clouds, gears, and snowflakes. Image: Last Ember Press.

Despite seeing the ballet once on an elementary school trip, all my core memories of the epic Christmas adventure of The Nutcracker and the Mouse King by E. T. A. Hoffmann are solidified with the 2001 straight-to-home film Barbie in the Nutcracker. Due to all the performance adaptions and remixes, most people’s association with the story is not the 1816 original. So when I saw this steampunk retelling in graphic novel form, my interest was piqued. Then, I saw the agile movements of the rats on the page and knew this was going to be a fun ride. The basic synopsis reads:

A Steampunk Carol tells the story of little Caitlin Ward and her bizarre encounter with the tin soldiers and the terrible seven-headed Mouse King, which guides her to some important discoveries about her mother and her fate.  

Interior art showing solider battle rat warriors. Created by Lorenza Pigliamosche. Image: Last Ember Press.

A Steampunk Carol was written by Luca Frigerio, illustrated by Lorenza Pigliamosche, and lettered by Toben Racicot. The main cover was created by the interior artist Pigliamosche with limited-editions variants by artists Marco Defillo (Curiouser, Pneumatic Cases) and Emily Pearson (The Wilds, Stranger Things). This campaign is not the first Kickstarter run by Last Ember Press. Co-founders Brant and Lisa Fowler have completed several projects through crowdfunding support, and there’s even an option to add on a selection of other titles from Last Ember Press. Several of these titles feature some of the same creatives on A Steampunk Carol like Defillo.

What’s great about this comic is that it appears already complete. You can read the first 16 pages on their Kickstarter. That’s part of the reason the goal is only $16,000 despite the team size. Most of the money raised is going to printing and end-of-production costs. Shipping is set to begin in November, so if you want to buy a copy as a gift for the holidays, this is sure to be a unique graphic novel and must-add edition to any big Nutcracker fan.

Caitlin War along side a rat, and two solider on the cover created by Lorenza Pigliamosche. Image: Last Ember Press.

(all images: Last Ember Press.)

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(she/her) Award-winning digital artist and blogger with an interest in art, politics, identity, and history—especially when they all come together. This Texan balances book-buying blurs with liberal Libby use.