Girl Genius, Vol. 1: Agatha Heterodyne and the Beetleburg Clank (Girl Genius #1)
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Girl Genius, Vol. 1: Agatha Heterodyne and the Beetleburg Clank (Girl Genius #1)

4.17 of 5 stars 4.17  ·  rating details  ·  2,192 ratings  ·  171 reviews
In a time when the Industrial Revolution has become an all-out war, Mad Science rules the World... with mixed success. At Transylvania Polygnostic University, Agatha Clay is a student with trouble concentrating and rotten luck. Dedicated to her studies but unable to build anything that actually works, she seems destined for a lackluster career as a minor lab assistant. But...more
Paperback, 96 pages
Published August 12th 2002 by Studio Foglio (first published 2002)
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Community Reviews

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Miriam
I was both eager and reluctant to read this. Eager because girl genius steampunk adventure? With great reviews? Awesome! Reluctant because, um, well you see the same cover I'm seeing, right? But hey, sometimes the cover art on graphic novels isn't the same as-- Oh. No. It is the same. Cartoony and exaggerated, with the added distraction of lots of details that were interesting but left me with the choice of either ignoring half of them or reading much slower than the story calls for. Most of all...more
Patrick
I've been reading this series for years, and I really can't say enough good things about it. You can read the whole thing online if you like, but I really recommend buying copies from their website. Selling books is how these folks make their living. It's important to support things like that.
Stephen
1.5 to 2.0 stars. I am not sure how this one didn't work for me. I love steampunk as a genre, I enjoy gaslamp stories and I am a fan of the graphic novel format. The story just didn't interest me enough. I thought it was okay, but I was expecting to like it a lot more.
Brandon
This series is *excellent*.

Its a graphic novel from Phil and Kadjia (I prob. misspelled that) Foglio.

Their art is great and the work is *really* interesting.

Essentially, its an alternative earth where Mad Science is very real. Mad Scientists are said to posses the 'Spark' and are able to build amazing things . . . unfortunately there is a reason that they are called 'Mad'. Essentially, it manifests as a complete inability to determine if they *should* build just because they can. For this reaso...more
Raina
Ok, people. Phil Foglio was doing steampunk comics WAY before the teenagers caught on. This was published in 2001. 2001. (Yes, it needed to be said again.)

ANYWAY... So yeah, this is pretty groundbreaking. The library edition I read is printed all in brown&white, except for an excerpt of the next volume at the end. And I know this shouldn't be my firstish comment about the book, but OMG, this is SO MUCH BETTER in color. Which, I know, is a total DUH. The Foglios (which always throws me off b...more
Brenda
This graphic novel follows the story of a family of Sparks - people gifted with the ability to manipulate the laws of physics. It's told as history and placed in a world with a steampunk ethos. The story and illustration are only moderately involving. Nothing very interesting or innovative occurs and I found myself extremely disappointed as I really enjoy the trappings of the steampunk movement. I unfortunately bought volume 2 of this series and will probably read it just to be sure, but I can't...more
Meg
I was introduced to Girl Genius in its online version, www.girgeniusonline.com. It caught my attention from the get go. A very different Europa is under the rule of the ruthless Baron Klaus Wulfenbach. The story concerns Agatha Clay, a girl dedicated to science and invention who just can't seem to make anything work.

Full of monsters, madboys and girls, Jagermonsters (very attached to their hats), and legends of the Heterodyne boys, the visually stunning art and the excellent writing will sweep...more
Brenda Clough
The kickoff for a truly delightful and famously enjoyable graphic series, which is up to eleven volumes as I write this. All of them are available at the Girl Genius web site, so you don't have to buy the paper books until you're hooked. Plan to have several free hours before you start in, because they're very addictive! And, just to enable you, after you suck through all the comics on line, there is a wiki, a yahoo group and several livejournal groups.
Because it's PG, this is a great webcomic t...more
Cait
In theory, I love this book, but in practice, I've picked it up three or four times, and never gotten past page 40.
Teghan
Well drawn and some panels were actually quite beautiful, but I just couldn't get into it. The main character was annoying...I tire of constantly coming across heroines who are clumsy and stupid, even though she's supposed to be a student in this series. Its not adorable, its patronizing.

I did however enjoy how they drew her as she wasn't super thin and busty, so that was nice.

The story was also a little choppy as if there was a panel or four missing between pages.

