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June 20, 2009

Revenge Drama
Posted by Jim Macdonald at 03:26 PM * 41 comments

Those who have been reading Girl Genius right the way along already know this. Those who have read sporadically may not. Those who have never read the comic near-certainly do not. But we are now in Part Three of the astounding adventure, Revenge of the Weasel Queen.

This is a mini-adventure that is providing a break in the action of the main story line.

Comments on Revenge Drama:
#1 ::: Mike Booth ::: (view all by) ::: June 20, 2009, 04:46 PM:

No Girl Genius plug would be complete without a mention of Othar Tryggvassen's Twitter:

The ultimate serial drama: Every episode is 140 characters or less. Is anybody else doing this? It seemed like such an obvious idea as soon as I saw it.

Of course, the medium has drawbacks. Twitter drops the occasional old message. And it offers a really lousy interface for going back to the beginning of an account's tweets and reading them in chronological order.

#2 ::: Sarah W ::: (view all by) ::: June 20, 2009, 04:48 PM:

I discovered Girl Genius one day by accident. Six solid hours later, I'd read five years worth of pages and managed to snag a copy of the first collection.

I love the drama, the slapstick, the dramatic slapstick, and the Jagermonsters. I also like that Phil and Kaja Folglio don't take themselves or their work too seriously, except in that it is all extremely well done to the last detail and all thoroughly enjoyable.

And the storylines . . . marvelous!

#3 ::: Nathaniel ::: (view all by) ::: June 20, 2009, 04:53 PM:

@1: Fortunately, they also keep a complete archive of Othar's twitter, in convenient reading order (just scroll down a bit).

The first few storylines are silly and great fun. The latest one has turned unexpectedly poignant, touches on main continuity, and is just fascinating...

#4 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: June 20, 2009, 05:10 PM:


#5 ::: LMB MacAlister ::: (view all by) ::: June 20, 2009, 05:32 PM:

Mike Booth @ #1:


For the sake of accuracy, if not science.

It's Othar Tryggvassen, Gentleman Adventurer.

#6 ::: Mike Booth ::: (view all by) ::: June 20, 2009, 05:38 PM:

#5: Conceded.

Except that something in my fingers balks when I try to type "Othar Tryggvassen, Gentleman Adventurer's Twitter". That phrase just does not read right. Whatever it describes, it isn't what I'm trying to describe.

#7 ::: Mike Booth ::: (view all by) ::: June 20, 2009, 05:52 PM:

Nathaniel at #3: Thanks! If only I'd heard about the archive before I built one for myself using cut and paste. ;)

#8 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 20, 2009, 07:26 PM:

By the way, Turner Classic Movies showed Madame Curie this morning, and there was a line that'd have fit quite well in Agatha's adventures.

"There is no time for love in Science!"

I mean, Pierre Curie says while he is proposing to Marie.

#10 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: June 20, 2009, 07:39 PM:

Well, Shaenon Garrity started an LJ for one of her characters. Nick's a cyborg helicopter, and he mentioned being on LJ... funny thing, when a character in a book talks about their diary or notes, those writings are just part of the story. But when a webcomic character mentions something that is, or "ought to be" findable on the Web....

#11 ::: glinda ::: (view all by) ::: June 20, 2009, 07:40 PM:

Serge @ 8:

*hysterical giggles*

#12 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: June 20, 2009, 07:48 PM:

Meanwhile, Florence Ambrose finally managed to lock Sam and Helix out of the spaceship so she could get a peaceful shower.

She took a rubber duck, and we saw what she did with it.

#13 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 20, 2009, 09:21 PM:

glinda @ 11...

Some time ago, fidelio reviewed the DVD release of Fritz Lang’s “The Girl in the Moon” and mentionned another line that would fit right in with “Girl Genius”:

"Don't force me to take stronger measures, Mr. Helius. Choose the lesser of two evils--me!"
#14 ::: Rob Yurkowski ::: (view all by) ::: June 20, 2009, 09:32 PM:

Webcomic plugs?

Gunnerkrigg Court ought to be mandatory reading for any sci-fi/fantasy reader.

#15 ::: Dragoness Eclectic ::: (view all by) ::: June 20, 2009, 09:58 PM:

Hey, you have a whole blog post about my favorite webcomic! Awesome!

