This page is intended for both new and established Girl Genius readers who need help keeping track of all the different forms in which Girl Genius has been made available and how they relate to one another. It is not intended to describe the story itself and should be relatively spoiler free, so someone who wants to know the name of the next volume or how the graphic novels correspond to the prose novels doesn't have to worry about having plot twists revealed.
For those who do want to know more about the story itself, that's what the rest of this wiki is for, but beware! If you follow the links in rest of this paragraph, you will be leaving the relatively spoiler-free zone. There is a brief description of Girl Genius and its themes and inspirations elsewhere in this wiki. Additionally, there are page-by-page descriptions of the graphic novels and informational pages on each volume, which can be found through this handy index page. Articles on just about every important person, place, and thing in the story can be found by searching or following the links on the other pages.
- 1 Purpose of this Guide
- 2 The Comic
- 3 The Prose Novels
- 4 Girl Genius Radio Theatre
- 5 References
Purpose of this Guide
The Completist's Companion
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 webcomic, which is still ongoing. The story in this form is somewhat more than half complete. (At the end of May 2021, the length of the completed graphic novel volumes of Girl Genius, including those completed online but not yet printed, was over 2600 pages all together.)
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 and electronic form in a variety of formats. For example, it has been collected into a series of eighteen graphic novels so far and the nineteenth is in the process of being printed and will be available soon. The twentieth volume is complete, and the twenty-first is well underway, online. The comic is being adapted into prose novels as well, by the original authors. So far, four prose novels have been completed, based on the first thirteen graphic novels, and the fifth is being written. The prose version of the story is not available for free online, but you may be able to find free samples of the ebook version from bookseller websites. While the print versions of Girl Genius aren't free, many people enjoy reading it more on paper than on a screen.
Vexing Volume Numbers
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.
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 webcomic, 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 websites.
Girl Genius is available to read for free on the Girl Genius website 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 from Girl Genius, Phil and Kaja Foglio's in comic form, 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 storyline. 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."
Navigating through the story on the Girl Genius website is done by means of fairly standard graphical buttons on the top and bottom of each comic webpage. In the current incarnation of the website, the navigation buttons have the appearance of arrowheads inside of gears. It may be worth noting here that the bottom set of buttons is below a section, beneath the comic page image, containing news and ads, so that sometimes a significant amount of downward scrolling is required to reach them.
To aid in navigating the comic, the Foglios have divided each volume into sections, which range from a single page to several pages in length. A new section usually starts when there is a change of scene in the story or when there is a break for inserted material. These sections are added well after the comic pages are posted online, usually several at once. The section titles often aren't updated for long periods of time, making navigation near the end of the webcomic a tedious matter of going through it one page at a time.
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 arrowhead) 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 webcomic, 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 webcomic 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.
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. Moreover, as of 2020, the chronology data is reprocessed into "Appearances" subpages. If an entity has an appearances subpage it will be linked at the bottom of the article for that entity. These list all the pages on which the given entity appears, the titles of the sections in which the pages fall, and the characters on each of those pages. So a particular character's arc can be followed easily, and meetings of two characters can be found by searching for one character on the other's page.
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 nineteen in number, with the twentieth and twenty-first volumes complete, and a twenty-second in progress, on the website. 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 webcomic 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.
In February 2012, science fiction and fantasy publisher Tor brought out a book which collected the material from the first three studio collections in a single hardcover omnibus volume: Agatha Awakens. This book didn't sell as well as Tor expected, so no further omnibus volumes were produced and Agatha AWakens is out of print. 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 webcomic 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 Omnibus
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 website. 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 website, 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 Novels
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.
Four Girl Genius novels, Agatha H. and the Airship City, Agatha H. and the Clockwork Princess, Agatha H. and the Voice of the Castle, and Agatha H. and the Siege of Mechanicsburg 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 Theatre
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.