The League of S.T.E.A.M.
(Supernatural and Troublesome Ectoplasmic Apparition Management), a.k.a. the "Steampunk Ghostbusters", are a Southern Californian performance art troupe popular in the steampunk
community and specializing in live interactive themed entertainment.
The League is loosely modeled after the 1984 film Ghostbusters
, translating the idea of a "paranormal pest control service" into a neo-Victorian steampunk setting. The four main members of the League have created backpacks reminiscent of the Ghostbusters' backpacks, each allegedly performing some necessary paranormal investigative function. They are known for these and other creative steampunk "inventions" (functional props), and have also been written about and interviewed as leading examples of steampunk style.
They also produce a popular web series, The Adventures of the League of STEAM
, that has featured guest stars including MythBusters
' Grant Imahara and Doug Jones (Pan's Labyrinth
, Fantastic Four 2
). The series chronicles the League on various comic adventures where they attempt to locate, capture or neutralize supernatural creatures.
The League of S.T.E.A.M. provides examples of:
- Action Girl: Lady Potts, Katherine Blackmoore, The Russian.
- Alien Blood: When the leprechaun in "Fool's Gold" is dispatched, he turns into a pile of green goo.
- All Trolls Are Different: The troll in "Big Trouble" is of the big, dumb, lumbering kind. Also rather blind.
- Artifact of Doom: In "Curses!", the team have a cursed artifact appraised, in a curio shop run by Grant Imahara that apparently specializes in Artifacts of Doom. When our heroes realise what they have they keep passing it to each other, greatly confusing the Mummy that's sneaking up on them with hands outstretched.
- Awesome Anachronistic Apparel
- Awesome Backpack: Several.
- Badass Crew
- Bald of Evil: The main villain introduced in the Season 1 finale and seen throughout Season 2.
- Lampshaded and lampooned in the Season 2 finale, "Dead End", when it's shown that he is a member of a league of bald villains, and their ultimate penalty for failure: being banished after having a wig glued onto his bald head.
- Batter Up: Zombie-slayer Katherine Blackmoore's primary weapon is a cricket bat. (Perhaps a shout-out to Shaun of the Dead.)
- Best Served Cold: In "Tall Tails", Thaddeus has his revenge... and literally serves it afterward.
- Big Damn Heroes: The rest of the League arrives to save Crackitus, the Baron, Thaddeus and Katherine Blackmoore at the end of the Season 2 finale, "Dead End".
- Bigfoot, Sasquatch and Yeti: "Hairy Hijinks".
- Black Cloak: Members of the league of evil villains opposed to the League all wear these.
- The Cavalry: See Big Damn Heroes.
- Christmas Special: The episode, "The Fright Before Christmas".
- Clockwork Creature: Their clockwork zombie-hunting cyborg, R.O.S.E.
- Cool Airship: In "Dead End", the villain is seen traveling in one.
- Dashingly Dapper Derby: Worn by Baron von Fogel. Coyote also sports one.
- Demonic Possession: In "Dining with the Devil".
- Distinguished Gentleman's Pipe: Several members of the League smoke pipes.
- Electromagnetic Ghosts: Jay Are's backpack is a device for detecting Electronic Voice Phenomenon (EVPs).
- The girls that stand in as "ghosts" during their live shows also have lights underneath their Victorian outfits to make them "glow."
- Everything's Better with Monkeys: The League sometimes has to deal with invisible ghost monkeys (such as in their short, "Monkey Business").
- Everything's Deader with Zombies: If you can't beat'em... employ them!
- Everything's Squishier with Cephalopods: The Kraken in "Tall Tails."
- Fun with Acronyms: The League of S.T.E.A.M. (Supernatural and Troublesome Ectoplasmic Apparition Management); R.O.S.E. (Reanimate Optimized Search Engine); the H.U.G. (Hunting Utility Gun), a net gun; The Junior League W.A.T.C.H. (Worldwide Alliance for the Tracking of Creatures and Haunts).
- Ghostbusters: An affectionate parody.
- Gadgeteer Genius: Several, especially Crackitus Potts.
- Gentleman Adventurer: Thaddeus is actually a Gentleman's Gentleman adventurer.
- Goggles Do Nothing: Hey, it's steampunk, what did you expect?
- The goggles in "Big Trouble" do do something: they help the troll to see better.
- Gulliver Tie-Down: The garden gnomes do this to Zed in "Bitter Gnomes and Gardens", with a garden hose.
- He Who Must Not Be Seen: In at least three episodes, a bald villain, apparently the nemesis of the League, has been seen, but only from the back. (Although in one episode part of his face is seen, revealing that he has a goatee.) His face is finally seen in the Season 2 finale, "Dead End".
