Notes on Girl Genius
20 November 2004
28 August 2002
A listing of various things I find noteworthy in Phil Foglio's comic Girl
Genius, hopefully avoiding the more obvious stuff (such as "Know Enough To Be
Comments from KG.
Secret Blueprints for Volume One
- Dr. Beetle is holding a trilobite in a bell jar. Spare locket?
- Last page... is that an amalgam of Girl Genius symbols, or a Heterodyne
pastiche? Trilobite on top, Jagermonster symbol on bottom, lots of gears.
Volume One #1
- page 2: The Storyteller sits at the "Kaja" storefront. Makes sense, if
the Storyteller is Phil. We can also see "LONG LIVE THE TYRANT".
- page 5: note the snail(?) Agatha nearly kills by accident. Also the
embroidery on Omar's right leg is nearly gone. And the poster says "Report
- page 6: Moloch is drinking "Old Electroplate". Yeesh!
- page 9: Hey, she's having a headache from intensity without her locket
- page 10: Don't those bell jars look nice? Remember, Dr. Beetle is a
"Hero". The Game says so! Also a reference to Prof. Vogel's Americas attempts.
- Note the beetle symbol almost everywhere.
- 16: The Jagermonster has a birdwinged tower on his cap, as with other
Wulfenbach retainers. The clanks have a cruder version, and the right one has
a monster half-skull on its shoulder.
- page 17: Klaus seems to forget about the whole electrical incident.
- page 19: I thought it was obvious, but clueless reviews on the net
disabused me: allegedly clueless, bumbling, Agatha is already picking up on
the flaws in what Klaus is telling Gilgamesh -- stuff Glassvitch and Merlot
didn't catch in three months. -- Also, the Jagermonster now has a batwinged
- page 21: Note the goldfish, on this page and for the rest of the issue.
It'll have an expression or two in #2, but isn't as interesting. Also, that
looks like a baby saguaro cactus. Like the ones in Arizona. What's it doing
- page 22: "How I do it". "Phlogysten". "Have these people--" What? What
was Klaus going to say? "Killed"? "Punished"? "Kept away from anything
I've paid for"? This would have said a lot about his character.
- page 23: "You will receive new assignments tomorrow." But Beetleburg is
supposed to be independent... why are they necessarily taking assignments from
him? Besides his being about to occupy the city, of course.
Volume One #2
- page 27: How did Tock know to intervene?
- page 31: "the best... machines on the planet". On the whole planet?
Cool. Also: "The Switch".
- page 33: Was he really aiming for Gilgamesh (and Agatha)? Oh! People
have asked why he was aiming for Gilgamesh. Maybe he was aiming for
- page 35: "You killed him!" "Permanently. A pity, that." I like some
aspects of this world.
- page 37: Is Castle Heterodyne a place of punishment because Klaus is
vindictive? Or because the Other trashed it so much? Or because generations
of Heterodynes left behind Europe's best torture chambers? Alternately, maybe
it's just the construct recycling labs for Klaus, with 'punishment' being a
side-effect of "you screwed up, let's make something useful out of you."
- page 39: "Petty." A comment on Agatha, like the earlier "Pathetic", or a
comment on Merlot? Note the Jagermonsters have jagged word balloons. Note
the Jagermonster looking proud on Mr. Tock's remains.
- page 41: Socialist Realist Adam.
- page 46: Nice bedroom for a science kid. Prime numbers near the
ceiling, skeletal fish, lots of diagrams, things flanking the bed which look
kind of like Beetle's clanks, hand skeletons from different ages...
- page 51: the thing by the lamp definitely looks like the head of a
- page 53: Look! A bird! And "Turnips 'R' Us". Toto, I think we're in
Volume One #3
- page 53: "Pierogies". Toto, did I mention we're in Eastern Europe?
- page 57-59: Gil's damn quick and agile. "Faster than a speeding
locomotive", or least speeding clank arm.
- page 63: "Ve hunt!" Those poor, knitting, Jagermonsters. Finally some
- page 66: Detailed linework, yet blurred and speedy. This is a
- page 73: The Jagermonster seems to be smelling the smell of poorly made
constructs. And then he smells a Heterodyne. -- Also, one's lifting a wagon
- page 71: "I caught my father in a mistake!" BTW, note that Gil isn't
wearing a Wulfenbach locket; he's wearing one of my doodles, coincidentally.
Volume One #4
- Hey look, no page numbers. I'll pretend Agatha going "yawn" is #1.
- page 3: I suspect it's safer to tell the Baron he made a mistake than to
lie to the Baron.
- page 4: "Advanced Mechanics for the Mad"
- page 6: waxworks? What waxworks?
- page 8: And there's Krosp, hiding under the bed. Or so Kaja tells me.
