Girl Genius

Girl Genius is an ongoing comic book series turned webcomic, written and drawn by Phil and Kaja Foglio and published by their company Studio Foglio LLC under the imprint Airship Entertainment. The comic won the Hugo Award for Best Graphic Story three times, has been nominated for a Hugo Award for Best Professional Artist and twice for Eisner Awards, and won multiple WCCA awards.

Girl Genius
Girlgeniuspromopic.jpg
Agatha, main character of Girl Genius
Author(s)Phil & Kaja Foglio
Illustrator(s)Phil & Kaja Foglio
Websitewww.girlgeniusonline.com
Current status/scheduleUpdates on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays.
Launch dateJanuary 2001 (2001-01) (Secret Blueprints, Vol. I preview issue)
February 21, 2005 (web publication)
Genre(s)Fantasy, humor, science fiction, steampunk, gaslamp fantasy

Girl Genius has the tagline of "Adventure, Romance, Mad Science!". It follows the main character Agatha Heterodyne through an alternate-history Victorian-style "steampunk" setting, although elements veer from what is usually thought of as steampunk. Kaja Foglio describes it as "gaslamp fantasy" instead to suggest its more fantastic style.

As well as the comics, the Foglios have also written four Girl Genius novels, all published by Night Shade Books, and two games based on the world have been made.

OverviewEdit

SettingEdit

The setting has been described as steampunk,[1][2][3][4] with reviewers for Wired describing it as a "mosh of Victorian era, magic and emerging technology"[3] and "steampunk to the core",[1] but co-creator Kaja Foglio dislikes the term and instead coined the term "gaslamp fantasy" to describe the work. Kaja said in a blog post that when Girl Genius was first coming out, there was a comic called Steampunk and she wanted to avoid confusion. She added that "we have no punk, and we have more than just steam, [so] using a different name seemed appropriate."[‡ 1] Girl Genius differs from classic steampunk in that technology is not just limited to machines but also encompasses biology such as "constructs" – biological creations which range from Frankenstein-style creatures[‡ 2] to talking cats[‡ 3] and mouse-sized mammoths.[‡ 4]

Girl Genius is set in an alternate-universe Europe[4] with Industrial Revolution-like surroundings, airships, and mad scientists called Sparks.[1] These Sparks, who have incredible powers of invention,[2] turned the Age of Enlightenment into a full-scale war that ravaged the continent, until Baron Wulfenbach brought an uneasy peace through force.[‡ 5]

PlotEdit

Girl Genius tells the story of Agatha Clay, a student and apprentice at Transylvania Polygnostic University whose experiments never work, until she encounters an electromagnetic pulse and is robbed of her locket.[2][3][4] This leads her to break free of an attempt to suppress her powers as a Spark, and to hide that she is the long-lost daughter of famous hero Bill Heterodyne and villainess-turned-good Lucrezia Mongfish. Agatha Heterodyne (whose surname is based on a real scientific concept) learns to mix scientific genius, a streak of true heroism and an obsessive possessiveness for what she considers her own in order to claim her monstrous heritage and birthright, even as the eyes of all Europa watch her carefully in case she turns out to be one of the monsters herself.[citation needed]

Publication historyEdit

 
Kaja and Phil Foglio in 2007

The idea for the style of Girl Genius came about when Kaja Foglio went through some of Phil's loose drawings, saying in an interview: "I was going through all of Phil's old files and I was filing all of the old sketches, and I was coming across weird airships and cats in tophats with walking canes, and all of this wonderful... Victoriana sci-fi stuff... it was like 'Oh, this is everything I love!'"[5] Phil Foglio said, "We wanted to do something with a strong female lead character. We both like the tropes associated with mad science, and I really enjoy drawing fiddly Victorian-style gizmos".[6]

Phil Foglio states that plotting for Girl Genius started in 1993, and it was first published in 2000.[7] Girl Genius: The Secret Blueprints Vol. I was printed in January 2001, followed closely by the monochrome Issue 1 in February.[citation needed] In 2005 Girl Genius became a webcomic, and quarterly print publication of the comic ceased.[7]

The first three printed issues (which make up Volume 1) were in black and white. Subsequent printed and web comics were in color. Volume 1 was inked by Brian Snoddy, Volumes 2 and 3 by Mark McNabb. Volume 4 by Laurie E. Smith, and all subsequent volumes by Cheyenne Wright.[‡ 6] Wright also colored the comics of Volume 1; these colored versions were used for a new print edition of Volume 1 and have replaced the original comics on the website.[‡ 7]

In an interview recorded in January 2008, shortly before they began releasing pages of volume 8 of Girl Genius on their web site, the Foglios stated that they expected the climax of Volume 8 to be the rough equivalent of "the end of the first season," and that it would provide a logical break in case of author catastrophe and a fresh jumping-on point for new readers.[8] However, this was an underestimate of the length of the remaining "first season": the end of Volume 13 turned out to be approximately halfway through the planned overall story arc.[‡ 8] The "second season" of the series began March 3, 2014, with "Act 2, Volume 1,"[‡ 9] after a two-month hiatus of the main story.

