Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Girl Genius, Vol. 1: Agatha Heterodyne and the Beetleburg Clank (Girl Genius #1)” as Want to Read:
Girl Genius, Vol. 1: Agatha Heterodyne and the Beetleburg Clank (Girl Genius #1)
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating

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

4.16 of 5 stars 4.16  ·  rating details  ·  2,557 ratings  ·  193 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, 87 pages
Published August 12th 2002 by Studio Foglio (first published 2002)
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Girl Genius, Vol. 1, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Girl Genius, Vol. 1

Soulless by Gail CarrigerLeviathan by Scott WesterfeldBoneshaker by Cherie PriestPerdido Street Station by China MiévilleThe Time Machine by H.G. Wells
Best Steampunk Books
17th out of 687 books — 3,326 voters
xkcd by Randall MunroeHark! A Vagrant by Kate BeatonGunnerkrigg Court, Vol. 1 by Thomas SiddellGirl Genius, Vol. 1 by Phil FoglioWorm by wildbow
Best of the Web
4th out of 169 books — 185 voters

More lists with this book...

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
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
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.
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.
Literary Ames {Against GR Censorship}
So I looked this one up online (and read it there for free) as I was struggling with the 13th volume which is a 2014 Hugo finalist for Best Graphic Novel, and while this is from only one point of view - Agatha's - it's still a little disjointed and hard to follow. Almost every sentence of dialogue feels like it should end with a exclamation mark. It's high drama, or melodrama. But perhaps that's a mark of the mad science genre - I wouldn't know, I'm new to it.

Agatha is a strong female role mode
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
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
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
I was introduced to Girl Genius in its online version, 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
In theory, I love this book, but in practice, I've picked it up three or four times, and never gotten past page 40.
I wanted to like this more than I did. The drawings are entertaining. The plot was a bit weak, though I think it will make more sense in the 2nd book. What bothered me the most was the way the MC, Agatha, a teenager is drawn. As a previous reviewer asked, why is she drawn like a 40-year old barmaid with a boob-job? In some ways, I think the artists were trying to imitate Manga, with the extreme exaggerations, but they somewhat missed the mark.
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
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
Harold Smithson (Suicide punishable by Death)
A note to all aspiring fantasy authors: Don't start writing your book until you've firmly established how the unique mechanics of your fictional universe affect the characters. Otherwise you end up with Girl Genius, where alternate history steampunk Transylvania is populated by people who wouldn't seem out of place in the modern-day United States (At least theoretically. Most people aren't this melodramatic).

Don't feel up to the task of writing convincing alternate history? Just don't go that ro
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
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 - 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.
Originally published online as a Web comic (where it can be found at, 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
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.
Angela Alcorn
This really just set the scene without really getting into what Agatha's like as a genius. Some of the characters are quite colourful and the mood of the comic is awesome.

And now, I must buy more.
It took me several tries to get into this book. The art--small head to body proportion, strange faces, plastic body shading, and busy-ness of the frames and dialogue was distracting instead of pulling me in to the story. The art does improve, as does the story. Most of the characters are only sketched out, but Agatha does not fall into the tropes of dumb blonde or girl who falls for the first guy who drools on her. She is a protagonist, a quick thinker, who makes friends and is learning who she ...more
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
Pretty good storyline and characters. Lots of time establishing the characters, world, and storyline in this first volume, but the pace picks up The artwork doesn't appeal to me completely and it's the drawing of Agatha in particular and some of the other women that really annoy me. Agatha is the hero of the story and it's great to see a smart, determined female character, but she is depicted as a big breasted, tiny waisted, big butt blond. Other women are similarly drawn. Ugh. I did like the ja ...more
test drive volume 1 by reading daily installments at the authors' web page:

volume 1 is the prologue of the story - a plucky university student that hasn't at all come into her own as a mechanical inventor has a mysteriously-alluded to past, and the set up for a potentially conflicted future. the art has bucketloads of fun little flourishes hidden off to the edges, but it's also more than a little cutesy for my taste. totally diving right on into vol.2.
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
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
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
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
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
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
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 99 100 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • FreakAngels, Volume 1 (FreakAngels, #1)
  • Gunnerkrigg Court, Vol. 1: Orientation (Gunnerkrigg Court #1)
  • Digger, Volume One (Digger, #1)
  • Questionable Content, Vol. 1
  • Daisy Kutter: The Last Train
  • The Teraport Wars (Schlock Mercenary, #2)
  • Dungeon Crawlin' Fools (The Order of the Stick, #1)
  • Starcross (Larklight, #2)
  • Birds of Prey, Vol. 12: Platinum Flats
  • Steampunk II: Steampunk Reloaded (Steampunk, #2)
  • The Steampunk Bible
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.

Hugo Award for Best Fan Artist (1977 and 1978)
Hugo Award for Best Graphic Story (2009, 2010, 2011)
More about Phil Foglio...

Other Books in the Series

Girl Genius (1 - 10 of 13 books)
  • 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)
  • Girl Genius, Vol. 4: Agatha Heterodyne and the Circus of Dreams
  • Girl Genius, Vol. 5: Agatha Heterodyne and the Clockwork Princess (Girl Genius #5)
  • Girl Genius, Vol. 6: Agatha Heterodyne and the Golden Trilobite (Girl Genius #6)
  • Girl Genius, Vol. 7: Agatha Heterodyne and the Voice of the Castle (Girl Genius #7)
  • Girl Genius, Vol. 8: Agatha Heterodyne and the Chapel of Bones (Girl Genius #8)
  • Girl Genius, Vol. 9: Agatha Heterodyne and the Heirs of the Storm
  • Girl Genius, Vol. 10: Agatha Heterodyne and the Guardian Muse (Girl Genius #10)
  • Girl Genius, vol 11: Agatha Heterodyne and the Hammerless Bell
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 Novels, #1) Girl Genius, Vol. 5: Agatha Heterodyne and the Clockwork Princess (Girl Genius #5) Girl Genius, Vol. 4: Agatha Heterodyne and the Circus of Dreams

Share This Book

“Any plan where you lose your hat is a bad plan.” 14 likes
More quotes…