Man, you know everyone on earth gets their fifteen minutes of fame when even lowly cartoonists get interviews. My Deep Thoughts on steampunk and the universe, over at Tor.com!
I make one extremely contraversial statement in that interview that is bound to set off a firestorm. That is: the fashion of the 1830s is hideous. Here at 2dgoggles we pride ourselves on our strict historical accuracy on all points save one. And on that one point, I feel myself entirely justified. There is just no way I’m going to draw clothes like these:
As you can see from the following chart, the comic unfortunately coincides with the absolute nadir of western fashion in the last 500 years.. what are the odds! Babbage, seriously, you’re a statistician– what are the odds??! Ghastly proportions, nasty pointless detail, huge lapels.. I swear to god, it wants only polyester.
Further proof: spot the point at which fashion FALLS OFF A CLIFF (Alfred Roller drawings courtesy of Wikimedia):
I’m doing what I can to keep the clothes bearable. This means going for a generic-olde-fashioned-dress for lovelace, with a vague nod to the bizarre lozenge-shape bodices. No power on earth can save the men’s jackets of this period but anyone can look good in a poofy shirt and a waistcoat (can we bring those back? because they’re stylin’).
Mind you, much of the time I’m just going to have to throw everything out the window and put Lovelace in trousers, not only because she would totally have worn them if given half a chance, but as Marian Halcombe puts it in “The Woman in White”- “In my ordinary evening costume I took up the room of three men at least.”
Yeah, no kidding, Wilkie Collins. You try composing a comic panel with three women having a conversation in skirts five feet in diameter. By the way– it seems like everybody knew everybody else in Victorian England, but sadly there is only the slimmest of connections between Wilkie Collins and Ada Lovelace– his father met her once and described her as delightful and simple-minded. It’s a shame they never met as I have a feeling they would have gotten on like a HOUSE ON FIRE.
We do have some info on both Babbage and Lovelace’s dress sense: in true geek fashion, it seems to have been terrible. Sources:
Babbage: the waistcoast story. I darkly suspect Babbage would have been a Hawaiian-shirt-wearer.. not to throw a cloud over his memory or anything.
Ada Lovelace: awkward, badly dressed geek. -this is a recollection of Lovelace’s visit to her father’s old estate the year before she died; it is typical of her in this anectode that she goes through two entirely different personalities in the course of three days (speaking of clouds over memory, I should say that the actual extent of Ada’s racing losses were around 3000 pounds, as far as scholarship can determine.). There are surprisingly few contemporary descriptions of her; see seems to have been rather reclusive. You can see everything I’ve found regarding her from the period online here (the entire list of my primary sources is here). From “bouyant and hearty” to “melancholic” to “haughty and arrogant” or was she “without an atom of pride”? “She had, indeed, a most variable personality”, wrote her first biographer Doris Langley Moore.. indeed!
Anyways, doodling away on “The Organist” but won’t make any promises as to time.. Giant Monsters being what they are and all. In the meantime, any nagging questions re the comic, I’ll make this an ‘any questions’ post.