Girl Genius is one of those comics that was on my radar for awhile – multiple Hugo Award wins will have that effect, and I remember when Corrina wrote about Phil & Kaja Foglio’s creation here at GeekDad – but never managed to secure a spot on my reading list.
So when Tor Books unexpectedly sent me a copy of the recently-collected first hardcover edition of Girl Genius: Omnibus Volume One – Agatha Awakens, it was a welcome introduction to this bizarre and entertaining steampunk adventure. This edition covers the storyline from issues one through ten of the original comic book – which covers the first three of the authors’ self-published collections – and makes for an ideal gateway to the world and its characters. It’s steampunk to the core, with its Industrial Revolution surroundings, airships, sideburns of true magnificence, and mad scientists gifted with “the Spark” of invention.
Agatha Clay is the Girl Genius of the title who’s struggling to find her identity and place in a tangled community of scientists and dynasties, professors and generals and giant robots, and she’s just a fun and well-written character. (As the parent of a teenage girl, I can tell you that despite her fictional surroundings, Agatha has a very real-world feel about her – I recognized more than one of those well-captured expressions and could easily hear the tone in her voice conveyed only in word balloons.)
Although I haven’t read the original editions for comparison, this volume has apparently been recolored and relettered, and it’s a real visual treat that encourages multiple reads to take in the details of the artwork.
Longtime fans will probably find this edition well worth putting on the shelf for re-reading. For those like me who’ve waited to give Girl Genius a read, you couldn’t ask for a better starting point.