This page is intended for people who have come across Girl Genius for the first time because of the upcoming multi-platform video game, Girl Genius and the Rats of Mechanicsburg, the Girl Genius paper doll app, or the Girl Genius Volume 12 Printing and Reprint Frenzy! Kickstarter project and are interested in reading all of Agatha's adventures, but don't want to have any of the surprises in the comic or novels revealed to them in advance. It is also intended for those who have read the Girl Genius omnibus Agatha Awakens and may be uncertain how to continue following Agatha's adventures. And it is intended for anyone at all who is confused about all the different forms in which Girl Genius has been made available and how they relate to one another.
Purpose of this GuideEdit
The Completist's CompanionEdit
One reason this guide exists is to help you read all of the Girl Genius story that is currently available, either online, by assembling an as-complete-as-possible set of print volumes, or some combination of the two. Girl Genius is an ongoing "gaslamp fantasy" that exists in two forms: comic (graphic novel) and prose novel. Initially the story was published in printed comic book form, and then became a web comic, which is still ongoing. The story in this form is now roughly half complete. (At the end of December 2013, the Girl Genius comic was over 1650 pages in length.)
The entire story to date, in comic form, can be read for free online. All but the most recent pages of the comic can also be purchased in printed form in a variety of formats. For example, it has been collected into a series of eleven graphic novels so far and the twelfth is in the process of being printed and will be available soon. The comic is being adapted into prose novels as well, by the original authors. So far, two prose novels have been completed, based on the first six graphic novels, and the third is being written. The prose version of the story is not available for free online, although sample chapters are available for the first and second novels. (Click on the "View sample chapters" link near the top of each page to read them.) While the print versions of Girl Genius aren't free, most people enjoy reading it more on paper than on a screen.
Vexing Volume NumbersEdit
The other primary purpose of this guide is to help cut through some of the confusion that surrounds a story that has been presented in so many forms. For example, when someone refers to "Girl Genius Volume 1" they may mean:
- Volume 1 of the graphic novel series
- Volume 1 of the color omnibus series
- Volume 1 of the black and white omnibus series
- The first volume of the prose novel series
- Issue 1 of the original comic book series!
This guide will tell you which volumes are the parts of the same version of the story (comic panels or prose text) and how they relate to one another.
Not Quite Spoiler FreeEdit
This guide is referred to as "spoiler free" because almost no information that refers to plot developments that might "spoil" the story for someone who isn't caught up with it will be given in this guide. (If you are willing to risk a small spoiler or two, you can find a brief description of Girl Genius, its publication history, and its inspirations elsewhere on this wiki.) Because the titles of some of the Girl Genius books actually contain a spoiler  for the first three original volumes, it was impossible to omit all spoilers from this guide without leaving out some essential information. If you want to avoid all spoilers for Girl Genius, then read either the print volume Girl Genius Omnibus Volume One: Agatha Awakens or the first three volumes of the web version of the comic, before you continue reading this guide (please be aware that this portion of the story is a bit over 300 pages long).
Also be aware that the Girl Genius wiki, by its very nature, abounds with spoilers; so use caution when clicking on links that will take you away from this page. If you are not caught up with the story already, you may find out things you were not meant to know (or at least didn't want to know in advance).
The primary form of Girl Genius is an ongoing, epic comic, created by Phil and Kaja Foglio. This guide lists the various ways you can read the whole work, distinguishing between the different print editions and providing "jumping off points" to the web comic, so you can easily continue reading the story on the web from the point at which any of the printed volumes leave off. The "jumping off point" links start with the phrase "Continue reading," to make them easy to distinguish from links to other parts of this wiki or other web sites.
Girl Genius is available to read for free on the Girl Genius web site and is ongoing, with new pages published every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. The online version of the story
Be aware that the web version of the comic includes additional material inserted into the main story. This material consists of either single page insertions (such as  or of the Hugo Awards themselves) and short stories, such as "The Revenge of the Weasel Queen." These short stories are usually not part of the main Girl Genius story. They can be best thought of as stories that are told about Agatha Heterodyne within the Girl Genius universe. Some, but not all, of this material is included in various print editions as "extras."from Girl Genius, Phil and Kaja Foglio's in comic form,
Navigating through the story on the Girl Genius web site is done by means of Start, Back, Next and Today buttons at the top and bottom of every page of the comic. The button do what you would expect, Start takes you to the first page of the comic, Back takes you to the previous page, Next takes you to the next page, and Today takes you to the most recent page. If you are on the most recent page of the comic, you will only see the Start and Back buttons; if you are on the first page you will only see Next and Today.
If you want to go to a specific page in the comic, a single enormous drop down menu, near the bottom of the web page, right under the lower set of buttons, is provided. You will see a single line of text (the title of the current section) with a drop down arrow (that looks like a small black triangle) to the right. If you click on the drop down arrow, you will see a scrolling text box containing a list of all of the section titles for the online version of Girl Genius. Exactly what you will see when you view the drop down menu will depend on the device and browser you are using to read Girl Genius, but it will be some kind of control that lets you scroll through a long list.
