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Tuesday, August 12th, 2014
12:18 am - We're In Cambridge Again

Cambridge is a charming little town that's been around for over a thousand years and every other building is  a college that can claim that it educated some famous alchemist or heretic (I said it's been around for awhile) that discovered phlegm or gravity or paper towels or some such. Every building that isn't a college is a bakery or a pie shop, which explains why everyone here looks pretty happy.

So, as my pie–besotted brain understands it; there is the town of Cambridge. It is home to the University of Cambridge. This is an aggregate entity made up of the 7000 or so colleges that you see lying about. A "college" is sort of what what we in America would think of as a "department", with it's own dormitories, laboratories, museums, greensward and jolly traditions that all trace back to sometime between the 1300s and the 1800s when some rich person wanted to make sure that their particular obsession was being studied, and became significantly less rich ensuring that this happened.

We are visiting friends, Diana & John Cox, who have graciously allowed us to reset our trans–Atlantic biological clocks at their fabulous, has a real estate listing in the actual Domesday Booke house. We can attest that eating pies and punting on the Cam have a very salubrious effect on us.

In a few days we will head down to London for LonCon 3 (, the latest world science-fiction convention, where we will have a dealer's table, expound on panels, and gnaw on our fingers waiting for the Hugo Award ceremony. While we will no longer be a–punting (unless there's a really great bathtub in our hotel room), we will continue to seek solace in pies.

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Monday, July 14th, 2014
11:41 pm - The Wright Stuff

A big shout-out to our very own Cheyenne Wright, who just learned that he is nominated for three (3!) ENnie Awards! ( The ENnies are awarded for excellence in assorted aspects of tabletop gaming, and since Cheyenne is a busy boy, he’s up in three separate categories. Good luck to him!

Speaking of awards, we just received our Hugo ballots, and were reminded that we are up for Best Graphic Story. If you are a member of Worldcon and want to vote for Girl Genius, ballots are due by August 1! If you want to vote for any of our admittedly excellent competitors, the deadline is August 2.

Here art home, we are gearing up for the yearly endurance test that is the San Diego Comic Con. We will be in Booth 1331, which is in the heart of the Webcomics Domain, and you should mosey on by if you want some of the best comics out there. Just sayin’.

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Wednesday, June 25th, 2014
12:01 am - Fun With Cats!


A few days ago we took the experiments to see The Amazing Acro-Cats. Which is a cat circus. Yes, I said cat circus, and it’s exactly what you think it is; a circus where all (well…most) of the performing animals are house cats. They are supposed to jump through hoops, walk on ropes, push and/or pull various carts, and play musical instruments. Astonishingly, they actually do what they are supposed to do more often than not. Admittedly, the chicken (Cluck Norris), played his musical instrument better than any of the cats played theirs. A non-cat owner would probably be unimpressed, but anyone who owns a cat was, frankly, amazed that they did anything, and let’s be honest, nobody but a cat lover would be going to a cat circus anyway, so everybody involved had a fun evening. The Acro-Cats tour across this great land of ours, and you should definitely check them out if they pussyfoot into your vicinity (

As I mentioned earlier, we had a bit of a surprise when 8000 copies of Girl Genius # 13 turned up outside my house as opposed to the distributor’s loading dock. Yes, we got it all sorted out, but we ‘liberated’ a few cases and this Wednesday (June 25), we will be selling these advance copies (and signing anything anybody wants signed) at Arcane Comics (, one of the many fine comic shops in the Seattle area. Kaja, Cheyenne, and myself will be there from 5 PM to around 7, so stop by, pick up some comics, and say “Hi!” If you’re feeling lazy, relax, it’ll be in shops in a week or two at the most.

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Wednesday, June 11th, 2014
8:18 pm - We Are Doing Something Different

This weekend Kaja and myself will be guests at Seattle’s own Indie Bookfair ( This is one of those little events that highlight local authors, who are usually delightfully hard–to–catagorize people producing the kind of quirky, offbeat books that cause the people in charge of stocking shelves in chain stores to frown and scratch their heads. They are excellent places to find something new and different, and to meet others who also enjoy discovering something that you won’t find elsewhere. We will have a booth where you can buy our books, including the newest volume, number 13, which landed on our driveway yesterday.