- Hey, That's My Line!: Crackitus Potts is the de facto leader of the team and usually introduces the episodes he appears in. When someone else will occasionally start the introduction, he'll usually run to the camera to interrupt them and take over the intro.
- Hollywood Exorcism: In "Dining with the Devil".
- Incessant Music Madness: In "The Tiki Room", the League deals with a tiki idol that emits a drumming sound and Will. Not. Shut. Up. Fortunately no one actually goes mad, but it does make it difficult to conduct an interrogation.
- Incredibly Lame Pun: The leader of the League is named Crackitus Potts. Crackpot, get it? (Also an allusion to Caractacus Pott from Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.)
- Interspecies Romance: Albeit briefly, in "Tall Tails."
- Jet Pack: Baron von Fogel's backpack is one.
- Kraken and Leviathan: A Kraken appears in the "Tall Tails" of Crackitus, Thaddeus and Jasper.
- Lady of Adventure: Lady Potts.
- Leprechaun: In their award-winning webisode, "Fool's Gold", the League battles one.
- Music Soothes the Savage Beast: A clockwork singing Robot Girl is used to soothe the troll to sleep in "Big Trouble".
- Looney Tunes: Some of their devices are inspired by ACME, such as Crackitus Potts' expandable boxing glove, the potato cannon, the net gun and the plunger gun.
- Mad Scientist: Several in the League would probably qualify.
- The Matchmaker: Mrs. Potts tries to play this with Jay Are and The Russian in "Hairy Hijinks".
- Miles Gloriosus: In "Tall Tails", Crackitus, Thaddeus and Jasper sit around telling stories of personal encounters with the Kraken. Until it actually arrives...
- Nice Hat: Their zombie manservant Zedediah wears a fez. Baron von Fogel and Coyote wear Dashingly Dapper Derbies. Sir Conrad, Jasper Mooney, Professor Jager and Mrs. Potts wear top hats, Ellie Copperbottom wears a mini-tophat, and Thaddeus wears a boater.
- No, Mr. Bond, I Expect You to Dine: In "Two For Dinner", the clueless Crackitus is invited to dinnerat the home of a vampire. Fortunately he invites his friend, vampire hunter Sir Conrad, along.
- Not Using the Zed Word: Averted; their manservant is even named Zed.
- Our Ghosts Are Different: A trio of ghostly belles who are content with playfully messing with the living.
- Our Gnomes Are Weirder: In "Bitter Gnomes and Gardens", the gnomes are of the garden gnome variety, with the peculiar weakness that they can only move if not seen, similar to the Weeping Angels of Doctor Who (Lampshaded in a Shout Out).
- Our Mermaids Are Different: The mermaid in "Tall Tails" is of the standard "beautiful woman with fishlike tail" variety.
- Our Zombies Are Different: The League has perfected (well, almost...) a technique for converting zombies into domestic servants.
- Power Trio: Originally, it was a Power Foursome, but with Professor Jager becoming inactive, the three main members of the team are Crackitus Potts, Baron von Fogel and Jay Are, but with an increasingly large support team.
- Robot Girl: R.O.S.E.
- Shout Out: Plentiful.
- Ghostbusters, obviously.
- In "Fool's Gold", the leprechaun reforms in the manner of the T-1000 from Terminator 2.
- In "Bitter Gnomes and Gardens", one of the plants Mrs. Potts is planting is Audrey II.
- Also it's noted that the gnomes' weakness is that they can only move if not seen, similar to the Weeping Angels of Doctor Who
Coyote: All the others have been moving, but that one [pointing to a gnome looking at a mirror] hasn't. So what if they can't move while they're being looked at?
Ellie: Like that situation that Doctor guy told us about.
- The vampire in "Two for Dinner." "Fritz, there will be two, two guests for dinner, ha ha."
- Twilight: In one episode, the League goes vampire hunting... in the line at the premiere of Twilight: New Moon. Hilarity Ensues.
- A Charles Dickens homage, in "The Fright Before Christmas".
- The after-credit scene from The Avengers is spoofed after the credits in the Season 2 finale, "Dead End".
- Steampunk: Obviously.
- Steampunk Gadgeteers: Even more obviously.
- Tall Tale: In The Adventures of the League of STEAM episode "Tall Tails", three League members sit around telling stories of their encounter with a Kraken... some of them being a bit hard to swallow.
- Troll Bridge: The troll in "Big Trouble" lives under one.
- Uncle Pennybags: The team's benefactor, Albert Able, Esq.
- Who You Gonna Call?: The Ghostbusters TV ad from the film is even parodied in a short.
- You Have Failed Me: the fate of the villain in the Season 2 finale, "Dead End".