Someone evidently misinformed suggested that dieselpunk isn’t a “legitimate genre” in a discussion about its inclusion at Wikipedia. “What’s called dieselpunk,” he or she added, “is actually pulp fiction.”
I suppose one can make this mistake watching Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow but dieselpunk is more than pulp. It certainly derives inspiration from it just as steampunk is inspired by nineteenth century science-fiction and Victorian era technology. What makes steampunk distinct though is that it reinvents the past. It’s anachronistic. So is dieselpunk.
Dieselpunk colonizes the pulp era with fantastical technologies and modern-day sensibilities. “Like steampunk exists within the framework of speculative fiction, dieselpunk resides under the banner of pulp, specifically characterized by the rise of petroleum power and technocratic perception, incorporating neo-noir elements and sharing themes with Adventure Pulp.”
Anyone who suggests that dieselpunk and pulp are one and the same isn’t paying attention.