The steampunk visuals were r...more
Alexa
I've been following this webcomic for 5 or 6 years, and sometimes I binge read the whole thing again (it's starting to get to long to do this, but who cares? It's fun!) My last re-read was last month and I decided it's probably a good time to review it.

Girl Genius is set in a steampunk society where some people are "sparks" or talking plainly: geniuses. The thing is, most of the time when people get the spark or become a spark, they also go bat shit insane. The kind of bat shit insane that buil...more
Kevin
Phil Foglio has been an inspiration of mine since a teenager. He draws in such a great cartoony-yet-realistic style, even if his young characters tend to look alike. If you have not read Girl Genius, check it out online at http://www.girlgeniusonline.com - where you can read the entire series up to the most recent update (M-W-F). Humorous fantasy in the great tradition of, um, Pratchett? Monty Python? It's very silly, but very smart stuff.
Lori
Originally published online as a Web comic (where it can be found at www.girlgeniusonline.com), this series follows the exploits of a young woman, Agatha, who discovers she is the lost heir to a long-feared dynasty. Instead of a terribly serious version of this tale, the author/artist stick to humor over horrors. Still friends and enemies die, leaving their mark on Agatha as she grows to understand who she is and what she can do.
Terry Price
Appropriate for kids starting as early as 2nd or 3rd grade in my estimation, although they may not fully grasp the details of the images until they are a little older.

Girl Genius. I love this story. This book begins a long and complex tale even still being expanded on the triweekly-released web comic. The Foglios are notable artists who have done illustrations professionally for a long time, and it shows. I would read and re-read their work as often as it took to make sure I didn't miss anything...more
Ridley
I just spent 20 straight unshowered hours reading this comic online from start to the present day.

Beautiful art style, non-stop action, romance, science and a kick-ass heroine who's a little bit dangerous. I'm hooked.
Katja Weinert
Lots of fun! I don't usually read graphic novels, but I'm now converted. Plus, I've been inspired to buy the novelisation, as I kept thinking that it would do brilliantly as a novel.

Steampunk at its best, IMHO.
Jasmine Me
Nov 19, 2012 Jasmine Me rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: steampunk and comic lovers
Recommended to Jasmine by: someone on another website :D
interesting first volume, made me want to go and read the next, that's good enough for me
Jim
I first met Phil Foglio in the late 70's at a Science Fiction Convention. (Yes, I'm that old, but Phil is older! I was in my teens and he was probably in his early 20's.) He was drawing cartoons and had a 'zine called "Effen EssEff". I even bought a couple pieces of his art back then. So, I was thrilled to recently rediscover Phil and his work. I recognized his style immediately, when I saw it.

I started reading Girl Genius online and then found out I could get it in book form. So, I bought the...more
Rebecca
Jul 17, 2008 Rebecca rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: People who like competent female characters and Mad Science
So, you might ask, why read Girl Genius in the dead-tree form when it's available for free? Well, aside from the fact a book is a very nice way to stop thinking about physics in order to sleep*, it gives the creators money. And it's worth giving them money.

So, Agatha Clay is a lab assistant to Dr. Beetle, a Mad Scientist (or Spark). She lives with her adoptive parents, Adam and Lilith Clay (and if those aren't wonderfully symbolism-laden names, you aren't paying attention -- Adam and Lilith are...more
Helen
I don't care if you don't like comic books, go effing read it. Now. They also put out a novel form of it in high histrionic style. This mp3, should give you the tone of it. It's brilliant. It's Phil and Kaja Foglio. It's Agatha Heterodyne, GIRL GENIUS! One of my favorite characters is ... oh hell, all of them. Every character is wonderfully exactly what they should be.

I'll try to stop gushing and give you good information. A steampunk world ruled by mad scientists whose ability to invent is cal...more
Marsha
In a world ruled by mad science that is almost akin to magic, anything is possible. Here you will find crazed geniuses, intelligent despots, talking animals, genuine heroes and a big-breasted blond girl who’s innocent, sweet and intelligent. Yes, anything can and does happen and, when it does, you know you’re in a Heterodyne story. The Foglios have crafted a crazy quilt world that runs on its own rules. Like an engine run amok, it always seems just about to careen off the tracks when a carefully...more
Anna
The tagline for the Girl Genius series is "Adventure, romance, mad science!" and it pretty well sums things up. This isn't a story that ever takes itself too seriously, and makes for a very fun romp through an alternate history where lab coats, goggles, and sadistic cackling are all just par for the course. The creators have clearly paid attention to the rule of writing that states "tension on every page" and never just stop the plot for a gag, although there's humour aplenty in here. There are...more
Insouciantly
Well well, where to begin? Begin here. If you've never been introduced to the multiple Hugo Award-winning online web comic/graphic novel of Girl Genius then your life has been emptier than you knew. And its about to be more full and colorful and steampunk-adventure-filled than you could ever guess. I apologize in advance, its going to become difficult to leave your computer for the next few days. Possible side-effects when you reach the last page include symptoms of intense withdrawl, possible t...more
Rob
At first, I felt kind of sheepish listing a graphic novel in a book collection—but then I looked around a bit and realized that Phil & Kaja Foglio's Girl Genius is far more intellectually stimulating than much of what passes for "literature." *cough* *Twilight* *cough*

