Six Impossible Things

A Blog About Fiction and Reading

Girl Genius

Genius

Girl Genius Online by Phil and Kaja Foglio

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Well, this is a first, reviewing an online version of a graphic novel. I’ve been reading this series as a webcomic for a few years now, but this last week, the “101” class (the series for those who were just discovering the series) wrapped up and merged into the advanced class (for those who already knew what was going on in the comics), and I caught up on the rest of the backstory. I just have to say … whoo!

It’s been a while since I’ve been this impressed with a sequential art story, which is even more unusual for me to state, considering that I’ve been reading it for years. But having the luxury of reading many of these strips, back-to-back, all in the correct order without the cliffhangers from one post to the next, reminds me why these sorts of stories are meant to be read in clumps, and not from day to day. Megatokyo is another webcomic that’s better read as a graphic novel, which reminds me that I’ve been unimpressed with that story as of late, possibly for this very reason.

For those who don’t know about Phil Foglio and Girl Genius, I’ll summarize: Agatha Clay is a student at Heterodyne University, which specializes in teaching Sparks (those who show an aptitude in making mechanical devices), but who seems to be a bit of a klutz. One day, the city is invaded, and she escapes “into the wild,” where a lot of very strange things begin to happen to her. It’s a steampunk story, set hundreds of years ago, though with an incredibly advanced technology, and anyone not familiar with the Foglios’ style is in for a treat. They’ve been working on comics for a long time, and this is probably their best effort. The storytelling is among the best I’ve read, and they have a knack for appropriate timing and pacing. And the sense of humor gives this series, which can be dark at times, the appropriate humanity it needs.

Do yourself a favor and check out the series at GirlGeniusOnline. Now that the two “classes” have merged, it’s the best time to catch up on Agatha Clay and her adventures. If you like the kind of storytelling that JK Rowling and Terry Pratchett have perfected, you owe it to yourself to read this series, too. Just be prepared to spend some time reading through the archive.

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July 26, 2007 - Posted by | Graphic Novels, Reviews

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