Published collectionsEdit

The webcomic, as well as the initial printed issues, have been collected into printed volumes, and in some cases those volumes have been collected into printed omnibuses. Unless stated in the notes below, the books reprint works first published as the webcomic.

The First Journey of Agatha Heterodyne (also called "Act 1")Edit

Vol / Omnibus # Title Pages ISBN Notes
Volume 1 Agatha Heterodyne and the Beetleburg Clank 96

Paperback: ISBN 1-890856-19-3, full color paperback: ISBN 1-890856-50-9, hardcover: ISBN 1-890856-20-7

Reprints issues #1–3
Volume 2 Agatha Heterodyne and the Airship City 112

Paperback: ISBN 1-890856-30-4, hardcover: ISBN 1-890856-31-2

Reprints issues #4–6
Volume 3 Agatha Heterodyne and the Monster Engine 128

Paperback: ISBN 1-890856-32-0, hardcover: ISBN 1-890856-33-9

Reprints issues #7–10
Volume 4 Agatha Heterodyne and the Circus Of Dreams 128

Paperback: ISBN 1-890856-36-3, hardcover: ISBN 1-890856-37-1

Reprints issues #11–13 and webcomic from April to June 2005
Volume 5 Agatha Heterodyne and the Clockwork Princess 112

Paperback: ISBN 1-890856-39-8, hardcover: ISBN 1-890856-38-X

Volume 6 Agatha Heterodyne and the Golden Trilobite 150

Paperback: ISBN 1-890856-42-8, hardcover: ISBN 1-890856-41-X

Volume 7 Agatha Heterodyne and the Voice of the Castle 128

Paperback: ISBN 978-1-890856-45-8, hardcover: ISBN 978-1-890856-46-5

Volume 8 Agatha Heterodyne and the Chapel of Bones 144

Paperback: ISBN 978-1-890856-47-2, hardcover: ISBN 978-1-890856-48-9

Volume 9 Agatha Heterodyne and the Heirs of the Storm 144

Paperback: ISBN 978-1-890856-52-6, hardcover: ISBN 978-1-890856-51-9

Volume 10 Agatha Heterodyne and the Guardian Muse 152

Paperback: ISBN 978-1-890856-53-3, hardcover: ISBN 978-1-890856-54-0

Volume 11 Agatha Heterodyne and the Hammerless Bell 168

Paperback: ISBN 978-1-890856-55-7, hardcover: ISBN 978-1-890856-56-4

Volume 12 Agatha Heterodyne and the Siege of Mechanicsburg 192

Paperback: ISBN 978-1-890856-57-1, hardcover: ISBN 978-1-890856-58-8

Volume 13 Agatha Heterodyne and the Sleeping City 160

Paperback: ISBN 978-1-890856-59-5, hardcover: ISBN 978-1-890856-60-1

Omnibus 1 Girl Genius Omnibus Edition Vol 1 Paperback: ISBN 978-1-890856-40-3 Reprints Volumes 1–3, in a smaller, black & white edition
Omnibus 1 Girl Genius Omnibus Vol 1: Agatha Awakens Hardcover: ISBN 978-0-7653-3132-8 Reprints Volumes 1–3 in color and new lettering[1]

The Second Journey of Agatha Heterodyne (also called "Act 2")Edit

Vol / Omnibus # Title Pages ISBN Notes
Volume 14 The Beast of the Rails 128

Paperback: ISBN 978-1-890856-61-8, hardcover: ISBN 978-1-890856-62-5

Volume 15 City of Lightning 128 Paperback: ISBN 978-1-890856-63-2
Volume 16 The Incorruptible Library 122 Paperback: ISBN 978-1-890856-65-6
Volume 17 Kings and Wizards 120 Paperback: ISBN 978-1-890856-67-0
Volume 18 Queens and Pirates 128 Paperback: ISBN 978-1890856-69-4
Volume 19 Sparks and Monsters Not yet released. A Kickstarter was run in 2020 to fund its printing.