The first volume of Girl Genius introduces the steampunk-like universe in which Sparks—or, less flatteringly, Mad Scientists—rule with barely restrained genius. Many of the leading characters make their début, and although the...more
Mary Catelli
Some series are just stories plopped in the same setting. Some are the episodic adventures of a character. Still others have continuity, events in one affecting the next, and this can lead up series that are in fact a single story separated into volume. And Agatha's tale is definitely the last.

Clank is an excellent introduction to it.

The first edition was in black and white -- oops, brown and white. This one is in color. Even if you find it difficult to believe after the first page because it is...more
Miss
Oh baby thank you so much for being short. Great story! On a day I was less busy I would've been happy to read a volume twice the size. But I am super tired and have a cover letter to write and three assorted course readings to wade through. I am really reconsidering this book and review a day goal people. Possibly it was overly ambitious. And by ambitious I mean ill thought out. And by ill thought out I mean wow did I ever overestimate my time management abilities.

ANYWAYS

Girl Genius follows the...more
LenaLena
This series about Mad Scientists in an alternate steampunk Europe may be the most enjoyable graphic series I have ever read (I would have to reread a lot of stuff from way back when to be sure). I love the characters, I love the setting, I love the wacky plot twists and it is genuinely funny. I read them all online, but will be buying the books for sure.

I was going to subtract a star for the fact that each and everyone of the female characters has a perky cupsize 32H with no visible means of su...more
Monk
I heard a lot of good things about this book recently so I decided to pick it up and give it a look. It's steampunk fiction, so it had a lot going for it at the time of it's purchase while in New York City. I got it back to where I was staying and cracked cover before going to bed. I got halfway through before resigning myself to sleep. That was two weeks ago. I finished it last night.

It was okay. It has some good elements to it. It's steampunk, so it had a head start, and it's also got some pre...more
AI
Adventure, romance, MAD SCIENCE! and much hilarity. Everything's great. Except... really, what's with the boobs?

My main qualm about the series is that it sets an unattainable standard: the main character, though a girl indeed, is a genius AND has impossible physical proportions, plus every other female character is likewise well-endowed (with a number having a chance to parade around in underwear or a catsuit). Also -- and this one is big -- in that world one either has a 'spark' or does not: th...more
Andrew
Phil and Kaja Foglio's Girl Genius is a fast-paced, antic introduction to the adventures of Agatha Heterodyne and her world. Like the first prose novel in this series, this book feels very much like an installment of a series, rather than a complete work in its own right. That's fine, since it's clearly labeled Book One all over the cover.

The story clearly introduces the main characters (Agatha, Baron Wolfenbach, and his son, Gilgamesh) through dialogue and action. It sets up a clear, distinct w...more
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A popular science fiction fan artist in the 1970s, Phil Foglio began writing and drawing cartoons and comics professionally in the 1980s. His work includes "Magic: The Gathering," "Buck Godot," and the popular series of comics and novels, "Girl Genius," co-written with his wife, Kaja Foglio.

Awards:
Hugo Award for Best Fan Artist (1977 and 1978)
Hugo Award for Best Graphic Story (2009, 2010, 2011)
More about Phil Foglio...
Girl Genius, Vol. 2: Agatha Heterodyne and the Airship City (Girl Genius #2) Girl Genius, Vol. 3: Agatha Heterodyne and the Monster Engine (Girl Genius #3) Agatha H and the Airship City (Girl Genius) Girl Genius, Vol. 5: Agatha Heterodyne and the Clockwork Princess (Girl Genius #5) Girl Genius, Vol. 4: Agatha Heterodyne and the Circus of Dreams

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