Funny story, that. Usually, when we get a book printed, we have to co-ordinate where all the bespoke copies go; The distributors, the warehouses, the Kickstarter fulfillment service, etcetera. Apparently someone at the printer decided to forgo that no doubt tedious step, and just sent everything to our house without bothering to tell us that they were doing so. Luckily, we were at home when the truck pulled up. (Okay, yes, in the spirit of truth, Kaja has pointed out that we hardly ever leave our house except when threatened or tempted by offers of lunch. This is irrelevant. It is entirely possible that we could very well have been out somewhere. Doing something outdoorsy.) While the bemused driver took some tea and read comics, our business manager, Carol Monahan, grabbed the phone and professionally hulked out. After a bit of mutual screaming, the books remained on the truck and were sent back out into the cold, dark night.

But not ALL of them! Before they disappeared, we exercised our prerogative and “liberated” several cases from said truck, meaning that we have copies of Agatha Heterodyne and the Sleeping City several weeks before anyone else will, and will have them this weekend. Yay!

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Tuesday, June 3rd, 2014
4:35 pm - Requiescat in Pace, Jay Lake

Jay Lake was a very nice man who wrote really well and got dealt a bad hand. Personally I think Main Spring is one of the most interesting books published in the last fifteen years, and I wish I could have read more books set in that universe. Towards the end, Jay had trouble reading print, which had to have been the final indignity. However we had sent him some Girl Genius comics, and he discovered that he could comfortably read comics. We’re glad he found that out. Better luck next time, Sir.

This weekend we are going to be the Artists in Residence at the Brass Screw Confederacy ( which is in scenic Port Townsend. They are billing themselves as a “Steampunk Hootenanny”, but rest assured that one does not have to be overly attached to either goats nor owls to have a good time.

Took the Experiments to see the play ‘Little Shop of Horrors’ the other day. It was their first taste of musical theatre, and they enjoyed it quite a bit.

Kaja and I got into a rather interesting discussion about it afterwards. She said that it was obviously written by an elitist East Coaster, as she felt there was a lot of mocking of the lower class. (I will say now that there are people who say that we don’t have ‘classism’ here in America. They are full of crap. It’s not as blatant as it is in England, say, but it totally exists, and the only people who say it doesn’t are politicians) I can see how she might see it that way, but I saw the play in its original run off–off Broadway in 1982. A lot of what she saw as classism, was, in the original production, merely mocking the at the time universal mores of the 1950’s. In 1982, the classic ’50’s was less than 30 years ago. Most of the theatre going audience lived through that time and easily remembered the fashions, household products and advertising slogans with which the show is peppered.

It’s now 22 years later. The ‘Fifties’ happened almost 60 years ago. Fashion has gone into a sort of free fall. Certainly there are distinctive fashions that are tied to a particular time, but these days, you can wear almost anything, so when Audrey, the female lead, talks about her outfits, we still laugh, but not because they’re an embarrassing reminder of what people were wearing a few years ago and possibly still have hanging in the back of your closet, but because it is a style that one sees in common usage amongst a certain subset of the lower class. Now I know that good art should age in such a way that newer audiences can still finds things about it that resonate with them, but I’m pretty darn sure this wasn’t something Menken & Ashman had in mind. Not really sure where to go with this, but I thought it a mildly interesting observation.

current mood: sad

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Wednesday, May 14th, 2014
10:50 pm - Busy, Busy, Busy…

The more perspicacious of my readers may have had an inkling that we have been busy, here at Studio Foglio. There have been subtle indications; I haven’t updated this running commentary on my life and/or philosophical musings for awhile. The comic has been going up in black and white, as opposed to its usual full glorious color. (I want to make it super clear that this was not the fault of Cheyenne. Indeed, we had several concerned readers wanting to know if he was once again ‘under the knife’. Relax, he is no closer to death than he ever is. No, we just got those pages to him very late.)

So what the heck has been keeping us so busy? A couple of things. We had a final intensive polishing session and actually turned in the third Girl Genius novel; Agatha H and The Voice of the Castle, to our long-suffering editors at Skyhorse & Titan. Despite what it says over at Amazon, it’ll be coming out in October. We will trumpet the details when we ourselves know them. We are pretty pleased with the way the book turned out, and are already working on Book 4; Agatha H and the Improbable Science Thing (tentative title).

