Monthly Archives: March 2014

The New Girl Genius Game is Here!

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It’s finally here! The first Girl Genius video game from Gizmocracy! You play Krosp, who must defend the city of Mechanicsburg against an army of clockwork rats. You ride around in your little walker clank and pick up blocks and avoid giant steam hammers, and there are mouse-shaped dirigibles that drop anvils on you. OR TRY TO. MUHAHAHA.

The music is  amazing. Also, Phil voiced the Castle! The Castle “cheers” you on as you play. I think you can shut it up if you want to, though. Although I don’t really get tired of listening to Phil, you might. Here’s a screen shot: Rats 3x2 Pogos It’s looking great right now, but what I think is really exciting is that it’s quite a living game. We have a lot of plans for future updates will be a lot of fun! The Game is available for iOS and Android devices at the App Store, Google Play and Amazon. Go get it!

–Kaja

p.s. …and don’t forget the iOS Girl Genius paper doll app, which was also made by Gizmocracy, and is due for another update soon. (As soon as we can get Phil to draw those three Jägers he promised us.)

Edit: fixed two broken links. Sorry about that!

Watched Cosmos # 3…

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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 (http://www.emeraldcitycomicon.com/), 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.

I’ve Got Almost 26,000 Minutes To Go…

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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 (http://www.girlgeniusonline.com/comic.php) 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) (http://www.loncon3.org/).

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 ( http://www.minnasundberg.fi/comic/page00.php) 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  (http://spacetrawler.com/2010/01/01/spacetrawler-4/) 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  (http://scarygoround.com/?date=20130615) 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  (http://dresdencodak.com/) 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 (https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/cheapassgames/pairs-a-new-classic-pub-game). 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.

SCIENCE!

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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! (http://www.amazon.com/Brother-Astronomer-Adventures-Vatican-Scientist/dp/0071372318)} 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 (https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/cheapassgames/pairs-a-new-classic-pub-game).

I Want This “Muses” Deck!

FoglioPairs6A game featuring the Muses with art by Phil and Cheyenne! We’ve got only three days to go, so it may not come to pass, still, but I hold out great hope.

The Great and Terrible James Ernest over at Cheapass Games is finishing up a KickStarter campaign for a great little game called “Pairs.” Pairs cards are perfect for hosting all kinds of different pictures, and James got Patrick Rothfuss, Echo Chernik, John Kovalic and Professor Elemental on board, among others. You should really have a look at all the great decks that are already guaranteed to come out!

The only one that still isn’t a go is ours, the deck with Phil’s drawings of the Muses. Phil is all grumbly because he doesn’t feel like drawing all the Muses right now (he’s having a great time doing all this train stuff for the comic) so if we don’t get this going, he probably won’t draw the darn things until he absolutely has to. What I’m saying is, if I’m going to get this art out of him quickly, James needs to reach this goal.

As far as our own KickStarter projects go: all of the physical rewards have long ago shipped. Everyone should now have the goods they were promised. We have heard from a few people that their packages went astray, and Julie, our KickStarter assistant, has been working to sort that out. Unfortunately, since she started working for us on this, Julie has landed an amazing job that is keeping her very busy (hooray!), so she’s gotten a bit behind on answering people. We realize that this is a problem, and we’re getting more help, so we can get caught up. So don’t worry, we won’t let it all slide!

As to the intangible rewards: we should have the ringtones done by the end of the week! I can’t do any work with the fan video or the rest of the wallpapers until I’ve turned in the third Girl Genius novel, but it’s the next thing I’ll hammer at once that’s in. How long will that take? I should have the novel in by the end of the week as well.

After that, I’ll get wallpapers going right away, and the fan video…well, it’s going to take some coordination of helpers, but it shouldn’t be too long.

And what about our NEXT KickStarter? It’s coming next month. We have to do it right away if we’re going to have Volume 13 out in time for the Summer conventions, because we were able to get printer time for this May. That is, the book is ready to go, but the presses need to be free to print our book.

It’s going to be a much smaller KickStarter than last time, thank goodness. That’s because we don’t need to reprint a pile of other books this time, so we can stay focused on Volume #13. We love the fact that KickStarter has proven to be the perfect way for our readers to guarantee that they get the hardcovers and special merch they want. Also, we’ll have another backer medal for this one, which should be lots of fun!

So…watch this space. I’ll go work on that novel now! –Kaja  MusePreview

Keeping Busy

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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 (http://nathanieljohnstone.com/fundraiser.html). 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.

Assorted Sartorial Notes

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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 out fits 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 (http://viooz.co/movies/1872-les-aventures-extraordinaires-dadle-blanc-sec-2010.html). 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 (http://www.emeraldcitycomicon.com/) 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 (http://www.topatoco.com/merchant.mvc?Screen=CTGY&Store_Code=TO&Category_Code=GEN), 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.