Once you make a selection from this menu, you must click the "Go" button to the right to actually go to the selected page. Each entry in the navigation menu is the title of a small section of the web comic, except for the volume titles, which take you to the first page of each volume of Girl Genius. The titles of the various volumes are listed in this menu in the following format:
---First Page of Volume ELEVEN---
Each title refers to a page or sequence of pages in the comic. The title is intended to be (more or less) descriptive of the story contained on that page or in that sequence of pages. The exceptions to this are menu entries for volume titles (as already mentioned) and entries for extras, which are either side stories or single pages containing Girl Genius related images, such as ads featuring Girl Genius characters, comic versions of the Foglios' Hugo acceptance speeches, or photographs of the Hugo Awards themselves.
As you navigate the web comic using the Next and Back buttons, the text in the navigation menu will always reflect the section of the comic you are viewing. As long as you are viewing the same section, the text will remain the same, but, as soon as you move from one section of the comic to another, the menu text will change to reflect this.
Kaja Foglio is in charge of maintaining this menu (and the Girl Genius web site as a whole) and she often doesn't update it for long periods of time, making navigation of the end of the web comic a tedious matter of going through it one page at a time.
You can also use the Girl Genius Chronology in this wiki to help you find specific pages. It contains a detailed, page-by-page breakdown of Girl Genius.
If you are reading the entire Girl Genius story online, it is an excellent idea to use bookmarks in your browser to keep track of where you left off. However, be aware that every bookmark you create to a Girl Genius page will be named "Girl Genius Online Comics!" It is a good idea to delete the old bookmarks when you have used them so you don't end up with a long confusing list of identically named bookmarks.
This article will adopt the naming scheme being used by Phil and Kaja Foglio in the online store where they sell their books (TopatoCo) to distinguish between the various print editions of Girl Genius. The original graphic novels are referred to as studio collections and the new book from Tor is referred to as the color omnibus. The List of Published Volumes provides more detailed (but not necessarily spoiler-free) information about the printed editions of Girl Genius.
The Foglios have used specific naming schemes in the titles of the books in the various Girl Genius print edition series to make it easier to keep them straight. Titles in the studio collection series start with "Agatha Heterodyne," titles in the color omnibus series start with "Agatha" (first name only), and the titles of the prose novels (see below) start with "Agatha H."
The Girl Genius saga is available in print as a series of graphic novels called studio collections published by Airship Entertainment, a company founded by the Foglios for this express purpose. The story in this form is available in a series of paperback and hardcover volumes, currently eleven in number, with a twelfth volume complete and a thirteenth in progress on the web site. The table below has links to the main articles on each volume in the Studio Collection series in the first column and links to the first page in the web comic that immediately follows the last page of the printed book in the second column, enabling you to pick up the story where the printed volume left off.
The remainder of the Girl Genius story will be brought out in studio collections, as well as the new color omnibus editions, so if you are already a proud owner of some studio collection titles, don't worry; your collection is not obsolete!
In February 2012, science fiction and fantasy publisher Tor started publishing color omnibus editions of Girl Genius in hardcover. Currently, there is only one volume in this series, which collects the story from the first three studio collections. The table below has links to the main articles in this wiki on each volume in the color omnibus series in the first column and links to the first page in the web comic that immediately follows the last page of the printed book in the last column, enabling you to pick up the story where the printed volume left off.
The second column (Contains) lists the studio collections that make up that volume of the omnibus. (Only the last part of the title is given, for brevity.) Each omnibus edition is broken up into sections that correspond to and are named for the studio collections that make it up, but these sections are called chapters in the color omnibus editions. The third column (Extras) indicates whether or not that volume of the omnibus contains any additional material. It also contains a link to a note describing the material omitted from the studio collections that comprise the omnibus, if any.
|Title (link to main article)|
Girl Genius Omnibus Volume...
Agatha Heterodyne and the...
|Extras||Link to start of next volume on web|
|One: Agatha Awakens||Beetleburg Clank||No|
The remainder of the Girl Genius story not covered in the volume above may be published in future color omnibus editions, although Tor has remained silent about the publication plans for the rest of this series. If you have purchased this volume and would like to complete your Girl Genius print collection as a matching set, you can read the rest of the story on the web for now and wait to see if the remaining color omnibus editions are released.
Black and White OmnibusEdit
This book is obsolete but is included to help people distinguish it from the new color omnibus in situations where such confusion is possible, such as ordering books online. This book is titled Girl Genius Omnibus Edition #1. It does not have the subtitle Agatha Awakens.
In 2006, the Foglios published their own omnibus edition of the first three studio collections. This was printed in black and white and was only available in paperback. This book was also in a smaller format than the color omnibus from Tor (8 by 5.5 inches, as opposed to 10.3 x 6.7 inches). Now that Tor is printing the color omnibus series, there will be no further volumes in the black and white omnibus series. This volume is not being sold in the Girl Genius store on TopatCo, but you can still find it for sale on the web, if you look for it.
