The steampunk genre really cannot be considered dead since there are still many festivals and conventions held each year, even in 2018, which has had over 30 events planned throughout the country. In fact, at least one takes place almost every month somewhere in the United States. There are also similar conventions that are prominent in Europe, specifically in the city of Lincoln in England. These events often attract thousands of participants who typically dress up in costumes, which is encouraged at most of them. Unsurprisingly, the Asylum festival is so successful that it is something that Lincoln has become well known for.
Steampunk in ComicCon
Steampunk is also now an important part of ComicCon, a very large, popular annual event in the United States. In fact, many young people like to participate in steampunk cosplay at Comic Con. Recent years have seen more experimentation and infusion with other elements like Marvel superheroes. How much the genre will change and whether it will give rise to something new remains to be seen, so it is unlikely that the genre will completely disappear.
It certainly is nowhere near dead though. There just would not be the tremendous number of events, festivals and conventions that are held each year if this were true. It is certainly possible that it may not be as popular as it once was five years ago, but it still maintains its position as the most popular of the “punk” styles as opposed to cyberpunk and dieselpunk.
The other ways in which the genre is being kept alive is through video and computer games, comic books, photographs and of course movies. Computer games with science-fiction based themes appeal a great deal to young adults and teenagers. Game developers are aware of this trend and will continue to cater for this demographic as long it remains commercially viable.
Steampunk has inspired pop culture more than some might be inclined to admit; they may not even be aware that the movies and books they have read fall into this genre. Popular media still include many characters and themes that embrace steampunk elements or are heavily influenced by steampunk. Take for instance the popularity of the superhero movie “Iron man”. Although this may be classified more as straight up science-fiction than as steampunk, the latter no doubt influenced the comic. The fact remains that audiences like seeing gadgets and futuristic devices. A more obvious example of Steampunk is evident in the Sherlock Holmes movies, in which you have characters set in a time where mechanics and invention merge and some bizarre contraptions surfaced. The “Hellboy” movie series is another example of the steampunk genre that has made its way into popular culture.
It could be that they are successful because of the sci-fi aspects combined with humor and strong character development. However, costumes also play a big part in steampunk and the characters in these movies often do have a unique sense of style. So, rather than being on its deathbed, steampunk is alive and kicking.