Girl Genius’ Epic Mad Science Steampunk Adventures Introduce Underground Libraries and Underwater Science Labs

A woman with a book, and an elegantly dressed mechanical woman in front of an organ. Text reads "Adventure, Romance, Mad Science!".

Girl Genius continues to be one of the more fascinating adventure stories I’ve ever read. This web comic series has been putting out one new page three times a week since…what, 2002? And it keeps adding new fascinating setting and characters, revealing new dimensions to information first introduced over a decade ago. But despite the epic plot, the humor is perfect to keep the tone of the story lighthearted.

A Smart, Practical Heroine Surrounded by Chaos

I really do love Girl Genius. Especially its creative, practical (but sometimes absentminded) protagonist Agatha, who just wants to do right by the people relying on her. And create wonderful inventions that, contrary to expectations, don’t result in mass murder.

Agatha understands the family legacy–both the evil overlord vibe her ancestors had going and the heroism of her father and uncle–but rejects all of those things as a model for herself. I especially appreciate how she refuses to cut ties with her family’s creations just for the sake of public perception.

Sentient Inventions and Subterranean Laboratories

The adventure aspect of the story is so powerful. Over the course of almost two decades, Agatha and friends have traveled through an airship city, a locomotive monastery, a town full of minions and automated defense systems famous for repelling invasions. And now, an underground library surrounded by subterranean civilizations. Then an underwater city–the now-sunken but still quite habitable London.

All of this is punctuated by the art displaying these cool settings.

And the sparks–or mad scientists–in the story create all kinds of fun technological and biological inventions. A bloodthirsty AI running a castle built by the most notorious sparks in history. An all-consuming train. Teleportation or even extra-dimensional portals (which are thankfully rare and mysterious).

Also death rays. Lots and lots of death rays.


This story is just so fun, and I’ve been enjoying it since at least 2012, judging from my blog post history. I expect it’ll continue being a fantastic adventure to keep up with for a long time.