Has anyone else noticed a trend towards good stories with strong female characters in popular media these days?

"Girl Genius" -- strong lead
"Bones" -- strong lead
"NCIS" -- strong ensemble members, if not leads
"Stargate SG-1" - strong ensemble member
"Firefly" -- strong ensemble members
"BTVS" -- strong lead AND strong ensemble member

...just to name a few off the top of my head, and gee, did Josh Whedon start this? Strong female characters who are competent, do more than be the victim of the week to be rescued by the guys, still feminine, but have things to talk about besides the guys in their life?

Or possibly my personal preferences send me toward shows like that, but I don't remember so many shows with good, strong female characters back in the 70s and 80s. Regardless, I like this trend.

#16 ::: LMB MacAlister ::: (view all by) ::: June 20, 2009, 10:02 PM:

Mike Booth @ #6:

How about "Othar Tryggvassen, Twittering Adventurer!"?

(And how about that punctuation conundrum?)

#17 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: June 20, 2009, 10:03 PM:

did Josh Whedon start this

Wes Craven was already doing it years before Whedon's first movie. (E.g. Nightmare on Elm Street.)

#18 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 21, 2009, 01:04 AM:

I was quite happy not long ago when I discovered that my Girl Genius proselytizing had led to the corruption of at least two young minds - not just Ginger's son, but Abi's too.


#19 ::: Scott D-S ::: (view all by) ::: June 21, 2009, 01:31 AM:

Not just SCIENCE .

And I also really enjoy Gunnerkrigg Court. I am trying to encourage my daughter to read them both and share with her friends.


#20 ::: David DeLaney ::: (view all by) ::: June 21, 2009, 01:37 AM:

Two other more-recent webcomics that will almost certainly appeal to Girl Genius readers:

Dresden Codak, at - first strip is at , but it may make more sense to start with the Hob sequence, .

And 2D Goggles, starring Charles Babbage and Ada Lovelace. (They fight crime.)
Start at .

Both update slowly. (I may actually have found either or both as a sidelight particle here, but if so, they've since scrolled down off the bottom...)


#21 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: June 21, 2009, 03:23 AM:

#12: I wish to heck that Freefall would move faster. I burned through the archive and now I have to make do with three short strips a week.

I am allowing myself to read four pages of Gunnerkrigg Court a week, so that it takes me longer to hit the head of feed.

#22 ::: Charlie Stross ::: (view all by) ::: June 21, 2009, 08:20 AM:

Of course, Girl Genius is best appreciated to a sound-track of Thomas Dolby at his mad! science! finest:

"Good heavens, Miss Sakamoto! You're beautiful!"

#23 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: June 21, 2009, 08:46 AM:

Charlie Stross: true, she IS poetry in motion.

#24 ::: Pfusand ::: (view all by) ::: June 21, 2009, 06:22 PM:

I'm in a dungeon -- sorry, a Fantasy Role-Playing Game (FRPG) -- and we all read and enjoy Girl Genius.

Currently, our adventures put us on contemporary Earth, so when we need something, we look for it on the web. Even though there isn't a real Bugtussle, Iowa, we know where it should be, where the nearest real town is, and where the other Bugtussles are. We know how much our personal jet, a 1-11 [should have] cost, and we even know its interior layout.

We think it's hysterical.

#25 ::: Michael Roberts ::: (view all by) ::: June 21, 2009, 06:48 PM:

2D Goggles - WOW! That's a new one on me, but fantastic!

#26 ::: Michael Roberts ::: (view all by) ::: June 21, 2009, 06:51 PM:

I tried to get my daughter interested in Girl Genius, but my wife caught us. She has a low opinion of frivolous activities, unfortunately.

#27 ::: LMB MacAlister ::: (view all by) ::: June 21, 2009, 09:12 PM:

Serge @ #18:

Guess I should thank you for corrupting mine, too. Except that my mind's pretty old.

#28 ::: Earl sees link spam at 28 ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2009, 04:19 AM:

ESL spam.

#29 ::: Phil! Gold ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2009, 08:29 AM:

I've enjoyed Girl Genius for a while (and I believe I first found the link to it from *this* *very* *blog*).

My wife likes to point out, however, that although the storylines are fun, the artwork seems a continuation of the grand tradition of over-bosomed, half-naked women that superhero comics perfected decades ago. Even though the characters are strong women, she's turned off by the (in her opinion) oversexualized drawing style--any potental message about female power is mitigated by their portrayal as sex objects.

