''Zita the Spacegirl'' began in 2004 as a WebComic by Ben Hatke, comprising a series of apparently unconnected online strips featuring the eponymous human girl and her humorous adventures with aliens and robots in outer space. A few of the original strips can still be viewed online [[http://zitaspacegirl.com/webcomics/ here]]. Others may still be viewable via the Internet Archive.
Hatke later published a short Zita story, "Wishing Socks", in the graphic anthology ''Flight Explorer'' (2008). This was followed by two kid-friendly graphic novels which place the characters in context. ''Zita the Spacegirl'' appeared in 2010, followed by ''Legends of Zita the Spacegirl'' in 2012. A third volume is projected which will wrap up the current storyline, though Hatke has said that won't be the end of Zita's appearances.
In the first book, [[KidHero Zita,]] a young Earth girl, along with her friend Joseph, sees a strange device fall from the sky. When Zita messes around with it, it opens a portal that takes the two kids to another planet. Joseph gets captured by a Screed, who brings him a cult that believes he is the key to stopping a meteorite from destroying the planet.
Zita goes on a journey to rescue Joseph and return herself and him back to Earth before the meteor hits the planet, on the way she encounters GentleGiant named Strong-Strong, a con-man named Piper, a ProudWarriorRace guy named One, and a klutzy robot named Randy, all who join her in her journey to rescue Joseph and hopefully return home.
Hopefully it's not too much of a spoiler to reveal that Zita doesn't get home straight away, otherwise there wouldn't be a book 2... in which Zita is hailed as the planet's savior, but soon discovers that being a hero is far more complicated than she'd expected.
!!The WebComics and graphic novels contain examples of:
* ActionGirl: Guess who. Also Madrigal [[spoiler:and Robot Zita]] in ''Legends''.
* AliensSpeakingEnglish: Although there are a few that don't.
* ArtShift: This will only be evident if you've seen the early online strips in which Zita had a rounder face and lighter-colored hair. A couple of the early strips were redrawn to match the new style.
* BadassAdorable: Zita, of course.
* BadassCape: Zita [[spoiler:and her robot wannabe]].
* BerserkButton: Well, more of an extreme annoyance button, but Piper really doesn't like it when Strong-Strong calls him "Whistle Man", and he's even more annoyed when, later, Robot One picks up on the name.
* BigNo: [[spoiler:Piper]], when the Screeds show up to capture him.
* CliffHanger: The end of ''Legends'' sees Zita about to be arrested for crimes she didn't commit. Mostly.
* DoomyDoomsOfDoom: The space police are called the Doom Squad.
* GuileHero: Zita frequently utilizes this trope.
* HeartSymbol: Comically subverted. In [[http://zitaspacegirl.com/webcomics-2/ this]] web strip Zita meets a small creature that seems to be saying it loves her. In fact [[spoiler: it's trying to warn her about a deadly heart-shaped monster that's just sneaked up on her (a Star Heart - a species that also plays a key role in the second graphic novel).]]
** Played straight with some of the notes Mouse uses to communicate with Zita.
* HeroicSacrifice: The giant mecha defending a planet against the Star Hearts will merge with its pilot irreversibly. [[spoiler:Robot Zita]] chooses to sacrifice [[spoiler:her]]self by piloting it in Zita's place. [[spoiler:Previously the mecha had rejected the robot because she was just a hero wannabe, leaving Zita as the only other alternative. It is only when the robot chooses to sacrifice her identity to save Zita's that she qualifies as a true hero and the mecha accepts her instead of Zita.]]
* HeroWithBadPublicity: In Legends, Zita was forced to hijack someone's spaceship to try to reunite with her friends, word of the deed, however, did spread quickly and Zita wound up having police robots frequently chase after her for her theft of spacecraft.
* HotGypsyWoman: G-rated version. Lady Madrigal, traveling space circus owner-performer, and (it turns out) Piper's estranged girlfriend.
* HumongousMecha: In ''Legends'' Zita [[spoiler:and the robot that's imitating her]] gets to drive one in defence of planet Lumponia. The Lumpies also use smaller [[SteamPunk steam-powered]] mecha on the planet's surface.
* IncrediblyLamePun: Guess what they call it when a Star Heart attacks a planet. Go on, you'll never guess.
* InvoluntaryDance / MindControlMusic: Piper's flute-playing can make listeners dance until they drop, or just fall unconscious on the spot.
* LivingShip: Madrigal gives Zita a small one in ''Legends''.
* MesACrowd: [[http://zitaspacegirl.com/webcomics-4/ This]] web strip. Also Doppelganger in ''Legends'', a diminutive circus performer who can make multiple copies of himself, distinguished by different-colored outfits.
* NamesTheSame: Zita is also the name of a minor background character from ''InvaderZim.''
** Also one of Hatke's RealLife daughters, though which came first...
* ProphecyTwist: The prophecy is a picture that accurately depicts a scene that does come to pass... but from a perspective that's grossly misleading about what's actually going on in the picture.
* ShrinkRay - Doom Squad have a robot (or cyborg) called Shrinkey, whose right arm is a shrink ray. Amongst those who get shrunk is Glissando the cat, who goes from being bigger than a lion to the size of a house cat. After a while he seems to get used to the idea.
* StealthPun: In ''Legends'', the Star Hearts have a hive-like society with a queen, though nobody actually calls her [[spoiler:The Queen of Hearts]].
* SteamPunk: See HumongousMecha above.
* ThemeNaming: Madrigal and her cat Glissando and mouse Pizzicato.
* WantedPoster: The [[http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/61iPD0Ci3dL._SS500_.jpg cover]] of ''Legends of Zita the Spacegirl'' shows a couple of personal appearance posters for Zita, with large "Wanted" banners pasted over them.