We also turned in the Hugo Award nominated Agatha Heterodyne and the Sleeping City to our printer, so we expect to have that sometime in June.  Dealing with printers is still perniciously “old-school”, as you have to examine several sets of proofs. One for color balance, one to make sure that all the pages are in order and all the words are in the right place, and one sent via FAX, because they bought that damn FAX machine and by golly, they’re going to use it up before they seriously look into this “electronic mail” fad.

In addition to comic shops around the world, this will please the wonderful folks who supported our recent Kickstarter. To make them even more happy, we have been finishing up the art for all the extra stuff we promised, such as travel stickers, pin-up calendars and so on.

On a personal note, everyone around the studio caught some kind of hideous cold, that had us all feeling wretched for a couple of weeks. But could we collapse into our beds and drink hot lemon juice while binge watching Adventure Time? No we could not. We had to soldier on, and soldier on we did. Do I expect pity? I do not, I’m just letting people know whats up. That said, a little pity couldn't hurt. We certainly had none for each other.

On top of all that, I had to get a bunch of vegetables into the ground. This falls into the hobby category more than job, but if you delay things too long, then the growing season is over and you’re weeping over frost blighted tomatoes and eggplants the size of walnuts.

But enough with the excuses! We are back and things are looking good. We’ll be making a couple of exciting announcements in the next few days, and expect to see some changes on the main page. Peace out.

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Friday, May 2nd, 2014
7:19 pm - WOOT!

And we are funded! It’s like the internet has found a tangible way to show people how much they are loved. (Obviously there are people you love more than us, Internet, but we’ll take any visible demonstration of affection we can get and run with it)

So! Funded! Now of course, a lot of the real work begins. We have to finish all those add-ons, sign thousands of autograph plates, deal with pin and patch manufacturers, lick stamps, and of course, there’s all that gloating.

Tonight we will be having a few friends over for a Kickstarter and belated Birthday celebration (2 parties in one week? Waste and extravagance!), and then it’s back to work. Enjoy your weekend! We will!

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1:13 pm - Wait… What Did We Promise To Do?

Woke up to discover that we easily topped our ultimate stretch goal on this, the last day of the Girl Genius 13 Kickstarter ( This means that we actually have to make a serious film thing about how we make Girl Genius. Well, I say ‘serious’, but we all know that serious does not mean the same thing as ‘dull’, so we’re all looking forward to it. Kaja and I are huge hams, after all, and enjoy performing.

We thought about trying to cram another stretch goal in there, but nobody else around the office was was really enthusiastic about the ‘Women of Studio Foglio Swimsuit Calendar’ , or creating an Agatha costume large enough to fit over the Statue of Liberty (to celebrate International Cartoon Science Day), or even creating ’Studio Foglio-Topia, an autonomous micro–government and tax shelter 501-C Religious Institution.” I’ll admit that they might have been difficult to fund in under 4 hours, but then, many people around the office never thought we’d get this far. Proving once again that our audience continues to defy all expectations.

I want to thank all the folks who wisely purchased their books in advance, and thus made this all possible. The book has already been sent off to the printers, and they are now doing what we, in the trade, call ‘Printer Magic’ on it. Don’t look so surprised. One thing we at Studio Foglio know how to do is print books.

Oh, there is still time to get over to Kickstarter and snag yourself some of the only-available–to–backers-swag, but I’d hurry, if I were you.

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Thursday, May 1st, 2014
2:13 pm - A Couple Of Things Ticking Down Here…

For the last week or so, I’ve seen a lot of well-meaning posts wishing me a “belated birthday!” Thanks, but May 1 is in fact my birthday, so Happy Birthday to me. I’d be a bit more enthusiastic about it, but I have a miserable cold that is leaving me even more irascible than usual. When I get hammered on my birthday, I’d rather it wasn’t from NyQuil®.

Our Kickstarter for the Hugo Award nominated Girl Genius Volume 13 ( is roaring down to its final hours, and we are pretty pleased. Kaja and Carol have been coming up with all sorts of goodies to slap onto the stretch goals, so if you haven’t checked it out yet (or haven’t checked it out lately) you should do so. Today is the last day! Our last big stretch goal is a serious vid about how we make Girl Genius (as opposed to the hopefully humorous one up on the Kickstarter site). We’ve been wanting to make one of these for awhile now, with a lot of time lapse photography of actual pages being drawn. Back in art school, we used to love watching those, and found them mighty helpful. We fully intend to make one anyway, but if the stretch goal is met, it’ll appear a lot sooner.

