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Girl Genius: Tropes A-E
Tropes A-E | Tropes F-J | Tropes K-O | Tropes P-T | Tropes U-Z

Girl Genius provides examples of the following tropes:

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    A 
  • Absolute Cleavage:
    • Makes a brief and remarkably subtle appearance in the last panel of this page.
    • Also Vrinn in her first appearance, on account of having been dragged into the royal family's presence in the middle of the night.
  • Absurdly Spacious Sewer: Sturmhalten.
  • Accentuate the Negative:
    • The problem with kids these days.
      Zeuxippe: So much that they are trying to kill you over it!!
      Old Man Death: Always you gotta find problems!
    • And the younger guard:
      Guard 1: Of course... the castle is over there. We're over here, and those flaming things are coming back...
      Guard 2: Live in the moment, kid. Live in the moment.
  • Accidental Truth:
    • Theo's story at the beginning about the Dragon from Mars is a pure flight of imagination, but the Other's lab actually IS in the Heterodynes' basement and, if the novel's prologue adaption is accurate, the Other's base of operations is extra-terrestrial as well! Also, in this story Klaus got wasped. And soon enough...
    • The crowd once calls Zeetha the Baron's daughter, which according to Word of Godinvoked is actually true — if the sketch of her father which looks exactly like Klaus is to be believed. Gil has also been called "the gol-dang Storm King" there, and some time later we learned of the Baron's plans to instate him as the Storm King.
  • Actually Pretty Funny: The Heterodyne stories frequently paint Klaus as a blithering idiot, but get away with it because he finds them hilarious.
  • Adorkable: Tarvek, when he's not fulfilling his Deadpan Snarker duties.
  • Aerith and Bob:
    • The list of Heterodyne names in the crypt includes Caligula, the Red Heterodyne, the Black Heterodyne, Mordred, Oxalof, Ominox and Bob.
    • The world is full of people with weird names like Gilgamesh, Moloch, and Theopholous living right alongside people with ordinary names like Bill, Barry, and Agatha; no one comments on it or seems to consider it odd. Nor is there any reason they should do so: in the real-life 18th century, you could find such names as Hieronymous and Cloudesley alongside John or Peter.
    • In a side-story: Flopsy, Mopsy, and Nietzsche.
    • Lampshaded:
      Moloch: 'S wrong with my name? My mother picked it out of the whachamacalit — the Bible.
      Repairman: Um— Did she read it?
      Moloch: Nah. I had eight brothers. Nobody had time for stuff like that on the farm.
      Repairman: Oh, yeah. That's pretty common.
  • After-Action Healing Drama: Infiltrating the castle led to an epic one.
  • After Action Patch Up: After the fight with Dr. Merlot, Zola leaps to provide this for Gil.
  • Agent Peacock: Tarvek
  • A.I. Is a Crapshoot: Castle Heterodyne. Although it's arguably a subversion: since the guy who built it was an evil psychotic maniac, it's actually working pretty much exactly as designed. Agatha's own little "dingbots" are a straighter case, since they've sometimes stopped listening to her. Judging from the background events, it seems a frequent problem that Sparks can't build anything without it going haywire.
  • Airborne Aircraft Carrier: Castle Wulfenbach
  • Alien Geometries: ...What is Agatha holding in Panel 3??note 
  • All Part of the Show: Several times:
    • A circus of Sparks pretending to be normal actors pretending to be Sparks.
    • A Jäger hiding among people who pretend to be Jägers.
    • Gilgamesh Wulfenbach pretending to be a street actor pretending to be Gilgamesh Wulfenbach.
    • A Mongfish (Lucrezia's niece) pretending to be the lost Heterodyne-Mongfish heir to secure the Heterodyne inheritance from the real Heterodyne-Mongfish.
  • All There in the Manual:
    • The Secret Blueprints and the expanded chapter-by-chapter Cast pages.
    • The novels also explain things not mentioned in the webcomic.
  • All Webbed Up: What the nyar-spider does to its prey.
  • Almost Kiss:
  • Alternate History: Perhaps better called Parallel History, because the Sparks have been around for long enough that even geography has been changed by their influence, and yet the world and its history are not completely dissimilar to ours:
    • There were still Mongol Hordes on cue, German is still spoken as a European lingua-franca, R(embrandt) Van Rijn was still a famous genius and Casanova a famous skirt-chaser, the [Weather] King was still a towering historical figure.
    • Additionally, the Storm King was called Andronicus Valois, and his being a contemporary of this world's Rembrandt means he probably really was the GG universe's answer to our Sun King (Louis XIV). This means the Valois line was still around and in charge fifty years after power had passed to the Bourbons in our world.
