The Girl Genius Poll

The big news earlier this month was that Agatha Heterodyne of Girl Genius had finally stepped out of the castle… that castle that she had entered on February 2008. Unless Agatha locks herself back in the castle again, I’d say that this is the end of the arc.

Soooo… what did you think?

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About El Santo

Somehow ended up reading and reviewing almost 300 different webcomics. Life is funny, huh? Despite owning two masks, is not actually a luchador.

Posted on November 13, 2011, in The Webcomic Overlook, WCO Poll. Bookmark the permalink. 30 Comments.

  1. You make it sound like she was in the castle a long time. It just depends on how you look at it. She was in the castle for less than 48 hours, using story time. The sunrise after her first night in the castle was here: http://www.girlgeniusonline.com/comic.php?date=20090306.. The next one was two and a half years later, when the doom bell rang and she stepped out: http://www.girlgeniusonline.com/comic.php?date=20111031. There were enough hints about the time of day in between that it seems pretty certain that it wasn’t any longer than that.

    A lot went on in those days, though…

    • Yes, but when it takes over three and a half years to tell the story of those 48 hours, that suggests a slight pacing problem.

  2. I still love GG, but this arc… it didn’t help that I caught up with the archives about the time Agatha got to the Castle, so beforehand I was used to a fast paced story… its been fun, but it would be nice for time to speed up a little now!

  3. Somewhere after 2008, I had a whimsy overload and I just stopped reading.

  4. read this up till she got to the castle because I was bored but the arthate took over me and I stopped reading. I just can’t stand the art. It is the worst thing.

  5. I have to echo the statements made above. I read it up to the point where she entered the castle, and stopped reading. Before then, the comic at least had decent momentum, but the blatant Mary Sue-ism, poor attempts at humor ( a spork gun! How hilarious!) and mediocre art finally caught up with it.

    And I’ve also found the insistence of referring to its own genre as “gaslamp fantasy” while going out of its way to hit every annoying Steampunk trope square on the head quite a drag.

    That said, it’s one of only two webcomics of which I’ve encountered issues in a comic book store. The other is FreakAngels, which isn’t a shining stars, either.

    • “Gaslamp Fantasy.” That just sounds so appropriate, it’s the only thing I feel I can call that kind of setting now.

      • I suppose that’s true, seeing as the Steampunk elements in Girl Genius pretty much take the function of magic in regular Fantasy. The same goes for its setting, which is “vaguely European” where-ever the main characters go.

        Then again, the same could be applied to most of what calls itself Steampunk, these days. I get the impression these people barely know what they’re writing about, but just think zeppelins are cool. And zeppelins aren’t even from the damn Era of Steam, either.

        • The problem that I have with much of what counts for Steampunk – and I have no idea if ‘Girl Genius’ falls into this trap: I tried reading it but could never get into it – is a simple one. All too often the creators get so carried away with the design aesthetic and coming up with retro-tech versions of pretty much everything regardless of how little sense it makes these things would exist and Where Can We Put The Sky Pirates? that they forget about things like characterization. And plot.

          It doesn’t matter how good the set dressing is – if there’s a gaping hole where the actual plot should go, you’ve got yourself a problem. Awesome design can’t carry a story: no matter how pretty the frosting is, you still need a cake to put it on. With a lot of modern Steampunk, frosting’s all we get.

          • My misgivings are the same. This also reminds me of an interview with Cherie Priest I read. When asked why she had a noxious gas which turns people to zombies as her main narrative, she said she wanted to provide an explanation for the attributes of Steampunk fashion, namely; heavy gloves and goggles. The clue is right there in the title. Steam engines are heavy, smoke-belching mechanical devices, but this apparently doesn’t figure into the thoughts of a lot of people involved in Steampunk.

            And that’s where the steam runs out, so to speak. Because what’s Steampunk supposed to be about when the things that are supposed to define it don’t figure into the narrative anymore?

    • Girl Genius predates “steampunk”. By a long shot.

      Google Trends shows the term starting in 2006. The first page of Girl Genius is dated 2002.

      I think the Foglios can call the genre whatever they damn well please, as they helped invent it.

      • There’s so much wrong with that statement that I honestly can’t tell if you’re joking or not.