Girl Genius was originally published as a series of comic books, which ran for 13 issues. The main story from these was reprinted in the first four studio collections. The remaining studio collections reprint the pages of the comic from the web site. After issue 13 of the comic book series was published, the Foglios decided to stop publishing the individual comic books and moved the entire work online. (A preview volume called Girl Genius: the Secret Blueprints was published before issue #1 of the comic books. It contains background information on the world of Girl Genius and is sometimes referred to as issue #0. It has not been made available on the Girl Genius web site, but is is available in PDF form, see below.)
There was much material printed in the original comics that has not been made available elsewhere, either online or in print. This is unfortunate, but many, if not all, of the original comics can still be found for sale online or in comics shops for reasonable prices. Perhaps the Foglios will make this material available in a more convenient form some day.
The studio collections are also available in PDF editions from the online seller Drive Thru Comics. These PDF editions are, for the most part, identical with the print editions of the studio collections, although they may contain the contents of an earlier printing of a book than the current print edition. You can also find Girl Genius: the Secret Blueprints available in PDF form from this seller.
The Prose NovelsEdit
Phil and Kaja Foglio are in the process of adapting their graphic story into prose form, rewriting it as a series of novels. One reason for this is that it lets them include a lot of background information that they couldn't fit into the comic version of the story.
Two Girl Genius novels, Agatha H. and the Airship City and Agatha H. and the Clockwork Princess, have been published so far. Agatha H. and the Airship City covers about the same material as the first color omnibus but from a slightly different point of view and with some added details. Agatha H. and the Clockwork Princess covers the same material as the main story in the studio collections Circus of Dreams, Clockwork Princess, and Golden Trilobite. When the second color omnibus comes out, it will most likely contain the main story pages from these three studio collections.
Girl Genius Radio TheatreEdit
Occasionally, Phil and Kaja Foglio have written "radio plays" involving the characters and settings of Girl Genius. These have been performed by the Foglios and their friends and associates, usually at various conventions the Foglios have attended. Some of these performances have been recorded and are available online.
The "radio plays" are not part of the main Girl Genius story. They can be best thought of as stories that are told about Agatha Heterodyne within the Girl Genius universe.
- ↑ In an interview from June 2011, Phil Foglio said this, "The end of Volume 12 will conclude the first half of the Girl Genius storyline. After that, they'll start to travel a bit. Paris, England, Africa, Skifander, and the City of Silver Light." Since volume 13 is now complete and the travel hasn't occurred yet, obviously this statement was an overly optimistic estimation on Phil's part, but apparently the end of of volume 13 has completed the "first half of the story."
- ↑ Don't read this note if you want to avoid all possible spoilers. If you're not sure what I'm talking about here, the fact that the studio collection graphic novels all have "Agatha Heterodyne" in the title is a spoiler, since you are not told in the books that she is a Heterodyne until near the end of the third volume. Of course, many people will have already figured this out well before that point, but since I have "spoiler free" in the title of this page, I have decided to err on the side of caution. There was no spoiler for the initial readers of Agatha's story, because they were reading it in its original, printed, comic-book form. The title of the original comic book series was just Girl Genius, without any reference to the heroine's real name. The Foglios presumably made the natural assumption (at the time) that the people buying the studio collections would have already read the comic books and thus know Agatha's real full name already. There is no spoiler in the title of the color omnibus, presumably because it is aimed at new readers.
- ↑ Girl Genius is a three time winner of the Hugo Award for Best Graphic Story
- ↑ Previously, the Foglios had their own web store, the Airship Entertainment store, and the move to selling their stuff through TopatoCo happened a little over a year ago (as of October 2012). By now, many of the products that the Foglios offered through the Airship store are available at TopatoCo, as well as some new ones. The most important Girl Genius items, the books, have been available at TopatoCo from the beginning, including the color omnibus. Volume 13 has just been added to the line up.
- ↑ This name undoubtedly comes from the fact that the "blanket" company for publishing all works by Phil and Kaja Foglio is known as Studio Foglio.
- ↑ The studio collections are called books on the covers, for example, Girl Genius Book 3: Agatha Heterodyne and the Monster Engine.
- ↑ Each of the Girl Genius studio collections was originally published in paperback and limited edition hardcover editions. When a studio collection is reprinted, it is in paperback only, unless a major change is made to it, such as the re-release of volume I in color. The dust jacket copy for Agatha Awakens states "For the first time in hardcover, the acclaimed, multiple Hugo Award-winning Steampunk fantasy adventure Girl Genius," which isn't quite true. However, there was a previous omnibus edition (in black and white) that was printed in paperback only, so Agatha Awakens is the first hardcover omnibus edition.
- ↑ This volume does not have the extra material that is included in the first three studio collections: the short story "Agatha Heterodyne and the Electric Coffin", included in Beetleburg Clank and "Trelawney Thorpe, Spark of the Realm in: The Crown of the Sleeping King" in Airship City.