Girl Genius
Girl Genius

"Are you not Franz Scortchmaw - Bone gnawer of the Heterodynes?" --Pretty Boy[1]

Franz Scortchmaw is the Great Dragon of Mechanicsburg[2]. He is a large sentient scaled winged fellow[3], more bipedal than most dragons. Franz has officially served as a Heterodyne monster in Mechanicsburg for a couple hundred years or so. He's not sure of the exact dates, because he spends a large portion of his time sleeping in an underground cavern in the general vicinity of Mamma Gkika's. (Which is where we first meet him.) He has been enhanced and adorned with various bits of Sparky tech, including radar and gauges that show his current power-levels. Befitting his name, Franz can also breathe fire . Franz has experience with questing.

Franz and the Siege[]

When the Doom Bell rings announcing Agatha's official ascension as the new Heterodyne, he awakes and comes forth to do his duty, lugging a very large sack full of gold. (Who better to guard a treasure hoard?) His first official act is to shower a clawful of the sack's contents onto the prostrate soldier of fortune Baron Oublenmach, as a reward for the latter's dragging the Doom Bell's striker all the way across town from Mama Gkika's, where it had also been stored. He then uses the bag as a bludgeon against the various monsters and constructs attacking Mechanicsburg. (Rejoice! ) During this, he is introduced to Agatha, and makes the ceremonial offer of having her roll around in the Heterodyne treasure. He's not particularly put off by her refusal; when he's not actively fighting, he comes across as pretty casual and laid-back.


...Oh. Right.

And then comes his confrontation at the gates of the city with the aforementioned Pretty Boy[4], a more traditional-looking dragon in the employ of Baron Wulfenbach. The battle doesn't go well at first, since Franz's power reserves are so low, but Agatha assists with a blast from the Zappy Stick, which peps him right up.[5] (His gauges and eyes actively glow when fully charged.) The fight is interrupted by the arrival of the Real Knights of Jove, but evidently gets picked up later off-screen, as the next time we see Franz he is wearing part of Pretty Boy's gear as a hat.

Flight capability[]


Click for Larger view.

Despite having wings, he is unable to actively fly the way birds do, most likely due to his strength to weight ratio. However, he can get airborne by using a contraption which was made for him by Master Barry that resembles a bicycle carried aloft by ducted propellers that are driven by a long chain. (It's implied that previously, he had attempted to use birds and kites..) He uses this device to transport Agatha up to the roof of Castle Heterodyne, where she plans to re-charge the Castle the same way she helped Franz. They are interrupted by the Klaus-controlled Gil, who jabs Franz with a large sedative needle, putting him out of action. But only temporarily; Franz fairly quickly recovers and at Agatha's enraged direction, kicks Gil non-lethally out of the city while Agatha gets on with the re-charging.

Franz is presumably trapped in Mechanicsburg when Klaus drops into the city and activates his Take-Five Bomb.

Franz In the Spotlight[]

A 2022 side-story, evidently set at some point after the main narrative, starts with Franz snoozing on his enormous treasure-pile. His nap is interrupted by an intruding human, whom Franz quickly detects (via smell) and locates (via a radar-gizmo attached to his arm.) Instead of being another idiot local trying to steal (or at least buy) a bit of treasure in a well-established rite of passage, Vipsania Perrault is a citizen of the Incorruptible Library, who has come looking to read a book in Franz's possession: a copy of one of the famous-but-mostly-lost works of the historian Masat. This leads the two of them to embark on an expedition together to another dragon's abandoned hoard, which may contain another of Masat's works...

Following the successful expedition, Franz decides to join Vipsania on another adventure.

Possibly Relevant Information[]

Agatha and Franz's flight to the Castle is depicted on the cover of the fourth Girl Genius print-novel, Agatha H. and the Siege of Mechanicsburg.

In the side-story, Franz evidently knowingly gives a direct quote from a highly-relevant section of J.R.R. Tolkien's novel The Hobbit.


  1. Fighting woids
  2. Word of God in the Studio News section .
  3. Are there— monsters? Like at Sturmhalten?"
    "Ho, yez. But here, ve all vorks for de Heterodynes."
  4. It's Franz who gives him that less-than-flattering moniker; evidently his real name is Lord Floriel Flametongue, but we never hear it in the comic proper.
  5. Fortunately. Agatha was actually performing an experiment. She does apologize ahead of time, referring to him as "Herr Franz".