Ah, the Victorians. Without them, we wouldn't have sewers, terraced homes, the vote, uncomfortable piercings or most BBC miniseries. The era has never been more popular, with steampunk on the ascent like a chrome-girded, pistol-packing, heavily-corseted, goggle-wearing, largely-inaccurate zeppelin.
When it comes to discussing Victoriana, there's no better guest than Jonathan Green, creator of the Ulysses Quicksilver adventures. Pax Britannia is the world's longest-running steampunk series, and besides awing us with swash, buckle, time travel and the occasional cyber-squid, Mr. Green has always impressed us with his historical knowledge (a mention of Professor Richard Owen in Unnatural History won us over immediately).
Without further ado, here are our individual picks for the five finest Victorians - real, imaginary and all things in-between... The Victorians didn't have blogs, but if they did, they'd be the finest blogs ever (and mildly pornographic). And they'd undoubtedly leave comments about who we missed off our list.
Sir Richard Owen - The man who gave the world the word 'dinosaur', thereby naming a diverse group of animals that has captured the imaginations of 5 year-old boys and geeks ever since. Biologist, comparative anatomist and palaeontologist, he was often cast as the villain to Charles Darwin's hero; and yet this is the man who gave us the Natural History Museum. But never mind all that - he effectively invented dinosaurs!
H. G. Wells/The Time Traveller - I'm being a bit sneaky here but the way The Time Machine is written, you could quite easily believe that Wells himself was the Time Traveller. Many of Herbert George's ideas have become staples of modern science-fiction and have particularly inspired the Steampunk genre. Cavorite, Selenites, time travel... the man was a creative powerhouse!
Spring-Heeled Jack - A character of English folklore? Urban Legend? Apparition? Alien? Or sex pest? Who was he really? It's likely we will never know - but that's what makes him such an intriguing character and persistent presence in the national psyche.
Count Dracula - Effectively, the vampire primogenitor. Not sure if he really counts as a Victorian but he certainly sought to bring his Machiavellian plans to fruition during Queen Victoria's reign. The Dracula I'm a fan of isn't Christopher Lee's Hammer Horror version, but the Count from Stoker's original, combined with Gary Oldman's interpretation of him and Kim Newman's development of the character in Anno Dracula and beyond.
Queen Victoria - I mean the woman has a whole historical period named after her and one that saw unprecedented technological, cultural and social changes. One of our longest reigning monarchs, who ruled when the British Empire was at its height, she was as much a force of nature as anything else. God save the Queen!
Jack the Ripper
Doctor Henry Jekyll/Mr Edward Hyde