This Saturday is Free Comic Book Day! Go to your local comic book store and see what’s available! One of our local shops, Arcane Comics (, is actually having us come in for a signing at noon. This feels kind of odd, as we are used to be ignored by the comics establishment, but Arcane is a swell store that always has our stuff in stock, as well as more cool comics than the mind can comfortably comprehend. So if you’re in the Seattle area, drop on by.

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Monday, April 28th, 2014
10:48 pm - Coming Down To The Wire…

Well our Kickstarter ( has only a couple of days left- so if you want to advance order your copy of Girl Genius # 13- the one nominated for a Hugo Award- then you had better get a’movin’ there, buckaroo.

If you’ve already taken a look, you might want to take another, as we’ve been coming up with assorted incentives, such as patches, stickers and the much asked for Corbettite insignia pin. All aboard!

We recently ripped out our entire backyard and pretty much leveled it down to the bare earth. I now have a hobby for the next few years. The most interesting thing I planted is a tea bush. I didn’t know that tea could grow up here, but it says that you can “Grow your own tea!” Now personally, I prefer coffee, but global warming will have to progress quite a bit before I can put in coffee plants. I will let you all know how this particular vegetable experiment works out.

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Monday, April 21st, 2014
7:35 pm - We Led Two Lives This Weekend…

What a weekend it has been. Kaja and I co–worked both Norwescon, our local science–fiction convention, and SakuraCon, our local enormous amine convention. Two booths, two teams of assistants, two different schedules, one car.

Our most grateful thanks to Carol Monahan, Alice Bentley, Ellen Beeman and everybody else, who worked hard so that we did have to.

Certainly the most delightful news from the weekend is that we are once again nominated for a Hugo Award for Best Graphic Story! Girl Genius Volume 13; Agatha Heterodyne and the Sleeping City. Awards are never a sure thing, of course, but as I’ve said before, the Hugos are one of those rare awards where just being nominated is a good thing. Personally, we couldn’t have asked for better timing, as this news comes out while we were running a Kickstarter for this very volume! ( Now you have even more cause to order this fine book, especially if  you are one of those exceptional people who enjoy collecting the limited hardcovers.

It was actually kind of odd, doing two cons at the same time. It felt like I was at one gigantic con that had two different dealer’s rooms. Sure, one part of the con was populated with young, energetic people in weird costumes, but the other part had weird costumes too. Everyone was friendly, and happy to be there, and surprisingly pleased to see us.

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Wednesday, April 16th, 2014
3:57 pm - A Very Busy Weekend Indded

As if we didn’t have enough to do, what with worrying about our ongoing Kickstarter for Girl Genius Volume 13 (, we have a convention weekend.

Most pros, when they attend a convention, pretty much just chat on panels, sign things and sit around at the hotel bar, staring pointedly at the empty glass in their hand. I envy them. But this is not the lot of those who toil for Studio Foglio. When we attend a convention, we do all those aforementioned things, to be sure, but we also run a dealer’s table. On the down side, we have to lug a lot of heavy boxes around and be on our feet for much of the weekend and be sharp enough to make correct change. On the up side, we get to meet a lot of our fans face-to-face, and at the end of the day, we have the cash to buy our own drinks (Not that we’re insulted when someone else buys– we’re proud, but not insane).

Well, this weekend we are doubling down in the most literal sense of the word, as we are running a dealer’s table at not one, but two conventions in the same town on the same weekend. (Okay, yes, Seattle and Seatac are technically not in fact the same town. But they are both conventions we can commute to, so that counts.)

The first convention is our local snazzy anime con; Sakura Con ( In the last couple of years, we’ve been asked to be guests at a number of anime conventions, even though we are not anime, manga, or even from Japan. But we are also not traditional American superhero comics either, and apparently that makes all the difference. Now the Professaressa has collected enough shojo romance manga that the house has started to settle, so she will be appearing at the Seattle Convention Center, at Booth # 432. Phil plans to be there Friday afternoon.