Girl Genius in other mediaEdit

Girl Genius has been adapted, or proposed for adaptation, for other media:

NovelsEdit

The Foglios have written four Girl Genius prose novels, which follow the same story as the comics:

  • Agatha H. and the Airship City, covering volumes 1–3 of the comic;
  • Agatha H. and the Clockwork Princess, covering volumes 4–6;
  • Agatha H. and the Voice of the Castle, covering volumes 7–9; and
  • Agatha H. and the Siege of Mechanicsburg covering volumes 10–13.

The prose novels are published by Night Shade Books.

GamesEdit

The Foglios have been involved in the following released games:

Further games are being planned:

  • Phil Foglio said in a 2007 interview that they were working on a role-playing game in the GURPS system,[6] and a game was announced in 2017,[12] but as of mid-2020 it had not been released.
  • A Kickstarter for a new video game, entitled Girl Genius – Adventures In Castle Heterodyne, was started in September 2020.[13]

Agatha Heterodyne has also appeared in illustrations and by name in the 1995 role-playing book GURPS Illuminati University sourcebook, which was illustrated by the Foglios and predates the release of the comic.[citation needed]

MovieEdit

In 2010 it was reported that Felicia D. Henderson had optioned the rights to Girl Genius and was adapting it into a movie.[14] However, as of 2020 no movie had been produced.

AwardsEdit

 
The Foglios' acceptance speech at the Hugo Awards ceremony in 2010

Girl Genius and its creators have won multiple Hugo Awards and Web Cartoonists' Choice Awards (WCCAs). They have also been nominated for further Hugo awards, WCCA awards, and Eisner Awards.

Year Organization Award Recipient / Book Outcome Citation
2014 Hugo Awards Best Graphic Story Girl Genius, Volume 13: Agatha Heterodyne and the Sleeping City Nominated [15]
2011 Hugo Awards Best Graphic Story Girl Genius, Volume 10: Agatha Heterodyne and the Guardian Muse Won [16]
2010 Hugo Awards Best Graphic Story Girl Genius, Volume 9: Agatha Heterodyne and the Heirs of the Storm Won [17]
2009 Hugo Awards Best Graphic Story Girl Genius, Volume 8: Agatha Heterodyne and the Chapel of Bones Won [18]
2008 Hugo Awards Best Professional Artist Phil Foglio Nominated [19]
Web Cartoonists' Choice Awards Outstanding Comic Won [20]
Outstanding Writer Won
Outstanding Environment Design Won
Outstanding Artist Nominated
Outstanding Character Writing Nominated
Outstanding Long Form Comic Nominated
Outstanding Use of Color Phil and Kaja Foglio (and Cheyenne Wright) Nominated
2007 Web Cartoonists' Choice Awards Outstanding Science Fiction Comic Won [21]
Outstanding Comic Nominated [22]
Outstanding Long Form Comic Nominated [23]
Eisner Awards Best Digital Comic Nominated [24]
2006 Web Cartoonists' Choice Awards Outstanding Story Concept Won [25]
Outstanding Comic Nominated [26]
Outstanding Science Fiction Comic Nominated [27]
2005 Eisner Awards Best Writer/Artist—Humor Phil Foglio Nominated [28]

