Girl Genius

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For some inexplicable reason, someone thought this comic should be archived in the Library of Congress.

Your tax dollars at work, folks.
Original review author: Lt. Art Major
Webcomic name: Girl Genius
Authors: Phil and Kaja Foglio
Start Date: The first page as a webcomic went up Monday, November 04, 2002, but it was published as a graphic novel February 2001.
End Date: Endless.
Genre: "Gaslamp Fantasy" which could mean anything.
Defining Flaw: It doesn't do anything right.
Summary: Agatha attempts to claim her role as the head of the most important family in Europe, which I assume will never happen because then there wouldn't be much of a story.

Rating Summary

Art: Artreview.png

The most professionally done hack job I've ever seen.

Storyline: Agatharate2.pngAgatharate2.png

I think it's supposed to be about geopolitics in a fantastic Europe told from the viewpoint of the heir to the most powerful dynasty ever, but it's really about how cool Agatha (the main character) is removed from whatever she's supposed to be doing.

Characters: Agatharate1.png

There's fifty of them and I don't know anything about them other than what they think about geniuses.

Miscellaneous Details: Facerate.png

The whole webcomic is miscellaneous details.

Overall: Niceface.pngNiceface.pngNiceface.pngNiceface.pngNiceface.png

This is not a five star review, I just wanted to paste this face five times.


Girl Genius has been on the Bad Webcomics Wiki radar for a bit less than a decade. The old forum made a thread on it back in 2010 and added it to the most wanted list in 2011. No one ever did it because... no one wanted to do it. Girl Genius is actually a pretty popular webcomic. Girl Genius is so old. If you account for the planning stages, it dates back to 2000. The fact that it has lasted that long and is still profitable as a free webcomic is impressive. It's also baffling in that anyone would give it any money and let it last as long as it has. This webcomic is so long I did not finish it. I made it to about 1000 pages and quit. So this review is more like a review of the first eight-nine chapters but I skipped to the end and it looks and reads the same (it arguably becomes worse) so I don't feel like I'm missing out.


The first thing you see in Girl Genius Chapter 2.

I'll say more in the art review below but the artist who helped in the first chapter left for reasons I did not research and the rest of the webcomic looks like garbage in comparison.

Art Review

If you have ever taken an art class, you would know about the sphere. I took one semester of an art class my whole life and I know about the sphere. It looks like this.

This one.

The point of this sphere is too teach budding artists how to shade and show depth and other artistic ventures. Kaja Foglio, I can tell, is a huge fan of this sphere, because all the people in this webcomic are shaded like this sphere, regardless of wherever the light source is coming from.


The light on every object in Girl Genius focuses on a point, even though if you look to the side at anything, light doesn't focus at a point it conforms with the planes of an object. Unlike most critics, I'm not even going to pretend I care about realistic shading, or looking realistic at all. Anything can look good, realistic or not. The issue is this webcomic tries to portray (in text) that these characters are supposed to be very elegant and beautiful looking.


I can't buy it. These character are some of the most fugly looking things I have ever conceived.


I hate this image. I think I hate this image the most of all the visuals in Girl Genius. Every separate object in this panel is formed differently.


Here we have the cream of the crop when it comes to Girl Genius' horrible art. These are three faces made in three different ways. To bring it back to how these characters are shaded, notice that the skin is shaded like it's a three dimensional object, but all the clothes (when complex) and faces are all two dimensional and look pasted on. This is not good form.

Girl Genius' idea of world building is an overtly elaborate coffee pot.

Writing Review

Nice going.

There isn't a lot to say about the writing in Girl Genius, which is interesting, as there is a lot of it. The writing honestly isn't that bad, if you read it you can tell what's going on, which is the least you can ask for when it comes to writing. The main issue with it is there is too much of it. Some times a page is covered with long paragraphs of information, which meshes horribly with how the plot is full of threads that never get resolved. I think Phil missed the memo that webcomics are supposed to be a mostly visual medium. If a page is mostly words, it doesn't really constitute as a comic anymore.

I can't say the same about the character writing. Most of the time it's not really explained how important a character is, or why the character is important. Most characters are defined by how much of a friend they are to Agatha, the Girl Genius. By the way, for a Girl Genius, she sure is stupid. Most of the plot's consequences come from here messing something up badly. The first chapter's conflict spirals from her getting mugged from her locket. She tells everyone except the police that she has to get it back. Every volume is like that, she screws something up and she has to put it back. The genius part comes from laughing manically at a test tube.

Author Biography

Phil and Kaja made a webcomic called Girl Genius and won three Hugos. I sure wish my writing would win a Hugo. NOT!

Phil and Kaja Foglio coming up with genius ideas for their webcomic.


Girl Genius is boring and you shouldn't read it. I made this review more terse than usual to spite how long the webcomic is. Bye.