There’s No Place Like Home: Atlanta’s own Penny Dreadful Productions wins Best in Show at Dragon*Con’s Professional Costume Contest
Created by DoctorQ on 10/8/2010 1:07:46 PM

 A spotlight on Atlanta's own conceptual design and fabrication company, Penny Dreadful Productions, and their recent group piece - "Post-Apocalyptic Wizard of Oz."

This year’s Dragon*Con brought with it an even greater steampunk presence than the years prior, a testament to our growing subculture. Perhaps our crowning jewel was Penny Dreadful Productions’ creation of a post-apocalyptic take on the Wizard of Oz cast. The Atlanta-based group received this year’s Best in Show for the Con’s professional Costume Contest. As a local to Atlanta, the host city of the Con, it makes me proud to see our own stealing the show. 

Penny Dreadful Productions (or PDP as is often abbreviated) is a conceptual design and physical fabrication company. Their most recent ongoing effort has been as the Art Department for Whitestone Motion Pictures. Their work in the lauded steampunk-themed short film, Heartless: The Story of the Tin Man, was part of the main inspiration leading to PDP’s fleshing out of the remaining conceptualizations for the cast of the Wizard of Oz. “With the exception of the Tin Man, we put those costumes together in a week,” says PDP founder and Creative Director Matt Silva. Having just completed their latest work with Whitestone - a soon to be released short film called The Candy Shop - their free time until the start of Dragon*Con was next to nothing. These steampunks are a testament to Edison’s famed quote of invention being only 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration. 

“We wanted to work a bit further away from the Steampunk genre,” says Erin Leigh Bushko, the Co-founder and Administrative Director of the group. Drawing further inspiration from the post-apocalyptic feel, they created Dorothy as a rugged explorer of new Oz, Glenda the Good Witch, the Wicked Witch of the West, irradiated 6 foot tall munchkins, a zombie Scarecrow, a Flying Monkey, a Cowardly Lion, and the Wizard himself all in the short time span they had left. 

Like all excellent costumes, the devil is in the details. The pictures in this article do well to illustrate just the basics. What you don’t see is a hand sculpted poppy flower for the Wicked Witch’s spectator witch hat. Or the small detail in the books that the Emerald City was never emerald, but all the citizens wore glasses – hence the Wizard’s spectacles and the green tint to Dorothy’s goggles. Of the details, the contrast between the cloth and tatters of Glenda against the hard steel of the Wicked Witch was most impressive. “We had a good time playing off each other,” said Erin of the contrasting witches.

There is no doubt that this work from Atlanta’s hometown fabricators is just the beginning, as they will continue to bring such amazing craftsmanship and professionalism to conventions, expos and world fairs across the nation. I, for one, am proud to see them headquartered here, amongst the southern Terminus locals. 

To keep appraised of Penny Dreadful Productions’ latest works, their website is They will be appearing at a number of shows and conventions, so be sure to keep an eye on these rising steampunk stars. 

Doctor Q is the Media Editor for Steampunk Chronicle. He fancies himself an acoustic arranger of music and founder of the Artifice Club.

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