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ a b c d Booth, John (May 31, 2012). "Girl Genius: Omnibus Volume One". Wired. ISSN 1059-1028. Retrieved September 15, 2020.
  2. ^ a b c Shockley, Cheyenne (July 16, 2015). "Review: 'Girl Genius' Volume #1". FangirlNation Magazine. Retrieved September 11, 2020.
  3. ^ a b c Lawson, Corrina (March 30, 2011). "Comics Spotlight on Girl Genius". Wired. ISSN 1059-1028. Retrieved September 11, 2020.
  4. ^ a b c Hogan, Robert (April 23, 2015). "Girl Genius Review". Over analysing. Retrieved September 11, 2020.
  5. ^ "Interview with Phil and Kaja Foglio, Part 2 of 2". The Biblio File. TalkShoe. January 27, 2008. 7m, 15s. Archived from the original (MP3) on July 20, 2011. Retrieved September 14, 2020.
  6. ^ a b Jordan, Justin (February 12, 2007). "Getting Smarter: Phil Foglio Talks "Girl Genius"". CBR News. Retrieved December 3, 2008.
  7. ^ a b Scheff, Meredith (March 9, 2008). "Meredith Scheff Interviews Phil Foglio". The Steampunk Workshop. Retrieved December 3, 2008.
  8. ^ "Interview with Phil and Kaja Foglio, Part 1 of 2, 33m:45s". The Biblio File. TalkShoe. 27 January 2008. Archived from the original (MP3) on 13 April 2014. Retrieved 3 December 2008.
  9. ^ "Girl Genius: The Works". BoardGameGeek. Retrieved September 17, 2020.
  10. ^ "Girl Genius and the Rats of Mechanicsburg". Kickstarter. Retrieved September 5, 2020.
  11. ^ "The Rats of Mechanicsburg: A Girl Genius® Game". Amazon. Retrieved September 5, 2020.
  12. ^ "Girl Genius Sourcebook and Roleplaying Game". Retrieved January 2, 2017.
  13. ^ "Girl Genius - Adventures In Castle Heterodyne". Kickstarter. Retrieved September 5, 2020.
  14. ^ Renaud, Jeffrey (September 13, 2010). "Henderson On "Titans," "Static" & "Girl Genius"". CBR. Retrieved September 9, 2020.
  15. ^ "2014 Hugo Award Winners". August 17, 2014. Archived from the original on August 19, 2014. Retrieved August 28, 2014.
  16. ^ "2011 Hugo Award Winners". August 21, 2011.
  17. ^ Cavna, Michael (September 5, 2010). "'GIRL GENIUS' wins Hugo Award for best graphic story". Comic Riffs. Washington Post. Retrieved September 9, 2010.
  18. ^ "2009 Hugo Award Winners". thehugoawards.com. thehugoawards.com. August 9, 2009. Retrieved January 21, 2010.
  19. ^ "2008 Hugo Award Nominees". World Science Fiction Society. March 21, 2008. Retrieved August 6, 2008.
  20. ^ "Here are you 2008 WCCA Winners!". Web Cartoonist Choice Awards. Archived from the original on July 31, 2011. Retrieved September 14, 2020.
  21. ^ "Outstanding Science Fiction Comic". Archived from the original on July 16, 2011. Retrieved September 14, 2020.
  22. ^ "WCCA 2007: Outstanding Comic". Archived from the original on July 16, 2011. Retrieved September 14, 2020.
  23. ^ "The Outstanding Mystery of the Long Form Comic". Archived from the original on July 16, 2011. Retrieved September 14, 2020.
  24. ^ "The 2007 Eisner Awards: 2007 Master Nominations List". Comic-Con. Archived from the original on 8 August 2007. Retrieved 3 December 2008.
  25. ^ "Outstanding Story Concept". Archived from the original on May 23, 2011. Retrieved September 14, 2020.
  26. ^ "WCAA 2006 – Outstanding Comic". Archived from the original on May 23, 2011. Retrieved September 14, 2020.
  27. ^ "Outstanding Science Fiction Comic". Archived from the original on July 16, 2011. Retrieved September 14, 2020.
  28. ^ "The 2005 Eisner Awards: Nominees". Comic-Con. Archived from the original on 19 February 2009. Retrieved 3 December 2008.

Primary sourcesEdit

In the text, these references are marked with a double dagger: ‡

  1. ^ Foglio, Kaja (26 April 2006). "Dirt, Collection Vol. 5, Furniture and Gaslamp Fantasy". Archived from the original on 13 March 2007. Retrieved 3 December 2008.
  2. ^ Foglio (March 8, 2006). "Girl Genius". Girl Genius. Retrieved September 16, 2020.
  3. ^ Foglio (February 2, 2005). "Girl Genius". Girl Genius. Retrieved September 16, 2020.
  4. ^ "Girl Genius". Girl Genius. November 5, 2004. Retrieved September 16, 2020.
  5. ^ Foglio (August 6, 2004). "Girl Genius". Girl Genius. Retrieved September 16, 2020.
  6. ^ "Girl Genius". www.girlgeniusonline.com. Retrieved September 17, 2020.
  7. ^ "Girl Genius". www.girlgeniusonline.com. Retrieved September 17, 2020.
  8. ^ "We are Kaja and Phil Foglio creators of Girl Genius". AMA. Reddit. Retrieved July 8, 2013.
  9. ^ "Girl Genius Comic for Monday, March 03, 2014". Livejournal. Girl Genius. March 2, 2014. Archived from the original on March 10, 2014.

External linksEdit