If you would have asked me yesterday, I would have sworn I’d already written a blog recommending Phil Foglio’s work. I would have gone so far as to bet money on it. A lot of money.
And, apparently, I would have lost that money. Because today when I went looking for it, I discovered I’d written no such blog.
So, in an attempt to set things right, I’d like to talk to you about Girl Genius.
I’m guessing a lot of you already know about Phil and Kaja Foglio. They attend a lot of the big conventions. And, if you’re an experienced gamer like me (and by ‘experienced’ I mean ‘old’) you probably remember Foglio’s comic from Dragon Magazine: What’s New with Phil and Dixie.
Oh, and they’ve won the Hugo Award for Best Graphic Story the last two years. In 2009 they beat out Joss Whedon’s Serenity comic. And this year they beat out Neil Gaiman’s Batman story.
Yeah. That’s right. Their graphic novel Girl Genius not only beat out Whedon and Gaiman, it beat Firefly and Batman, too.
If that doesn’t convince you of how awesome their series is, I don’t know what I can say to convince you. How about we just look at the cover for a moment while I think of something sufficiently gushy:
Simply said, Girl Genius has everything I look for in a story. The worldbuilding is clever and internally consistent. The characters are interesting and multi-faceted. The story is complex while still being clear, and surprising while still being satisfying. (Which is really fucking hard, let me tell you.)
Did I mention it’s funny? It is. Consistently, honestly funny. I don’t need to tell you how rare that is.
It has a strong female lead character who’s good with science, which is nice to see. And it’s perfectly appropriate for just about any age group. In fact, I probably should have mentioned it when was putting together my list of YA recommendations a couple weeks ago.
If none of that convinces you, let me say one more thing. Every time a new volume of Girl Genius comes out, I buy it, then I read all the other volumes leading up to the new one before I let myself read the new one. I haven’t done that with a series since I read Dragonriders back in the 6th grade.
Okay. Enough gushing.
Because Phil and Kaja are really cool, you can read their comic for free over on their website. However, I have to say that the story really deserves to be read in book form, rather than sitting hunched over a computer monitor. I’ve read it both ways and it’s so much more satisfying to read it as a book.
In fact, I like this series so much, I’m going to put my money where my mouth is.
Here’s my offer. If you buy a copy of the first volume of Girl Genius, and you don’t like it, you can mail it to me and I’ll buy it off you for whatever you paid for it.
I’m that sure you’ll like it.
Here are the conditions:
- If you mail me Volume 1, it has to arrive more or less intact. It can’t be missing pages, crumpled up, or covered in jam.
- You need to include the receipt showing me how much you paid for it.
- You need to include a SASE.
As I type this, part of me worries that this might be one of my ideas that seems brilliant when I’m typing it, but later, when I’m not full of coffee and love, I end up kicking myself.
But you know what? I’m fine with that. What’s the fun of being a published author if I can’t occasionally do something lovely and foolish? In my experience being clever and careful is highly overrated.
Here’s the link to the Girl Genius website. Go on. Order the book. I dare you.
Edit: Rest assured that all nine volumes are in print. I know this because I ordered them myself just a couple weeks ago. If you’re having trouble finding them on the girl genius website, you just need to follow this link.