    • There is still a powerful church with not one, but seven popes, and, judging by a brief mention each with their own faction, apparently. note 
    • And there's "The Autonomous Library" built by Voltaire.
  • Alternate Universe Reed Richards Is Awesome: Together with the above Alternate History.
  • Always a Bigger Fish: The Jägers have, throughout the comic, been implied to be the most Badass Supersoldiers to have been cooked up by any Spark in Europa. But it turns out Klaus Wulfenbach has a Supersoldier race of his own called the Dreen; the sight of just one of these makes a Jägergeneral panic and desperately carry Agatha to safety, proclaiming "Doze tings iz unschtoppable! Vorse — dey's scary!"
  • Always Identical Twins: Averted with Gil and Zeetha. They have a Strong Family Resemblance, but you have to be looking pretty close to notice it. Fans assumed for a long time that they were just ordinary siblings or half siblings (which made the timeline a little muddled) until the Foglios confirmed they're fraternal twins.
  • Amazing Technicolor Population:
    • Anyone infected with Hogfarb's Resplendent Immolation or Vericus Pantiliax's Chromatic Death, although as the names of those ailments may suggest, the affected person didn't start out that way and won't be that way long before something bad happens. Fans are now calling the sequence ending here the Amazing Technicolor Dreamboat Sequence. Yowza! Or Eeyyooww-ZAP!
    • Jägermonsters, and many other kinds of constructs. Mamma Gkika's skin color changes naturally, though she has some control over it and has stuck with a humanlike pink for a while in order to blend in all schneaky-like.
  • Amazon Brigade:
    • Bangladesh DuPree's pirate crew is entirely female. Confirmed in the novels.
    • Geisterdamen (spider-riding, at that).
    • Zeetha's mysterious tribe. Lots of Amazons.
    • Same goes for Heliolux Airship Fleet's flagship crew. Which is a communication and traffic control unit, so not directly involved in combat, although the white-red uniformed Commander remarks that they'll miss the fighting. On the next page she shouts to the entering Jäger that they're non-combatants. It's pointed out that although the Heliolux ships are mainly used for long-range communication, at close range the high-intensity light beams they use can also melt people and buildings.
    • The Devil Dolls, a foot soldier unit in the Wulfenbach army that are comprised of what is likely a series of female constructs of some sort that look somewhat like female tin soldiers, and were likely absorbed from the force remnants of some other spark that the Baron defeated. They're seen running from a monstrosity that came out of the ground when Castle Heterodyne really lets loose. They were likely a competent force against the general foes the Empire faced, but seriously... The Castle. Two are later seen on a guard detail on Castle Wulfenbach after the Time Skip, so they're still around.
  • Amazon Chaser:
    • All the Jägers want Von Pinn due to her tough-as-nails nature.
    • Higgs is a literal case.
  • Amulet of Dependency: Agatha's trilobite amulet, though it started out as something entirely different, has become one.
  • And I Must Scream:
    • The "squirrel".
    • The copy of Lucrezia stuck inside Zola.
    • Agatha when Lucrezia is in control.
    • Lucrezia when Agatha is in control.
  • And Now You Must Marry Me: It was suggested that Agatha's grandmother married one of the old Heterodynes, to protect her family from harm. It apparently later backfired, when she taught her sons, Bill and Barry, how to use their Sparky powers for good rather than evil, and in the end poisoned her husband.
  • And Show It to You: Invoked to get Bang's attention.
  • Anger Born of Worry:
    • By Baron Wulfenbach, towards Gil.
      Klaus: LACKWIT! How dare you put yourself at risk!
    • Pix is furious while Abner is away, showing Gil and Bang "Agatha's" grave. Although she explains she's more angry that he "cut in on her act." More so in the novelization.
    • Higgs. He has a very specific reason to be upset about Zeetha running around fighting instead of letting her injuries heal.
  • Anguished Declaration of Love:
  • Annoying Arrows: No surprise, they are just that to a Jäger.
  • Anticlimax: The final "battle" of Revenge of the Weasel Queen.
  • Arbitrary Skepticism: In a world filled with lightning guns, mind controlling bug robots, and other insane science, Tarvek utterly refuses to believe Gil's flying machine can stay aloft without a gas bag.
  • Armor-Piercing Question: Attempted by Gil when he suggests Agatha could already be under the Other's control without realising it. Averted when she just spits a Shut Up, Hannibal! retort right back at him.
  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking:
    • When Othar and Sanaa are wandering the Castle, and she thinks things are all right.
      Othar: We're in Castle Heterodyne with exploding collars around our necks, caught between a fake Heterodyne and a real one (as well as assorted criminals, maniacs, and various monsters), and I suspect that even if we found any beer in here, it would be evil, or at least flat.
