One of the most easily recognizable icons in western comic book culture is Professor Charles Xavier, a bald man in a wheelchair. Often, the design for the wheelchair is pretty cool; but a fan and artist by the name of Daniel Valdez decided he would do something incredibly unique — he decided to create a Steampunk Professor Xavier and a wheelchair to boot.
The wheelchair from Smeeon is actually an Eastlake Victorian Rocker which has been heavily modded to give it the authentic steampunk look and feel. Every detail from the controls to the seat design, from the pistons to the finish, and everything in between really gives this wheelchair a genuine steampunk feeling to it.
The color scheme is very reminiscent of a Victorian noble, and the wheelchair is controlled by a control panel, similar to the electric wheelchairs we have now, except it is designed to look like it is powered by steam. In fact, the appearance of steam-power is included in the design, as there is a smokestack which produces steam.
There are also instruments which may or may not actually be functional, but that add a nice touch, such as the pressure gauge. There are also springs and a water tank which make the chair look like it fits in with the design.
The control panel has the regular joystick, several nondescript levers, a strip of lights and a compass. The brass finish again adds a nice aesthetic touch.
The completed chair was presented at DragonCon this year, with Daniel dressing up as a steampunk (not to mention younger) version of Professor Xavier, which completes the ensemble.
The design is definitely very cool, and as a steampunk concept much like the others… It’s simple. It’s appealing. And it is most certainly tried, tested, and true. (I can’t wait for someone to come up with a Steampunk version of Wolverine though!)