The Puppet Makers | Haute Macabre

The Puppet Makers

Our friend and comrade, Molly Crabapple, has just released her newest project, The Puppet Makers, a new online comic.

“The Puppet Makers”, by Molly Crabapple and John Leavitt, is Dangerous Liaisons meets Blade Runner.  The Puppet Makers is a mystery set in an alternate historical Versailles.  Versailles is run by clockwork and aristocrats wear robotic suits, or Dollies, to go through elaborate rituals that proscribe daily life.  When the king’s Dolly explodes, it is revealed that he’s long since vanished.  A young monk’s investigations into the king’s disappearance draw him into the dark secrets of the court.

Every Wednesday, new pages will be released on Zuda Comic’s website.  To celebrate, Haute Macabre and Molly are giving away the limited edition 10 x 22 print posted above, illustrated by Molly, designed by Nicola Black with text by Neil Gaiman.

To enter, leave a comment below describing what you would be if it were 1685!  The winner shall be announced Friday, May 21.

35 Comment

  1. FUCK! I got all busy & totally forgot about this.
    Came here to enter, but now I see that the winner is supposed to be announced today.
    *le Sigh*

    Oh well, I am going to answer anyway…

    I would be a well-endowed clockwork harlequin. Or something like that.


  2. I would most likely be poor, malnourished, diseased (most likely a waterborne or fecally spread infection due to poor sanitation and crowded habitation, such as typhoid, cholera or dysentery), speak French with a disgusting accent that betrayed my proletarian rank and have a distended pelvis from having squeezed out babies that rarely survived whilst existing on a thoroughly inadequate diet deficient in the necessary minerals for good bone density. Vive la France indeed.

  3. I would probably be the heir to a Daimyo in the Edo Period of Japan. I would live in Edo (as well as most of my family) for most of my life because of the laws that governed the Daimyo. Many women that lived in court would love me for my handsome looks. Yet, my short temper, standoffish behavior, and love for foreign culture would distance me from popular circles.


    I’d be a German Prince, one of the many 300 German States, recovering just after the 30 year war. I’d be handsome and adventurous, wanting to see the world after living in war for the better part of my youth. I’d travel to England first and then to France, indulging myself in anyway I could. Many women would call me a ‘Schürzenjäger’ openly. I would relish the scandal and rumor spoken about me.

    Also, I am a woman, but I’d rather be a man in that time. Not because women were treated poorly, just that I love mens fashion, seduction, and bravado from that time. With the exception of Japan; I love the sense of pride.

  4. Oh, I suspect I’d be living the life I have now: at home, watching the kids, dreaming about living a fancier life! (NOT that I don’t love home being with the kids, mind you. I just wish I was ALSO rich) 😉

  5. A wicked nun, working her way up to wicked Abbess. Currently in charge of the herb garden, where I grow poisons, psychedelics and sedatives, all used in my inexorable rise to power…I have been known to invite those I favour to moonlit nights of madness and pleasure in my walled garden, where night blooming flowers fill the air with a cloying and sickly perfume.

  6. I’d be a famous French Opera singer! I’d call myself Pearl.

    Failing that, a spinster artist! I’d paint in a beautiful Baroque style- If only I had the concentration to do that in real life, eh? ;D

  7. In 1685 I am a dutch man sailing with the Dutch East India Company to japan, while I have the luxary of sailing to far away eastern lands, life aboard ship is hard, as a sailor we are hardly treated well, most of the earnings in the dutch golden age went to the nobles. I narrowly escaped with my life during the third aglo-dutch war, a war between the dutch and the british over the trading routes. Yet, I lead a life of adventure, of seafaring and seeing most wonderful items on board that I will never own.

    As the only country in the world still allowed to trade with japan we carry aboard all kinds of items, from the most lavish silks, to deer and shark skins, to books and new scientific inventions such as telescopes, pendulum clocks, van leeuwenhoek’s microscopes, or perhaps even pascal’s early mechanical calculators.
    After staying for a short time in a nice house on japan’s guarded island Dejima, we set sail once again back to the netherlands, this time carrying all kinds of copper and silver jewelry, laquerware, porcelain and camphor.
    Once home, I find my wife has given birth to a daughter, but died giving birth. Since I am unable to take care for my daughter, I entrust her to my sister, then take the few earnings I have left and drinking them away in a cafe somewhere, waiting to set sail again.

  8. Unfortunately, I would probably be dead since I would never have survived the birth of my first child without medical intervention. However, if I were able to go back to 1685 with that knowledge then I guess I would be a nun or a hermit to avoid the issues of childbirth.

  9. I’d have been a Catherine Deshayes – known after becoming a widow as La Voisin – character. A fortune teller, an alchemist, a sorceress, a conjurer, a schemer and a plotter. After all, what better way to influence things behind the scenes by providing all the love potions, poisons, and soothsaying to aristocrats? Of course, this means that eventually I would have been tortured and most likely killed. But hell, in 1685, I wouldn’t have been expecting a long and healthy life, at any rate.

  10. I would most likely be an alchemist or engineer, dabbling in transmutation and gears. Eccentric, with a rich patron and probably mad.

  11. I’d be making prophecies about the end of the world. Versailles would turn into a palace full of lace-clad axe-wielding foul mouthed ladies with mad fighting skills and dandies with arrows and swords.

