Agatha Heterodyne and the Beetleburg Clank – Phil and Kaja Foglio
Airship Entertainment, 2011
In a town of mad inventors where automated giants guard the university gates and resurrection is just a matter of the right bits staying intact, Agatha Clay is no one important. Whatever clanks she tries to make blow up and no one, not even her kindest professors, take her seriously. Then one day Baron Wulfenbach shows up at the university with his son, his clanks and an impossible demand, and Agatha’s life begins to unravel at the edges – revealing the secrets that lie underneath.
This graphic novel/comic, the first volume in the Girl Genius series, is pretty much perfect. It’s sharp and witty and intelligent, the artwork is excellent, and all the characters are enormous fun to be around. The story continues in Volume 2, Agatha Heterodyne and the Airship City. Confusingly, that is also the name of the Foglios’ first novelisation of their series, but because the internet is wonderful and the Foglios are too, all of Girl Genius to date (plus some excellent extras) is available for free on their website, with new pages posted every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. (I caught up on over ten years worth of the story in a matter of months because I simply could not stop reading. Be warned!)
If you don’t know what a Jägermonster is yet, you are missing out.