- page 11: "Welcome to the bottom of the heap". Hoo boy, we can anticipate
that getting overturned. Heterodyne, and so sparky she needed an inhibitor at
- page 12: The Baron hid Gil's spark? Aha! Foreshadowing for Agatha, for
those readers who don't know her real heritage yet. -- Look, a mimmoth. And
"oil of olay".
- page 13: Turnip paste. Gator sauce. Ant gravy. Eel juice seems normal
to me, somehow.
- page 15: Look at the guy in blue jeans. Wonder at the guy in blue jeans.
Also note the identical guys in purple, who are probably the footmen
we will see next issue.
- page 19: Note you can see Agatha _and_ Zoing looking in shock back up at
- page 22: ... I should calculate the minimum size for a useful blimp, and
compare the little bitty ones with the behemothaur. I'm betting it's a few
kilometers long. -- I wonder about the figuremask up front; the original
Wulfenbach symbol, perhaps? -- Konrad notes the gunship labelled "PEACE?" --
Klaus is interested in intelligence, enforces peace through stomping and
doesn't censor people, and raised his son in a houseblimp. Er, zeppelin.
He's my hero.
- page 26: I didn't know the Jagermonsters were supposed to be green. Not
sure I like it. Of course Khrizhan seems a lot larger than the grunts we've
seen so far, so maybe I should wait. Can I be sure he's a Jagermonster? Yes:
voice baloon, the smelling good, the belt buckle on page 27 and the knee
buckle on page 26.
- page 30: Look, von Pinn wears a chastity corset. Or something.
- Ah good, explication of the Americas issue. Very good analysis, too.
Volume One #5
- cover: Note Lucrezia is wearing a trilobite locket.
- page 112: She's already heard about Agatha?
- page 113: von Pinn's holding Agatha were her right hand.
- 114: left hand now.
- 115: Note von Pinn looks surprised. Either Phil screwed up, or
Agatha managed to give von Pinn a command.
- 116: Agatha bawled like a baby when the Jagermonster came for her. Why
is she so fearless of von Pinn? And why does one boy have a clock in his
- 117: Note Lucrezia's nephew is wearing a trilobite. -- Now now Agatha,
don't fall for your cousin. Well, maybe it's okay.
- 118: This is a good story. I was believing it was genuine for a while.
- 120: Above Klaus is a head which bears some resemblance, including tusks,
to the figurehead of Castle Wulfenbach. The main difference is the ears which
are much more obvious on this one.
- 123: Barry doesn't wear a trilobite locket.
- 124: the double fish decor on the big fish matches von Pinn's watch. --
Klaus doesn't have a flying castle symbol yet, which is correct.
- 126: "Portable claw. Use only for Good." -- Dr. Mongfish lacks a logo.
Besides his own claw.
- 129: Lucrezia is now wearing a trilobite locket. It wasn't obvious when
she first appeared.
- 131: Theo doesn't endorse the Lucrezia-von Pinn theory.
- 132: Are Punch and Judy the popular names of Adam and Lilith? I can see
where "really hated" would come from.
- 133: Gil got to Agatha about Dr. Beetle.
- 135: Zulenna also wears trousers. Also, she's pretty good with small
- 137: I hadn't thought of the possibility of it being brand new myself. --
I think this exchange also indicates that Klaus didn't go off and pretend to
be the Other and then come back.
- 138: I assume this is Krosp again.
- 140: Klaus's initial reaction is "Are you all right?" This says good
things about him. Also, he's unfazed by a runaway hive engine. -- the
footman's eyes are green. They aren't in the next two pages.
- 142: More solid evidence that von Pinn is not, in fact, Lucrezia.
Assuming Klaus knows her origin. -- I like his surprise at "Dragon from Mars"
and his wanting to hear the story...
- 143: More mimmoths up top. -- Intrigue! Someone lied to von Pinn? von
Pinn is lying to the students? -- The fishbowl from Beetle's lab is here.
Apparently equipped with tank treads, and either a trilobitic friend or
controls for the fish to move around with.
- 144: "Potable ballast." Like water?
- 146: Othar Trygvasson, I presume. Held prisoner? With a bomb between his
ankles? Best not to speculate, I won't get anywhere...
Volume One, #6
- Othar looks big. Is he supposed to be superhuman in size, or is
it just weird perspective?
- Othar "I'm from the Star Trek universe" Tryggvasson appeals to sentient
rights. Agatha, a good Spark, seems less than impressed.
- Some Jagermonsters -- excuse me, Jagerkin -- are smarter than others.
- Jagergenerals are much bigger. Made to intimidate the enemy? Or keep
the Jagerkin in line? Or just so that it'd be hard to take out the
commanders? Can they take Von Pinn?
- They seem to have guessed she's a Heterodyne. At least one of them
probably think their lives will be simpler if she'd hook up with Gil; then
they wouldn't have a divided loyalties problem. Kirzhan I guess has some idea
of delicacy. Note they were able to get Agatha comfortably chatty in short
order -- natural charm, or her own adaptability?
