Girl Genius
Girl Genius

Swartzwalders are bipedal bear-like constructs. They are better known in the comic as Krosp's bears, as he was constructed by their mutual creator Dimitri Vapnoople to lead them.

The Works[]

These creatures first appear as a card in The Works, with the label "Constructs", along with another card which depicts the Bärenkönig, the Bear King (labels "Bear" and "King"). This version depicts them as somewhat dopey-looking half-dressed creatures wearing primitive jewelry and carrying (somewhat less primitive) polearms, while the Bärenkönig wears an antlered skull as a necklace-ornament.

The Comic[]

While the name "Swartzwalder" is yet to be used in-comic, very similar creatures eventually appear in the Girl Genius "canon", working with the persistently forgetful spark Count Wolkerstorfer to waylay and assault the Corbettite Monks and their passengers (including Agatha, Krosp and Dimo) traveling on the Wyrm of Limerick, in an attempt to capture the fugitive Lady Selnikov.

These bears are depicted as being far more overtly dangerous, with no adornment apart from metal necklaces, and eyes that start glowing green when entering battle. Upon seeing them, Dimo immediately orders Agatha and the Monks to retreat, though it is not clear if he is operating on sensible first impressions or has some previous knowledge of the creatures. The bears in turn show disdain towards Jägers, while the Corbettite train-guards are able, with an effort, to dispatch several of them before Wolkerstorfer intervenes. The remaining bears then tip over the Wyrm, but not before the train's flying sanctuary cars escape.

Wolkerstorfer sends the unenthusiastic bears in pursuit, whereupon two of them re-encounter an unconscious Dimo. At first they plan to eat him, but upon smelling an intriguing scent on his hat, take him prisoner instead. Dimo is revived to meet their leader, called here simply "König", who instead of wearing a skull-ornament, has a smallish crown on a chain around his neck; he also sports a metal shoulder-guard emblazoned with the capital letter "F". König informs Dimo that the scent on his hat is that of the bears' secret, hidden "Master", for whom they have been waiting for some time. Unfortunately, the only thing the bears seem to know about this individual, apart from that scent, is that he/she has been on Castle Wulfenbach, and that their "Creator" is an entirely different person. This leads to the (erroneous) conclusion that the Master is Agatha.

König, demanding that Dimo lead the bears to her, later appears at the Depot Fortress of St. Szpac during the battle against The Beast. When introduced to Agatha the bear gently dismisses her, saying that he needs to talk to the master. Then turning to Krosp, he places himself and all the bears that he leads under the cat's command, as was promised by their mutual creator.

This leads to Krosp to realize that these must be the bears mentioned by his creator Doctor Dimitri Vapnoople, something that shocks both him and Agatha, as they assumed that the now brain-cored Vapnoople was talking about his collection of toy stuffed bears on Castle Wulfenbach. König then also reveals that the bears have been stuck working with Vapnoople's number one apprentice all this time and that "This bear is pretty damn glad you are finally here. ... Sir".[1] Krosp soon gives the bears their first order under his command: pinning down The Beast as part of Agatha's plan to disable the rampaging construct. One of them then (later confirmed to be König stripped of his metal accessories) transports Brother Ulm up inside the damaged and restrained train, where Ulm rips out its brain, causing a fatal (for Ulm) case of crushing. König survives, but he and the other bears are kept out of sight when Gil subsequently arrives at the Fortress with his army in tow. When Agatha recovers from the ensuing confrontation, she (and the reader) learn that Krosp has taken most of the bears and departed for parts unknown, leaving behind a handful including König, who has gleefully become the engineer of the newly-constructed Heterodyne/Corbettite super-train as it sets out for Paris.

It is eventually revealed that Krosp has taken the bears and covertly boarded Castle Wulfenbach in a successful effort to remove Vapnoople from the vessel. Commandeering a smaller Wulfenbach airship, the group makes a beeline for England, where Krosp hopes to gain asylum for Vapnoople. When the bears appear in this scene, they have undergone something of an artistic make-over, now sporting many different colors of fur and more individualistic accessories.

The Swartzwalders apparently include support personnel in their ranks, as a polar bear practicing medicine (Hippocratic Oath and all) has been seen tending to Dimo aboard the aforementioned train.

At least three of them stay with Krosp under the Dome and off to Big Rat Island, where they discover they are not a match for a pack of Horrible Rats.

Identifiable Swartzwalders[]

Possibly Relevant Outside Information[]

"Schwarzwald" (which, literally, means "Black Forest") is a wooded mountain range in Southwestern Germany from which the Danube rises. "Swartzwalders" may be intended to mean, merely, "denizens of the Black Forest".

The Foglios have confirmed that the doctor polar bear is a homage to a similar character who is the main protagonist of the webcomic The Whiteboard.

Questions and Theories[]

  • Is Füst, the only other bear featured prominently so far, a Swartzwalder?