    • Also involving Othar: "De dirigible iz in flames, everyboddyz dead an' I've lost my hat." To be fair, hats are a big deal to the Jägers whereas arson and murder are hobbies.
    • Another example:
      Professor Tiktoffen: Franz here liked turning people into beetles. Zonia believed that orphan blood had medicinal properties. Krag put his feet on my bed.
    • A villain learns why you must never punch a lady, or wake her up too early in the morning.
    • Now why would anyone want to kill Klaus Wulfenbach? Let's see...:
      Gil: Why? Because Wulfenbach troops turned her village into owls. Or maybe we deposed her favorite mad prince, or hung her lover for piracy, or banished the Heterodyne Boys, or poisoned the well, or raised the price of herring.
  • Art Evolution:
    • The earlier strips have bizarre anatomy issues and ugly gradient coloring. (Also after the first volume there was a great deal of uneven inking.) These problems eventually disappear.
    • Volume 1 was originally published in black-and-white. Volume 2 saw the introduction of color, in searing neon gradient fills. The coloring eventually settled down and volume 1 was eventually recolored in a somber desaturated palette. The result cleverly mirrored Agatha's psyche, as her perceptions are dulled in volume 1, overloaded in volume 2, and by volume 4 settle into a happy medium.
  • Ascended Fanon: In universe, about Von Pinn really being Lucrezia Mongfish.
  • Aside Glance: Plenty.
  • Assassin Outclassin': After exiting an apparently diverted teleporting device Tweedle barehandedly takes on six Smoke Knights, killing them and his cousin Leopold, with their own daggers
  • Asskicking Equals Authority: This is crucial into getting the Jägerkin in line:
    • Gil uses it on Captain Vole. (Twice.)
    • Boris earns the respect of the Jägergenerals by beating their location out of a messenger.
  • Astonishingly Appropriate Interruption: During the play in Sturmhalten, just as Tarvek is saying "If the mistress were here, she'd say—", he's interrupted by Agatha (in-character as Lucrezia) yelling "KNEEL, 'YOU MISERABLE MINION!''"
  • Attack Hello: Maxim is just saying "hello".
  • Audience Participation: The podcasts/radio dramas, where the audience finishes characters' titles ("Agatha Heterodyne—" "—Girl genius!"), fill in crowd noises, and so on.
  • Author Appeal:
    • Phil Foglio is well-known (unabashedly so) for drawing his female characters with rather large "assets". But it's his wife (and co-author) who loves to get Agatha into the "lacy underthings". She's a big fan of Victorian-era undergarments.
    • Not to mention paper dolls.
    • There's also the matter of all the handsome shirtless men running around. Which leads into "Who thought having TWO boyfriends was a good idea!?" The Cheshire Cat Grin says it all.
    • Phil admits the only reason the Jägers became recurring characters is because he really likes drawing them.
  • Author Avatar: The creators, Phil and Kaja, are both apparently natives of the story's world who, it would seem, will eventually meet, marry, publish a... controversial account of Agatha's deeds, and flee into our world with it to continue it safe from Agatha as a supposedly fictional comic.
  • Authority Equals Asskicking:
    • Klaus; he clawed his way to being ruler of Europe atop God knows how many others and it shows.
    • His son; when thrust into authority, Gil's asskicking genes more than rise to the challenge.
    • The Jägergenerals.
    • More generally — in a semi-feudal world ruled over by extremely intelligent nutjobs, it's the one at the top of the castle you want to watch out for. They're in that spot for a reason.
  • Awesome, but Impractical: Genetically engineering a super intelligent cat so that he can persuade other cats to act as spies, messengers, saboteurs, etc. Unfortunately cats have an attention span that measures in microseconds they’ll do what you want until they fall asleep or see something move
  • Aww, Look! They Really Do Love Each Other:
    • The love/hate relationship between Gil, Agatha, and Tarvek runs so deep that a list of specific examples would probably end up getting its own page. Klaus and Gil, as well: when Klaus sends a small army to take him prisoner as all hell's about to break loose in Mechanicsburg, Gil's reaction is "he does care!"
    • Tarvek, who has maintained for years that he really really hates his childhood friend and rival Gil (who is mind-controlled after he is captured by the Baron), had an adorable one.
  • Ax-Crazy: Oh so many...

    B 
  • Baa Bomb: Some battering rams are this.
  • Back from the Dead:
  • Back-to-Back Badasses:
  • Badass: Most of the main cast fit into several subtropes; many of the secondary cast fit at least one.
  • Badass Boast: Lots and lots.
    • Gil gives us one of the more effective examples.
    • Gil can also keep his boasts very short:
      Gil: This is not a trick! I did not get lucky! I am Gilgamesh Wulfenbach — AND I AM IN CONTROL!