- Ron Martino thinks the "kestle" is 'castle' in English, which makes
sense. Castle Heterodyne. As he says, maybe that's why being sent there is a
punishment -- a mad, sentient building as your prison.
- Moloch thinks he'll be sent to Castle Heterodyne. Seems harsh for not
being a Spark. Did Dr. Dimitri come from there? ... he's pretty chilling.
Gil's smiles to Moloch look pretty evil too.
Volume One, #7
- Is this still Volume One? Doesn't say anywhere. No page numbers either,
I'll have to make them up.
- 4. Oops, maybe we've found Klaus's evil streak. Then again, maybe he only
does this to Evil Overlords, Disobedient Underlords, and People Who Try To
Blow Up His Dirigible. But Krosp's creator won't obviously fit into that.
Unless it was the creator who ordered Krosp destroyed, and Klaus didn't like
that. Note, though, that Klaus does seem to try to do something for his
victims -- as opposed to the abandoned constructs we've seen in Issue One and
in "Agatha Heterodyne and the Electric Coffin". There's a sense of
- Probably we've found out what Beetle feared.
- 7. Look, I was right. Klaus is doing this Pax thing because he feels he
has to, not because he enjoys it. No surprise, really -- "Damnit Jim, I'm a
scientist, not an administrator!"
- Hmm. He refers to the adventures and fights with the Heterodynes, not
the Doing Good.
- 8. Hey, Klaus, there are these neat things called doorlocks...
- 9. "Work with Dumedd." Hmm.
- 10. On my re-read I saw Othar looking at the knife.
- 13. Hey, all this meant something to Klaus. And he was about to share
it with Othar.
- 23. Gil is a good fencer. Agatha is a good shot.
- 26. Klaus has construct Franken-stitches. Hello! And is capable of
beating up Othar confidently. Well, makes sense if he's a construct.
- 27. Gil can also beat up Othar.
- 28. Gil really hates Othar. Some incident from college?
- 30. He, Zoink can speak, sort of. I know, it said "Make tea whew"
- 32. "Yes mistress" ?
- 37. "The Baron sees a bigger picture"? Sure, but what? -- last page,
here. Can't complain about the size of the issue.
Here I preserve some neat stuff from the club discussion, which is
unsearchable, with more of my own thoughts mixed in. Attributions shall be
anonymous until authors take credit.
Someone on the Yahoo! club speculates that even if von Pinn isn't Lucrezia,
there could still be some connection between her and the Mongfishes -- and
then notes that Agatha could be the Mongfish heir, not just the Heterodyne
heir. Between her and the Jagermonsters Klaus may have surrounded himself
with powerful constructs who'll switch loyalties to Agatha.
- I speculate that Klaus is trying to be a good minimalist ruler, and
testing Gil not for the Spark, but for being a decent ruler. Imagine his
horror at this immature 18 year old suddenly developing a massive powerbase of
Sparkiness and killer constructs. Sure, we like Agatha, but do we really
think she's ready for power?
- This speculation also means that all of the powerful constructs around
Klaus, with the possible exception of Gil and himself, weren't constructed by
him. He's the Clank and Airship master instead. Is he not good at
constructs? Does he not like messing with life that much? Of course,
supposedly Krosp was a sponsored experiment, with sponsored termination. Oh
wait, and there are all those identical footmen. So yes, constructs. But not
- Someone speculates that the Heterodyne family Spark is the ability to
work with other Sparks. Seems odd for a bunch of evil overlords, but it
certainly sounds cool.
- Someone says the Castle should have a massive secretarial pool and
library. I note that Boris has an eidetic memory, solving at least the latter
- On the religion front, the Jagermonsters were created by Vlad the
Blasphemous, implying a concept of blasphemy. Note how much punishment the
blasphemy seems to have attracted. Right, none. Maybe that's part of what
happened to religion.
More notes, 20 Nov 2004 (yes, two years later), as of issue #13
We now seem to know that von Pinn is indeed a Mongfish construct. She
wanted to get her hands on Agatha. It's not clear to me if that was "reform
wayward Mongfish" or "KILL KILL KILL".
Klaus's words about Agatha: "Do you think I would accept the chaos that
letting an untried Heterodyne heir run loose would cause?" I think
he's not averse in principle to Agatha, he's just wary, and was informed at a
rather bad moment, in a bad way.
I'm speculating that the Heterodyne Spark also involes mixing clanks and
constructs. I have no basis for this, except that it'd be cool if the Kestle
turned out to be both mechanical and biological.
Those indentical footmen, the Lackya, turned out to be yet more adopted
constructs. We know the Hoomhoffers are too, because we saw them rampaging
when Klaus and baby Gil returned to Europe. There's still the Dreen, though.
We seem to know at least part of why Gil hates Othar; Othar wants to Kill
Them All. Good reason.
Go to what we know.
Or Comments from KG.
Back to me.