With the advertisements for its real life, modern counterpart of Jim Thorpe, PA, that range from promotions of bed & breakfasts, to jewelers, to completely fictional items (including an X-ray monocle), it's hard to say what to make of The Victorian Horrors of Old Mauch Chunk. However, whether it is the advertisements, art or story, inside you've got a Victorian cum steampunk adventure that has been put together with a loving amount of detail.
In its heyday, Mauch Chunk was a railroad and coal center of the increasingly industrial United States. The book is set very much in the town of that time, but quickly takes the alternate timeline note from steampunk's book when a new material, seemingly impervious to any level of heat, is found. This could be interesting enough alone, but Old Mauch Chunk throws in intrigue, racial tensions and murder for good measure. It makes for an interesting setup that causes the book to stand out from the uniformity of other material on the shelves.
The art is nearly colorless, containing only differing levels of sepia, lying on a background that resembles old newspaper. The lack of color doesn't hurt the book as the pencils and inks are very well done in their rendering of character and action. The latter half of the book is also an exposition of the town itself, looking as if the pages were taken from historical references and drawn out on the page with care.
All in all, The Victorian Horrors of Old Mauch Chunk #1 is an interesting setup to what could be a very fun, very weird story. If you are looking for something different, check it out.
If you enjoyed this review, be sure to check out more of the author’s work at http://madbastard.hypersites.com.
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