Girl Genius Steampunk Webcomic

Girl Genius is a webcomic started in 2002 written by Phil and Kaja Foglio and colored by Cheyenne Wright about a world of steampunk mad scientists that build amazing robots. Girl Genius has greatly influenced our art and writing and we recommend you read it. You can read it for free online, or buy physical copies. The authors write a new page every other day, so if you get to the end, make sure to look back to find new pages.

Trilobite fossil
Trilobites are the Heterodyne family sigil (the Heterodyne family plays a central role in the story) which is a fitting symbol of the old and mysterious family.

What we like most about the main character Agatha Clay is that she is really smart and hilarious. She builds lots of cool inventions that do amazing things, and since she thinks differently than the other characters, her dialog is really funny. Our favorite quote is,  “But I want to do math now!” Some of our favorite inventions that she had made are a coffee machine that makes coffee so perfect it makes people go mad, a deer robot that looks really pretty but has a bunch of different types of weapons, little circular robots that can make other robots, and a weaponized wagon army controlled by an pipe organ. The fact she is also very dangerous just adds to the fun!

Steampunk Web Comic Girl Genius- Agatha Clay

The artwork is fantastic and really brings to life the rich world of Steampunk Europa. What is most impressive is the attention to detail, for example, there are sometimes little monsters on the page, and you have to look carefully to notice them. Also, the steampunk robots look like they can actually work! There are also lots of scenes that are happening in the background, so look carefully, otherwise, you might miss some information! In the beginning, it is black and white, but most of the story is in lots of colors. 

Each location is rich in details and lets the reader explore a steampunk world like no other. Our favorites are a huge underwater city buzzing with lots of steampunk submarines and Mechanicsburg, the home of the Heterodyne family which is packed with danger, mystery and dominated by the powerful Heterodyne castle.

Girl Genius comics
Girl Genius comics


The plots take unexpected and fun detours but everything is intertwined, all the characters are somehow connected to each other, and there are no loose ends. The dialogue is hilarious and rich, for example:

Violetta, “So, when can we be sure it is done and we haven’t doomed the Earth?”

Agatha, “Oh once the containment limit returns to normal. As for not dooming the Earth- well- that is more a lifelong goal, really. But so far so good.” 

And another example of witty dialogue after Franz, a cyborg dragon defeats Humongulus, a huge robot, in battle:

Franz: What? you are not mad? 

Humongulus: Humongulus angry? Never! You have used guile! Tactics! Awareness of the landscape! Humongulus is impressed!

Franz: Good ’cause with those arms you could punch me into next week.

Humongulus: You know the very sole of Humongulus.

And it is not just us who thinks Girl Genius is great, it has gotten multiple Hugo awards!

Girl Genius
The Hugo Award!

The best part of the world is the crazy robots and monsters. There are lots of weird monsters that just live alongside everyone else, and crazy robots are an everyday sight. The robots and monsters are central to the story and some are main characters who act and think very differently than humans which adds to the realism.

Girl Genius comic
Our favorite little clank

This is a picture of a little clank (robot) that the main character made. Girl Genius is in a steampunk world and has cool robot illustrations. We were so inspired by Girl Genus’s cute and cool-looking robots, we spent two years designing and building our own working steampunk robot Number Five

Kid-made Dog Robot Number Five
Number five

Ku’ia Estate Chocolate in Maui

When we visited Maui this year, we found an awesome chocolate plantation, Ku’ia Estate Chocolate. They grow delicious world-class cacao trees (where chocolate comes from) on land that was made useless due to sugar plantations. When the land was used to grow sugar it was stripped bare of trees, the crop was never rotated and tons of chemicals were dumped on it turning the once lush land into a desert.  You are read more about Maui’s effort to restore the land here.

Kula Estate Chocolate in Maui

This is what the chocolate farm looks like from above. It is located in Maui on a plot of land that is reserved for agriculture. It looks like an oasis in the desert created by the sugar plantation. Ku’ia Estate Chocolate needed to replant the tropical forest that was once there to block the wind and the hot sun (cacao trees love the shade). They also had to do a lot of work to get nutrients back into the soil making sure to use organic farming methods. 

The chocolate starts its life as a tiny flower. They are very delicate so the wind blockers are extra important to ensure that the flower doesn’t get blown off the tree. Since they are so tiny, the only insect that can pollinate the cacao plant is the chocolate midge. 

The flowers turn into cacao pods. They are ready to harvest when they turn a darker color and get a lot bigger. You harvest them all year round but the biggest harvests are between May and July, and between October and March, after the rainy season. 

These are the Cacao trees. The pods grow on the trunks and thicker branches of the trees because they are very heavy. The trees are currently pretty young because Ku’ia Estate Chocolate hasn’t been around for a very long time. 

After the cacao beans are harvested and prepared, they are put through a series of machines to create all the different chocolate creations. Ku’ia Estate Chocolate grows their banana leaves to use for the preparation process, so they are very self-sufficient. They also don’t take away any of the natural flavors of the cacao beans, so the chocolate is more nutritious and has a complex flavor. They also do shipping so you don’t have to go all the way to Maui to get their chocolate.

They have created a whole bunch of unique flavors that they sell in their store, for example, orange mango guava, lemongrass, and calamansi lime, you are sure to find a flavor that you love.

They grow the fruit that they use for their flavors on site and it is very fresh.   

Ku’ia Estate Chocolate after only three years of selling has won the 2021 Cocoa of Excellence Gold Award for the Asia Pacific region and the 2022 Good Food Award. They give all of the profits that they make to local Hawaiian non-profits.

There are also tours of their plantation (which we highly recommend) that teach you about the process of making chocolate. The tours end with a chocolate sampling deep in the cacao forest. 

Little Skillet SF

Is it so wrong I keep thinking about chicken and waffles after just one random encounter at little skillets? The chicken was so tender they must have been raised in some beautiful land where a hug is given out for free, waffles so sweet I strongly suspect they did something unnatural, not to mention illegal in most states, with donuts and drinks so stiff years of yoga would still make their downward dogs look like a plank. I sit in bed conjuring up the memory of piles of food before me with a burning drinking making it ways down my throat and wonder again and again, “Is this wrong?”

Joy from Little Skillets SF