Girl Genius (Weekly Blog)

I decided to give online comics another look this week. I chose Girl Genius which can be found at for free. I have heard many good things about the comic and all of them proved to be true. In general, I am still lost on the overall purpose of independent online comics – monetary gain cannot be the main motivation and the love of comics does not seem strong enough. Anyways, the medium presents some interesting insight into the industry.

In contrast to the last online comic I looked at, 2 Guns, Girl Genius is not created by industry-renowned writers and artists; instead, the comic is created by writers/artists which do not seem to seek industry success or interest. As best as I can gather, the online comic seems to be a way where a writer/artist combination can publish intellectual properties without the hassle of creation rights. Whether the publication is just a hobby or a committed effort, Girl Genius is important to analyze because it is a large component of the online side of the comic industry. In fact, the online movement seems to be a reaction to the distribution of the larger industry – regardless if its an anti-industry action or just another avenue for publication.

With online comics becoming so prevalent due to our culture’s saturation with the Internet, the implications on the comic industry can be immense. Initially, the effects cannot quickly be written off as utterly devastating or entirely beneficial. On one hand, online comics can become a pestilence in the industry because the very nature of “free” comics begins to wick profits away from big publishers. Readers may turn away from comics which cost $4.99 to a cheaper alternative – online comics. In contrast, online comics also serve the industry because they can serve as an effective vehicle into the broader comics world. Thus, new consumers would be introduced into the market.

In connection, Girl Genius certainly can be an enemy of the industry because it was a fairly well written comic. The use of sarcasm and quick wit was expertly employed which created a highly entertaining read. The art, however, did not seem very innovative or new. I still do not understand the purpose of online comics and how they substitute for the actual books. Can anyone shed some light?

3 thoughts on “Girl Genius (Weekly Blog)

  1. Patrick Rennie

    *laugh* Poor Phil Foglio! A working comic artist for three decades and no respect for his drawing style. Girl Genius is up to volume 8 in trades, so someone must like his work.

    The series started as floppies, jumped to the web, and then dropped the floppies, which makes it one of few properties to make that particular trip. Most of the other pros doing webcomics started on the web first and then went into print, usually in trades. The only webcomic first that I know of doing floppies right now is PVP, published through Image Comics.

    For regular thoughts on the professional side of wecomics, check out . For another professional drawing style on a webcomic, maybe check out Gunnerkrigg Court, with trades published by Archaia Studio Press.

    Enjoying the other reviews also, everyone.

  2. Douglas Harrington Post author

    Haha, I didn’t mean to disrespect the work. In fact, I thoroughly enjoyed the work. However, I still do not understand the online comic.

    What draws a professional-level writer/artist to publish a free intellectual property (IP) when their IP is potentially able to bring in major profits?

    Also, why did Girl Genius make the jump from floppy to the web?

    Can anyone help me haha? I’ve been checking out

  3. Ben Centin

    Douglas asked:
    > What draws a professional-level writer/artist to publish a free intellectual property (IP) when their IP is potentially able to bring in major profits?
    > Also, why did Girl Genius make the jump from floppy to the web?

    I read Phil Foglio’s work for years in paper form, but I think the telling issue for him is that he said that started making a consistent profit when he started publishing on the web. Since he was usually self-published when he was on paper, he lost a lot of money publishing, and then waiting on people to buy the inventory. As a web publisher, he can get pre-orders to pay for the cost of the actual publishing, and everything after the book comes out is gravy.

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