The purpose of Girl Genius chronology pages is to provide a brief summary of every page of the comic, including a list of all of the characters present on a page. On the chronology pages, sigils are used to indicate things about listed characters using minimal space. There are three types, based on how the sigil is affixed to the name of the character it applies to: prefix, suffix, and infix. Prefix sigils are single characters placed immediately before the name of the character they apply to, with no intervening space. Suffix sigils are one (or occasionally more) characters, usually surrounded by parentheses, that immediately follow the name of the character with no intervening space. Infix sigils go in between the names of two characters, with no space between the sigils and those names. A single character reference may have more than one sigil at the same time.
Sigils also belong to one or more conceptual categories. Characters tagged with sigils in the Absence category are portrayed in the comic but are not present in some sense. Characters tagged with sigils in the Altered State category are in an altered state of consciousness. The identity of characters tagged with sigils in the Identity category is uncertain in some sense. Sigils in the Narrative category are applied to characters who are part of some narrative, such as a tale of what took place in the past, an invented story, or a "narrative" going on in the mind of one of the current characters. Characters tagged with sigils in the Presence category are not portrayed in the comic but are present in some sense. Sigils in the Technological category indicate that some form of in-universe technology is required for the character to be in the state indicated by the sigil; for example, a character is shown in a scene by means of the playback of a recorded image.
The meaning of sigil here is "a [punctuation mark] affixed to a [name] to indicate [the] type".  Of course, if you want to think of a sigil as —Wiktionary's second sense— a device using Mad Science to see through time and space to reveal what the character is doing, that works as well.
- 1 Prefix Sigils Key
- 1.1 Flashback: Usage, Notes, and Examples
- 1.2 Flashforward: Usage, Notes, and Examples
- 1.3 Flash-concurrent: Usage, Notes, and Examples
- 1.4 Imagined: Usage, Notes, and Examples
- 1.5 Hidden: Usage, Notes, and Examples
- 1.6 Recorded image: Usage, Notes, and Examples
- 1.7 Transmitted image: Usage, Notes, and Examples
- 1.8 Uncertain: Usage, Notes, and Examples
- 2 Suffix Sigils Key
- 3 Infix Sigils Key
- 4 References
Prefix Sigils Key
||Flashback||Characters are in the past relative to the current time as a factual event being narrated or imagined by someone in the comic.||Absence, Narrative|
||Flashforward||Characters are in the future relative to the current time, as seen through a time window in the comic (or, in theory, as narrated by entity with knowledge of the future).||Technological|
||Flash-concurrent||Characters are shown in another (perhaps abstract) location but simultaneous with the current time. So imagined or narrated by someone in the comic as an ongoing factual (or speculated but highly probable) event.||Absence, Narrative|
||Imagined||Characters are being imagined in a fictional, highly speculative, or wishful way by another character in the comic. Or characters are being physically represented in the comic by someone else or portrayed in a work of art.||Absence, Identity, Narrative|
||Hidden||Characters are known by the editor to be present in a scene/panel, even though they are not visible.||Identity, Presence|
||Recorded image||Characters are shown in the comic as the playback of a recorded image.||Absence, Technological|
||Transmitted image||Characters are shown in the comic as part of an image that is being transmitted in real time.||Absence, Technological|
||Uncertain||The editor has a reasonable guess of the character's identity, but is uncertain.||Identity, Narrative|
Flashback: Usage, Notes, and Examples
Almost always shown in sepia tones, although other monochrome hues have been used ( ).
Flashforward: Usage, Notes, and Examples
Usually shown in blue tones.
Flash-concurrent: Usage, Notes, and Examples
Possibly in monochrome.
Imagined: Usage, Notes, and Examples
"Imagined X" or "Portrayal of X (by Y, from Z)"
This refers to characters who are present only as imagined in some highly speculative or fictional way by those who "really are" present. When the depiction is purely in the thinker's mind, it is usually shown with reduced color saturation (example: panel 4). This sigil is also used to indicate characters in stories being told by a character (who is really there) to one or more others (who also are). In the case of the tale Theopholous DuMedd tells to the younger children aboard Castle Wulfenbach, sepia tones are used. In the one Baron Klaus Wulfenbachthe Baron tells Phil, neither reduced color saturation or sepia tones are used.
This sigil also applies to characters not present in person, but rather represented in some other "real" way in the comic, hence regular color saturation is used. Usually the representation is by an actor or impersonator, but can also apply to artwork.
The usage of the
~ sigil prefix for portrayal is a little more elaborate that the previous usage. The prefix goes in front of the name of the character being portrayed, not the person doing the portraying, which may not be known. If the name of the character doing the portraying is known, it can follow the
~-prefixed "character being portrayed" name, in parentheses. If the name isn't known, then the parentheses can be omitted or some other identifier can be substituted for the actor's name (such as "marionette", etc.) A name and some kind of identifier can both appear in the parentheses following the name of the portrayed character, separated by a comma, if needed for a clear identification.
Hidden: Usage, Notes, and Examples
"Presumed in scene, but not visible X"
Characters may not be visible because they are "off the page", but known to be there because a speech bubble containing their dialog is displayed on the page. Or a character may br behind or inside some vehicle, building, or other object. Another possibility is that the character's "mind" has been captured and stored in a device that is present in the scene/panel. There has to be reasonable evidence that the character indicated by this sigil is present in the scene; for example, an airship is shown on one page and the character is shown inside it on an earlier or later page.
Recorded image: Usage, Notes, and Examples
"Previously recorded image of X"
This is only to be used if the character is shown on a given page only in the recorded image. ( )
Transmitted image: Usage, Notes, and Examples
"Transmitted current image of X"
For example, when a holographic-projection camera obscura found in the cavern hideout near Mechanicsburg is used to allow Agatha what is to other members of her party.
Uncertain: Usage, Notes, and Examples
Suffix Sigils Key
||Sparking||To show that a Spark is in the madness place.||Altered State|
||God-sparking||To show that a Spark has achieved their second breakthrough and is manifesting the powers of an Ancient God-Queen while in the madness place.||Altered State|
||Heterodyning||To show that a Heterodyne or some other entity is Heterodyning.||Altered State|
Sparking: Usage, Notes, and Examples
God-sparking: Usage, Notes, and Examples
Heterodyning: Usage, Notes, and Examples
Infix Sigils Key
||Controlled body||To show that a character is present in a scene as a mind that is controlling a body other than the one it was originally born (or installed) into.||Identity, Technological|
Controlled body: Usage, Notes, and Examples
"X in Y".
The Controlled body (or more generally, container) sigil is used to indicate various forms of mind control or mind transfer: a character's mind in another character's body.
# is used is significantly different than the other sigils.
Unlike the others, which are essentially arbitrary, # is taken from the URL convention that foo#bar refers to the section named bar within the page named foo; this also carries over into wikilinks.
So if the character page for mind has a section named body (it's recommended that this be a subsection under Additional Bodies), then the link [[mind#body]] will target that section of the article describing the specific composite of that body controlled by (or at least containing) that mind.
Example: Lucrezia#Zola is a link to a section on the Lucrezia Mongfish page dealing with the capture by Zola (in her own body) of a copy of the copy of Lucrezia's mind which is contained by and at that point controlling Agatha. At this writing, that section also illustrates that a subsection link with no page specified, like [[#body]], refers to the same page, so within the context of that page, one can speak of #Anevka #Agatha.