I still like the stories, but now I wince a little when, for example, Zeetha gets her clothes stripped off and then runs around for months (our time) with only the barest of coverings for her breasts.

Has anyone else had similar reactions?

#30 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2009, 09:54 AM:

Phil @ 30: For me, the over-the-top costumes only add to the over-the-top storyline. Plus, the bodies aren't distorted the way mainstream comics seem to do these days -- the men all have normal size shoulders, and the women have normal size chests, albeit somewhat uncovered. One other thing I just thought of: none of the main female characters relies on her sexuality to get out of trouble; Agatha uses her brain and Zeetha uses her brawn -- that's a big counter to the costumes.

I took a quick look*, just to make sure I hadn't overlooked any inappropriate anatomy, and I really don't have a problem with the way Agatha or Zeetha are drawn, although I do understand your wife's reaction -- the hypersexual style is one of the main reasons I gave up on Marvel and DC years ago. Girl Genius is definitely in the zaftig heroine category, so each reader would have to decide for herself whether to approve.

*No, really -- I wasn't catching up on today's episode; I was doing research.

#31 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2009, 10:30 AM:

LMB MacAlister @ 27... I also bwahahahah at the corruption of the young at heart.

#32 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2009, 10:39 AM:

Ginger @ 31... I was doing research.

Of course. By the way, today's episode shows the nefarious uses to which health insurance can be put.

#33 ::: Sandy B. ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2009, 10:57 AM:

I would call it a grand tradition, indeed.

I was going to say something about "Agatha doesn't get all that undressed", but it turns out that I just get distracted by all the OTHER cool stuff.

number of cleavage shots in that link: 5.
Number of things in that link I found REALLY FUNNY: 6.

Is it me or do those pajamas ... umm... match the snacks?

#34 ::: Lenora Rose ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2009, 11:13 AM:

Not denying the occasionally excessive run of Agatha ending up in her underwear (especially early on, but to be fair, Girl Genius does something few other comics do; which is to occasionally deliberately turn the men into gratuitous beefcake (And yes, this *is* different from merely showing men in spandex on a regular basis. Someone did a beautiful example of what male cover art for Batman, Superman et al would look like if it were sexualized like the female ones are, to demonstrate).

I suspect that part of the reason we get less beefcake that the male leads get significantly less screen time than Agatha. Only part, alas; I could use more shots of Gil without his shirt.

#35 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2009, 12:26 PM:

Also, Phil Foglio was spoofing the sexualization of fantasy imagery years ago, in his "What's New" strip for Dragon magazine. The style of Girl Genius is visibly descended from (IIRC) Phil & Dixie's antics.

#36 ::: LMB MacAlister ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2009, 12:40 PM:

Sandy B. @ #34:

Actually, I counted six (6) cleavage shots in that one. I just chalk them up as part of the fashion of the time. There are enough other non-current fashion cues going on to make it all fit in.

Speaking of gratuitous cleavage, does anyone besides me remember "Cowgirls at War" and other comics with super-realistic styles that accompanied R Crumb and others' underground stuff? They used similar styles to the then-current "Terry and the Pirates," etc., with heavy teardrop use a la Brenda Starr and romance comics, but with Lesbian BDSM backgrounds and heavy romance-comic dialog (which is to say almost none).

#37 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2009, 03:55 PM:

The National Lampoon Encyclopedia of Humor has "Cowgirls at War" in it.

#38 ::: Sandy B. ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2009, 05:20 PM:

#37: See? Distracted. And I seem to remember that Agatha wears more clothes as underwear than some people do to an office job.

#39 ::: Alex Cohen ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2009, 10:04 AM:

Late to the conversation here, but Making Lighters should definitely read the standalone Girl Genius story "Fan Fiction" by Shaenon K. Garrity.

#40 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2009, 11:00 AM:

Serge @ 9: "Catminator"? Not "Purrminator"?

#41 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2009, 01:25 PM:

Sandy B. @ 39 ...
See? Distracted. And I seem to remember that Agatha wears more clothes as underwear than some people do to an office job.

... but ... she's showing -flesh- and -limbs-!!!! And... she even wears ... [whisper] trousers! [/whisper]

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