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April 6, 2013

Webcomic of the Month! April: Boston Metaphysical Society

Welcome back to WebComic of the Month! This time around we take a look at a series that goes back to the Victorian era for some steampunk goodness. The Boston Metaphysical Society is the story of a former Pinkerton detective and his new Spirit Photographer dealing with the world of the strange and supernatural. Written and created by Madeline Holly-Rosing with art by Emily Hu, coloring by Fahriza Kamputra and Gloria Caeli, with letters by Troy Peteri, the series has a style that definitely feels like you’re looking at old photos come to life. Creator Madeline Holly-Rosing was able to talk about the series with me, and I’ve got it all here for you, so enjoy and check out that comic!

This is the second page and there's some awesome trick arrows being used.

ComicAttack: Where did you get the idea for the Boston Metaphysical Society?

Madeline Holly-Rosing: It was a perfect storm of ideas. I had written a script called STARGAZER for the Sloan Fellowship while at the UCLA MFA Screenwriting program and I grew to really like the world. I love history and top that off with the fact that I was a huge X-FILES fan and I ended up marrying the worlds. The steampunk part came later. BMS was originally developed as a TV Pilot for a class and a classmate suggested I make it into a steampunk world. I didn’t really know what that was at the time, but after lots of reading and research I agreed with him and revamped it.

CA: The site says it’s a 6-part mini-series; is that definite or could you see extending the series?

MHR: This particular arc is only 6 issues long. However, I do have additional arcs mapped out for our heroes.

The Spirit Photographer seems to have a pretty cool friend.

CA: What inspired the idea of using a Spirit Photographer? I’ve read tons of supernatural fiction and not a lot of those folks show up; I’m glad you brought them forward.

MHR: Spirit photography was very popular during the late 1800’s so it made sense to incorporate that sort of common belief into the story. But in this case, make it real. One of things I try to do is to infuse a sense of the culture and belief systems during that time period into this alternate version of history. It helps to give it depth. You’ll see more of how Caitlin uses it in later issues.

These guys look familiar.

CA: You brought in B.E.T.H. as 4 characters in the series. Do you plan on bringing in any other well known people from the era? Say, Arthur Conan Doyle?

MHR: No, not at this time.

CA: How did you and the artists come together for this work?

MHR: I was introduced to Emily Hu through a mutual friend who I met in my sequential art class. It was quite good luck as I had been looking for an artist for nine months prior to that. Troy (my letterer) I met through Christina Strain when she graciously allowed me to share a bit of her table space at Image Expo. Troy took one look at the postcard and said he wanted to do it. Who was I to argue? The colorists (Gloria and Fahriza) come from Stellar Labs. Another friend (Dave Elliott – Atomeka and A1) arranged for that for me for which I’m forever grateful.

I am also a big fan of Granville Woods.

CA: Do you have a favorite character from the series?

MHR: I’m a big fan of Granville Woods. He actually existed in the same time period as the guys from B.E.T.H. Edison had stolen some of his patents (surprise, surprise) and Granville sued him and won. A pretty incredible feat for the time period.

CA: Is there a favorite Victorian era story or series you enjoy?

MHR: Sherlock Holmes with Robert Downey Jr. As well as RIPPER and a host of other BBC productions.

CA: Do you enjoy any other webcomics?

MHR: Definitely. Freak Angels, Next Town Over, The Fox Sister, Derelict…to name a few.

Magnet man! A man made of magnets! Look at it!

CA: If you could have any steampunk gadget, what would it be?

MHR: A steam powered Roomba.

CA: You’re about to go off and save the day; what dinosaur do you ride in on?

MHR: A stegosaurus. 🙂


Alright, that’s this month’s comic, folks! Go read it and follow these adventurers as they try to solve some mysteries! See you next month!

Alexander Bustos


One Comment

  1. It’s an awesome comic! Very atmospheric art and clever writing. I’m a big fan.

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