  12. I’d get into the new and particularly desperate and distasteful profession of mudlark on the Thames. I’d be scavenging whatever washed up at low tide (buttons, pins, corpses) and selling it for anything I could get. The Great Plague of London (and subsequent Fire) would still be in living memory.

  13. I’d be an aristocrat. I love the clothes and only dream about wearing them now. Of course, I’d be doing all the naughty things that only aristocrats do; at night and behind closed doors. Then during the day, I’d have the facade of being a good, well-behaved girl. I’d enjoy partying. I wouldn’t be much of an intellect. I’d be silly and very much an air-head. I’d fall for any Casanova until his novelty wore out and I fell for some other. Most likely, my father would sick of my unscrupulous behavior eventually and send me to a convent or to marry some old geezer.

  14. I would be a poison taster extraordinaire. In the time between actual food tasting for the king/queen or whomever was in power in my country of residence, I’d spend countless hours in the library, with doctors, gardeners, cooks and foraging in the woods to increase my knowledge of poisons and their antidotes…And I’d cultivate friendships with as many people as possible to ensure that I could hear any gossip about plots to poison my charges….what would I look like? Likely a long skirt and vest; elegant but easy to move and bend while wearing. I’d also have pouches with antidotes tucked under my skirts for quick access and no end to fashionable hats.

    But for all that living within royal circles by virtue of my job, I’d prefer to hang out in the local places, taverns, universities, markets, and more where I could relax and be myself.

  15. Well, in all honesty, first and foremost a crossdresser. I’m down with corsets but not all the time. I much prefer the British Dandy look. Although, I do believe I would like very much hanging out in Louis XIV’s court. I’d like to be his royal shopping assistant, and help him buy fabulous shoes.

  16. Perhaps I’d be a sort of hanger-on to academic society, too outspoken about politics and such to enter into the respectable, government-sponsored circles. I’d write as well – what with the literary codes under Louis XIV, I likely wouldn’t be published, but maybe I could find work at some shady printing shop publishing dissenting pamphlets.

    (Of course, I’d probably just be a peasant girl already bearing her second child, but oh, well.)

  17. Probably dancing in a Moulin Rouge type place somewhere, loving some man who I couldnt be with, having a fat, slobbering, perv boss, good friends who I drink Absinthe with, and making my own outfits.

  18. If this is an alternate Versailles, I know exactly who I am. I’m the clever and headstrong Madame who heads a very fine Atelier. After working hard, I’m now the one who oversees all the work done on gowns and other garments for the royal family and the aristocrats. Anyone who’s anyone at all wears a silk confection from our Atelier, and this allows me into all of their fancy parties, where I unveil the even more spectacular things I make for myself. And while I’m inflating my ego, hehe, and since this is an alternative world, I’m forsaking the societal norm and remaining unmarried. Muhahaha.

  19. I love Haute Macabre!

    I also love everyone who focuses on the dark, fucked-up aspects of life in the Baroque age. A pet peeve I’ve always had with most steampunk is that they focus on gorgeous gears without acknowledging deep inequalities. Keep your answers coming- they’re smart, thoughtful and inspiring!

  20. If it were 1685, I would almost certainly be a court musician. My lord or lady would ask me to compose and play new works constantly, but there would be very few distractions, so I would be able to do it. I would own a single key flute and spend most of my time playing it. It would be my most prized possession and I would guard it with my life!

  21. Hmm, in 1685 I’d probably be a seamstress, making fancy gowns for aristocrats until I went blind from sewing by dim firelight. Then I’d be stuck taking care of bratty kids.

  22. I likely would have been a low-class rabble rouser. A self-educated, trouble making religious and political malcontent. Also, I would have cooked. Of that I am sure. Likely I would have been a proper thorn in the Churches arse, right up until they hung me for being a dirty irish rebel…

    Fun times.

  23. I would have been a Russian Military Strategist in service of Ivan and Peter. Helped Russia have the upper hand in the war and get a little more out of the Treaty of Nerchinsk.

  24. What would I be if it were 1685?

    Panicked! Time travel scares me!

    Silliness aside. Hmm. In March 1685 Louis XIV passed “Code Noir”. Because he was such a lovely bloke. So, of course, I would be someone off in the French colonial empire fighting against that. Because I like to cause trouble for royalty.

    Not a funny fnar fnar answer, but oh well.

  25. In 1685 I would be a Irish Jacobite serving abroad in France where many of the Gaelic elite were escaping the turmoil of succession in England. I would likely be researching the growing connection between al-khemi and the science of chemistry, as well as folklore of the European intellectual scholar and priestly classes. Secretly I would also be associated with the remaining elements of Catharism/Templarism and its growing openness in the Free Masonry of Paris.

  26. If it were 1685, I’d be happy.
    I’ve always felt I’m not from this time; everything is so foreign, and I’ve done it all before, subconsciously. I’d be happy for real human interaction, nothing digital or text-based. I’d live for the eloquent and edgy class and entertainment; being an artist and a performer myself, it’s in my blood, along with French ancestry. (Cheers to Versailles!)
    I would love to be an average street rat by day, busking and playing my cello to get by, and an established artist by night, wining and dining in the classiest of halls and palaces with the most pretentious of aristocrats. It would be the duality in life that would fuel both my passions for art and music; being able to see both sides and walks of life to know that I’m just as average, in 1685, as everyone else.

  27. Pretty much what I am now, the town drunk, but with a sweet jacket and if I played my cards right a white wig.