The Professor will be working it old school at Norwescon (, our local science fiction convention. Norwescon is a refreshing exception to the general trend amongst science fiction conventions these days. Due to the proliferation of genre entertainment and the acceptance of faux nerd culture, many science fiction related conventions have expanded and thrived at the expense of the core science fiction constituency. Thus in many places, general science fiction conventions that used to count their attendees in the thousands have seen their numbers dwindle down to hundreds at best. Norwescon, however, has bucked that trend. Possibly because Seattle has a very healthy book reading culture. Therefore, if you want to attend a great science fiction convention because you like the possibilities of the medium, but don’t want to sink into a specialized venue devoted to one particular movie, TV show or vampire romance series, them check out Norwescon. Kaja plans to be there on Thursday evening. Plus, in a move that dealers everywhere can appreciate, you don’t actually need a Norwescon membership to get into the Dealer’s Room. YAY!

Hope to see you there– Wherever there may be.

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Friday, April 11th, 2014
3:45 pm - A Nice Start! The Plan Continues!

Fully funded within 20 hours! Now if I could just keep up that pay rate for the rest of the year…(

Obviously the first thing we have to say is muchas gracias! Books for everybody! Our next thought is; Oh crap! Now we have to start implementing Stretch Goals! This is a very mixed bag. On the one hand, Stretch Goals are fun and exciting (Oh hey! Howzabout we put a sound chip in every book so that when you open it, you get a clap of thunder?) But you must be aware of how much these things cost. The annals of Kickstarter are littered with “sucessful” campaigns that found that they now had enough money to build every backer a cybernetic ham– and then realized– while at the post office with a truckload of wrapped hams buzzing and blinking ominously behind them– that they had not raised enough money to be able to ship them out. Oops..

This is one of the things we have our business manager- Carol Monahan for. Whenever she is not off doing whatever it is she does that keeps her “happy” and “fulfilled as a person” with her “family”, she is cheerfully sitting in our office crunching numbers, which is why I can say, “No cybernetic hams for you.” At least, not unless we raise quite a bit more. This is certainly possible, and we will no doubt be forced into devising increasingly unlikely and convoluted goals to justify continuing to ask for money. This is frustrating, as we don’t particularly want to have to come up with increasingly outrageous add-ons, we just want to sell a lot of books. I mean, theoretically, we could run a Kickstarter campaign for just 24 hours, Get funded, and then just be obligated to print a thousand books. Ho ho what screaming we would hear. We do not want to do this. You do not want us to do this.

Thus we must work with the current system, which means that if people continue to sign on, it’ll be ham for everybody. this is a burden we are willing to accept.

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Wednesday, April 9th, 2014
12:31 pm - This Is The Way We Do Things Now

Woo hoo! Excitements abounds! Today at noon (Pacific Standard Time) Studio Foglio flipped the Big Red Switch and we have launched our latest Kickstarter ( This one is for Girl Genius Volume 13- Agatha Heterodyne and the Sleeping City. Now, as some people might remember, we had a very successful Kickstarter last year. successful enough that you might be excused asking “So what for do you need more money? Did you blow it all on coke?” (On this point, you can rest assured. No one who does coke stays as fat as we are.) No, we calculated how much it would cost to get all of our books back into print, make tchotchkes like pins and patches and travel stickers, and hire us a business manager, and that is where the money went.

What we discovered however, is that using Kickstarter is the perfect way to do two things; One- Raise the money we need to pay our printer in advance. It is a sad fact that even though we have been using this printer for over ten years, they still insist on getting paid in advance. One would think that we have an established track record, but they claim that publishing is a tricky business in a tricky spot, and that established publishers go out of business at the drop of a hat, and their industry is full of stories of reputable firms sneaking out of town leaving large, unpaid bills and a warehouse full of unsold copies of the first volume of the latest failed vampire romance octology. This is hard to argue with, considering our beloved publisher of the Girl Genius prose novels -Night Shade Books- suddenly sank last year.