        • Yeah… I don’t always agree with Piet, but he’s right. For example, I was first introduced to Steampunk through a book called the Steampunk Trilogy that I borrowed from ye local library. It was published in 1997.

          Look at wikipedia, the genre itself was formalized in the 1970′s (this means not counting Jules Verne’s stuff as steampunk) but didn’t get its name until the late 1980′s as a play on cyberpunk.

          Either way, the usage, the monniker, and an actual book called “The Steampunk Trilogy” all predate Girl Genius by quite a bit.

          • Foglio actually resisted efforts to classify Girl Genius as “steampunk” for a time, preferring “gaslamp fantasy.” But as he attended conventions and found a lot of steampunk fans coming to gush over his work, he relented.

  6. Man, the problem with this poll is it’s too polarized. I’m somewhere in between. I enjoyed the Castle arc, and it was important to the story, but at the same time, it was LONG. However, the pacing wasn’t all that terrible. I’ve read webcomics where it took a year or two to finish up a SLEEPOVER arc (that god that specific one has gotten better at pacing), so 3 years for an arc where several important problems are solved, several more come up, and the entire political climate of the setting shifts dramatically ain’t so bad.

    • If you enjoyed it, I would like to strongly steer you to Option 1. The second option, beyond hinting that it was too long, also includes an additional rider that implies you stopped reading because of it.

      (But yeah…. maybe I should’ve included a middle option. I’ve only heard opinions from either the first or second camp, though.)

  7. it seems all of you dont read manga where the main shonen series where big arcs usually takes years to finish(and like a hundred of chapters) and only cover between 1-3 days.
    (bleach hueco mundo arc, one piece ennies lobbies saga or just Goku vs frieza battle in namek)

  8. I honestly cannot read anything of Girl Genius before the Foglio art makes me go back to looking up Magic the Gathering cards.

  9. The thing about the art in the series is that the backgrounds are actually generally well done, even from the earliest posts. Decent value distribution, even the coloring is more than acceptable. But the characters! I think It’s weird to say this, but the characters probably wouldn’t look as bad if the backgrounds were also just as bad to match. But as that’s not the case, the poor anatomy and “melted butter” faces are a disappointment to just how much they stand out, and make you immediately think “Oh come now, that could’ve been drawn SO much better by comparison.”

    Still, the art here has NOTHING on Last Res0rt.

    • I do not like the faces either, and the proportions and odd and there are consistency issues, but I have a hard time calling the artwork bad what the background, props, and clothing are all so well done.

  10. “The big news earlier this month was that Agatha Heterodyne of Girl Genius had finally stepped out of the castle… that castle that she had entered on February 2008.”

    Kind of sounds similar to the time in between reviews here.

  11. We miss the reviews!
    And I have so many recommendations for you. Hope life isn’t treating you too terribly :(

  12. Let’s see, GG presents three pages each week. Times 52 weeks per year, and at nine weeks less than four years, that comes to 199 weeks, or 597 pages. Or roughly four volumes. Out of a total of 11 completed, running into 12.

    Yeah, that’s a long time to spend in one location; but on the other hand, an awful lot of stuff went on in that castle. And the entire story looks like it will compete with the Lord of the Rings trilogy for length, at least.

    I like to think of the Mechanicsburg Castle sequence as something like Foglio’s version of The Two Towers.

    As for the art — well, it’s a distinctive, expressive style which breaks from the standard “comic-book realism” most people are used to for adventure comics. Foglio ain’t Mark Schultz, nor does he try to be. You either like it or you don’t. I happen to like it.

    • “Distinctive, expressive style” sounds like marketing-speak for the scribbles we all drew in second grade. Which is funny, because the characters in Girl Genius look they were drawn by a child, and no amount of background detail or Photoshop effects can hide the fact.

      It’s beyond me how anyone can think this repulsive art is some sort of “break” from anything other than good taste. When I saw the splash on page 154, I had to open a Tintin book to remind myself what good art looks like.

      Foglio ain’t Mark Schultz, nor could he ever hope to be. For one, Schultz knows what a face looks like. So does Bill Watterson, Walt Kelly, and Albert Uderzo for that matter. This isn’t a realistic-vs-cartoony issue, it’s a hideous-vs-appealing issue, and Foglio’s art belongs squarely in the Nauseating-To-Behold camp.

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