The second reason is that this has proven to be the best way to make sure that we actually print enough books to fill the demand of our readers, especially of the limited edition hardcover, which does tend to fly out the door once we start offering them to the general public. The last time, we had to short our distributor, Diamond Comics almost 200 copies (which, frankly, almost killed me). So don’t let this happen to you! If you even imagine you want a hardcover, get it now! The halls of the internet’s used book sites are filled with the plaintive cries of people trying to acquire copies of the earlier hardcover editions (and their screams when they find out what they’re going for [Yes, it’s a good investment. Just sayin’].)

Once again we are doing a ’shorter’ Kickstarter campaign. A little over three weeks, because if it runs for too long, we will go out of our minds, and because we want to get the cash in hand as soon as possible. This is because our printer, as untrusting and rapacious as they are, are completely booked up for the summer, because we want books in time for the summer shows, which would be a good thing, as it’s always embarrassing when we have to show up with The Same Old Books. People thrive on novelty, and if we don’t have anything new, they say hurtful things and throw rocks at us. This is why we always strive to have something to sell to those benighted, technophobic souls who rely on the vicissitudes of chance to get their book. Unlike you.

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Tuesday, April 1st, 2014
4:21 pm - Those Who Forget The Past…

Always have some good reading to catch up on. As long as we’re talking about history, let me recommend a nifty little documentary called ‘Stripped’. It’s an overview about newspaper comics, and where strip-type comics are going. It has interviews with any number of old newspaper comic strip artists, as well as a number of the new creators who are dragging the art form into the future. The creators are trying to get everyone to buy it on April 1 (today!) from iTunes, in the hope that a strong showing will help them get a distribution deal. This would be a fine thing indeed, and you should go and do so now ( Seriously, if you are of a historical bent, this film captures that all–too–rare instance where an old institution is fundamentally changing, as well as the people who grew up in it. It’s a fascinating look at otherwise intelligent people who simply cannot understand how the world is changing around them, and the people who are replacing them. This thing will play in sociological classes for the next hundred years.

This last weekend was Emerald City Comicon, where a good time was had by all. Thanks to the Booth Staff (who rather insisted), I actually managed to get out from behind the table and see a bit of the show. Picked up the latest books by Jeph Jacques (, Ryan Smith ( and David Willis ( Thus my productivity will be crippled while I sit around and read comics, but I console myself that it’s business research, and all such purchases are tax deductible.

In two weeks we are double–dipping at a pair of local conventions. Studio Foglio will have a booth at both Norwescon, our local science fiction convention (, and at SakuraCon, our local humongous anime con ( They are both in Seattle on the same weekend, which is annoying as hell, and we can only be thankful that Emerald City is no longer on the same weekend as well. Actually it’s not that surprising. I can pretty much guarantee that no matter where you are reading these words there is a genre convention of some stripe within a hundred miles of you gearing up for the Easter weekend. It’s not that aficionados of science fiction, fantasy and comics are particularly irreverent (that’s just a side effect) but a large party with hundreds of like–minded people does give you an acceptable public venue for burning off the effects of eating a third of your weight in chocolate rabbits.

Later this week, we’ll be shooting the video for our next Kickstarter, which will be a more focused event (thank Christ) for the next Girl Genius collection; Volume 13- Agatha Heterodyne & the Sleeping City. A busy week indeed. Don’t worry, we’ll mention it several hundred times in the next month.

Occasionally, one gets a bit overwhelmed by it all, and it’s hard to stay positive. I have found a site that helps quite a bit. It’s called Heal Yourself, Skeletor. On this site, the main villain of the old He–Man TV show comes to grip with the endless disappointments that he experiences on his journey to conquer the world. It is well worth checking on every day. (

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Monday, March 24th, 2014
11:00 pm - Watched Cosmos # 3…

It just keeps getting better and better, and the Experiments are actually looking forward to seeing it each week. I hear that Creationists are demanding “equal time” because the show is doing so well. This is Schadenfreude at its best, and fills a small dark part off my heart with happiness.

Everyone around here is running around getting ready for Emerald City Comic Con (, with is the first of the Big Three genre conventions we’ll be doing in Seattle in the next month or so. We will of course have a Booth there (# 704 ), and we’ll even be performing the Girl Genius Radio Plays, so a good time is guaranteed for all. The biggest chore was making sure that Girl Genius was pre-loaded onto The Internets, so that we can crash and crash hard Sunday night with nary a care in the world.

Actually everything around here is in preparation for something or other. We are getting our ducks in a row for our next Kickstarter campaign. The last one was a great success, so now it’s time to start printing new books. The plan is to have them in print in time for the summer shows. It’s also that time of year when I have to start planting my tomatoes, and since we tore up the entire backyard last winter, I have an entire plot of land to mess about on. I’m not planning on putting in a truck garden, but I could easily see myself aiming for self-sustainability. Did you know you can get hydroponics racks you can put into your garage? With that, and raising cats for their meat, eggs, and pelts, we could be “off the grid” by this time next year.

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Thursday, March 13th, 2014
11:01 pm - I've Got Almost 26,000 Minutes To Go…

So I wouldn’t call this “last minute”, per se. I am, of course referring to getting our nominations in for the 2014 Hugo Awards. For those of you who do not know, the Hugo Awards (AKA The Science Fiction Achievement Awards) are handed out by the World Science Fiction Convention. Unlike many other prestigious awards, the Hugos are nominated and voted on by the rank and file members of the convention. Furthermore this isn’t some trade organization or masonic cabal. Anybody can join. All it takes is money. Even if you don’t go to the convention (which is in London, England this year), there is an excellent reason to join, especially if you like science fiction (which is rather the whole point, actually). You see, for the last several years, the convention assembles all the finalists that have been nominated for the Hugos, and then they e-mail all the novels and short stories and articles and graphic novels and whatnot out to the membership, so that they can make an informed vote. Thus, you get several hundred dollars worth of reading material, all of it considered the best work produced in the previous year. This is a crazy good deal, even if you never set foot in the convention itself.

If you are like me, you’re already a member, but you haven’t quite gotten around to sending the nominations in yet (furthermore, if you are like me, you will vote for Girl Genius Volume 13; Agatha Heterodyne & the Siege of Mechanicsburg by Phil & Kaja Foglio and Cheyenne Wright. Published by Airship Entertainment ( in the Graphic Story category). Fear not! You have until March 31, and you late joiners can fill the form out online (which is also where you can join) (

Now if you peruse the web you will find any number of sites that will recommend novels and short stories, movies and TV shows. There are, however damn few that will recommend stuff for the Graphic Story category. This is something I can fix.

Now all of the graphic stories I’m reccommending are webcomics (and per the rules, all finished up their story arc in 2013). Partly because a cobbler looks at shoes, but mostly because I think that web cartoonists are producing some of the most interesting work out there. Here they are, in no particular order;

A Redtail's Dream by Minna Sundberg ( A refreshingly different fantasy story about godlike animals, alternate levels of reality and a talking dog. Plus the art is astounding.

Spacetrawler by Christopher Baldwin  ( A sprawling, hard S.F space opera comedy. If you liked Buck Godot, you’ll love this.

The Case of the Forked Road by John Allison  ( John’s a Brit, so I hesitate to give him the home field advantage here, but this is one of the best screw-ball time travel stories I’ve read in quite awhile.

The Tomorrow Girl: Dresden Codak Volume 1 by Aaron Diaz  ( Aaron’s quirky mad scientist girl comic makes us insanely jealous at times. You should find out why.

And finally, this is your last chance to leap upon the insanely successful Pairs Kickstarter being run by James Ernest of Cheapass Games ( It’s a fun game in of itself, and people who follow Girl Genius will find it of interest because one of the decks will be built around The Muses, the mysterious, enigmatically annoying clank girls who were built to guide and instruct the Storm King.  There are nine of them, and while we were certainly planning on putting them into the Girl Genius story eventually, we hadn’t been planning on having to design all of them this soon. Thus, as is common in art, our pain results in your pleasure. I hope you appreciate it.

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Tuesday, March 11th, 2014
10:12 pm - SCIENCE!

Just plunked the experiments down in front of the family monitor and we all watched the new Cosmos, with Neil deGrasse Tyson. Kaja and I were very fond of the original Cosmos, with Carl Sagan, and were very pleased at this new iteration. The science had been updated, the special effects were top–notch, and I thought a nice balance was struck between accessibility and informational content. The historical reenactments are done via animation, as opposed to dressing theatre majors in costumes and having them wander around parts of the old world looking visionary. Kaja in particular thought this was a major improvement, as when she first saw the original at the age of ten, some of her more unfortunate little friends didn’t “get” that they were, in fact, recreations. I have heard that certain people are annoyed that Dr. deGrasse Tyson was mean to the catholic church. Considering the actual historical relationship that The Church had with science in general and astronomy in particular. I thought it was fairly restrained. {Possibly because at the moment, the Vatican is actually pretty on top of the whole astronomy thing. We have the honor of actually knowing Brother Guy Consolmagno, the Pope’s Astronomer. Yes, the Pope has an astronomer, and he’s a pretty cool guy. (Follow him on Facebook! Buy his book! (} I also appreciated that, at least so far, we don’t have long takes of Dr. deGrasse Tyson staring rapturously at green screens, which is one thing that bugged me when I recently re-watched the original series. In summation, I was extremely pleased at how engaged the experiments became, and their joy at discovering that this was just the first episode of a series. Highly recommended.

In other news around the studio, our fellow toiler in the fields of popular entertainment and good friend James Ernest has a Kickstarter going. Kaja’s already talked about it a bit. It’s for a nifty little card game he’s put together called ‘Pairs’. He just made his latest goal, which means that he’ll be publishing a Pairs deck based on the Muses in Girl Genius. Great. Now we have to design them all. If you’re a Girl Genius completest, you should get in on this and pre-order a deck today (

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Thursday, March 6th, 2014
9:50 pm - Keeping Busy

Believe it or not, I find the time to do other things besides Girl Genius.

The latest such thing is a cover for Steampunk Fellow Traveller & Musical Guy Nathaniel Johnstone’s next album; Antikythera Mechanism. I did the pencils, and Cheyenne Wright did the color work, and I’m pretty darn pleased at how it came out. Nathaniel learned about said astonishing mechanism awhile ago, and it provided inspiration for an entire thematic album. He is in the process of raising money to get it put together, and you can help ( Now, whenever you deal with people who are determined to “Make it themselves”, there is always the fear that they’ll totally screw it up. You will be reassured to know that this is not Nathanial’s first self-produced album, and he knows how to get these things made. (I’m told he has got quite good at pouring the wax into the moulds correctly the first time, which definitely helps keep costs down.)

So check it out.

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Wednesday, March 5th, 2014
5:44 pm - Assorted Sartorial Notes
By George, it feels good to be doing the webcomic thing again. Apparently my life needs structure.

A lot of people have been interested in the coat Agatha is wearing. I didn’t make that up. It’s a szür, a heavy coat of white woolen frieze, favored by Hungarian cavalry riders. If I ever get to Hungary, I intend to get one. In the world of Girl Genius, where there is a lot less “mass media”, the majority of the population still wears local, or what we would call “folk” outfits. These are outfits, almost always hand made during the long winter months, that were usually evolved slowly over time and were unique to the region they came from. According to contemporary accounts, you could tell what village a person was from by what they were wearing. Certainly they had fancier outfits for festivals and major events, like weddings, but even peasants had outfits that were covered in intricate embroidery and odd stylistic quirks. If there ever is a Girl Genius movie, the costume department will be severely overworked.

Speaking of movies, we recently saw The Extraordinary Adventures of Adele Blanc–Sec. I’d heard a bit of hubbub about it in the Steampunk community when it came out. However I’d read the original European graphic novel and been extremely unimpressed. Plus it came and went instantly, so we never saw it. Big mistake on our part. We caught it recently and it was amazing. It was directed by Luc Besson, the guy behind Fifth Element, and he ever wants to take a crack at a Girl Genius movie, I, for one, would sell it to him for a dollar. We saw it in French, with subtitles. You can find it online if you try ( If you have no patience for subtitles, it just came out on Netflix. I haven’t checked that out. There may be a reason it vanished so quickly. Hmm.

Our local comics con, Emerald City Comic Con ( is hurtling towards us. That’ll be fun. There’s always a troop of web comic creators who shuffle into town for it, and it’s always a treat to hang out with people who drink more than we do. We will also get to sell some of the stuff cluttering up our basement. Don’t get me wrong, we’re always thrilled when people buy stuff through TopatoCo (, it’s what keeps the lights on around here, but, as I’ve said before, it’s always fun to meet our public and rip actual physical cash from their warm fingers. There are some things the internet can not yet do.

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