    • He also gets a similar one moments earlier, facing down an entire army of war clanks alone:
      Gil: I am Gilgamesh Wulfenbach, son of Klaus. I will say this only once—leave now, or you will die.
    • Dr. Sun's threat towards DuPree. Notable not for being elaborate, but for such conviction that it frightens an unrepentant Ax-Crazy psycho.
    • Zola is a beautiful chemical killing machine.
    • Tarvek uses a very short (but effective) one on Gil:
      Tarvek: ... You came running in and saw someone you hate and fear trying to kill her — of course you reacted.
      Gil: I do not fear you.
      Tarvek: Really? You should.
    • Agatha, showing that she learned the "hamming the bunch of unruly minions into obedience" part of her family business.
    • Another from Agatha; very dramatic.
    Agatha: I do not need rescuing. I AM THE HETERODYNE!
  • Badass Bookworm:
    • Most of the Spark characters.
    • Also notable is Jorgi, one of the few literate Jägers, who chose to become a Super Soldier because reading so much philosophy left him feeling the need to break things.
  • Badass Family:
    • Heterodynes are a family of powerful Sparks with a signature hereditary ability of "heterodyning" or humming a specific way to completely tune out all distraction, who were feared and hated even among others of their own kind, to say nothing about the rest of the continent. They created Castle Heterodyne – an omnipotent sentient Supervillain Lair with a dark sense of humor and Jägermonsters – scientifically modified Super Soldiers, completely loyal to the house Heterodyne. Then Bill and Barry happened. They redeemed their family’s name by travelling across Europa and defeating monsters and evil Sparks, and were considered the greatest heroes of their generation. There is also the latest scion, Agatha – a powerful Spark in her own right who is just beginning to make her indelible mark on the world.
    • Klaus and Gilgamesh Wulfenbach. Klaus returned to Europa only with his infant son in tow and still managed to conquer a good chunk of the continent by himself, apparently for its own good. He is single-handedly keeping peace in his Empire by keeping rampaging madboys and arrogant nobles in check. He and Gilgamesh are both powerful Sparks and very potent fighters, to the point Jägers are scared of them. If rumors are true then there is also Baron's long lost Badass Normal daughter - princess Zeetha.
    • Valois/Sturmvoraus/von Blitzengaard family. Their ancestor was one of the greatest kings of all time - Andronicus Valois. Currently family consists mainly of Manipulative Bastards, backstabbers and McNinjas. Most prominent members are Tarvek — once again a powerful Spark, exellent shamer and a good fighter and Violetta — a Smoke Knight and an Impossible Thief.
  • Badass Grandpa:
  • Badass Labcoat: Agatha while setting up the really crazy device to fix up Tarvek.
  • Badass Longcoat:
    • Baron Klaus Wulfenbach has them as regular wear.
    • Gilgamesh Wulfenbach has worn them too.
    • And Agatha, of course.
    • Tarvek can be counted on to sport one.
    • Krosp got his from the circus.
  • Badass Normal: Many of the non-Spark supporting characters.
  • Badass Princess: Not only is Zeetha a warrior princess, she doesn't seem to be aware there's any other kinds of princess.
  • Bag of Kidnapping: Sanaa and Othar do this to Tarvek, mistaking him for Gilgamesh Wulfenbach.
  • Bar Brawl: Apparently there's one every evening in Mamma Gkika's. Except on Thursdays; that's poetry slam night.
  • Bash Brothers:
    • Da Boyz and the Jägergenerals.
    • Klaus and the generals were having fun at some points of the wasp attack.
    • The Heterodyne Boys were a more literal example.
  • Battle Butler: Ardsley Wooster and Boris Dolokhov, though, technically speaking, neither is an actual butler. Wooster is a spy posing as a valet or gentleman's gentleman; Dolokhov is more of an aide-de-camp, librarian, accountant, and general manager.
  • Battle Couple: To an extent, Agatha and Gil during the wasp outbreak on Castle Wulfenbach. When she, Gil, and Tarvek were battling with and through Castle Heterodyne, they were a Battle Threesome.
  • Battle Cry:
    • The official one for the Jägers: "Ve hunt!" (Justified, seeing as "Jäger" is German for "Hunter".)
    • Agatha during the Battle of Sturmhalten: "SHOWTIME!"
  • Bear Hug: Mama Gkika gives Agatha, newly crowned as the Heterodyne, one when they first meet.
  • Bears Are Bad News: Agatha is attacked by a large group of angry bears...and they're armed.
  • Beauty Is Never Tarnished: Played with. Otherwise good-looking folks can undergo injuries, sickness, fatigue or drugs that visibly mess them up.
  • Because You Were Nice to Me: A monster decides to kill its creator and spare Agatha and co. because she treated it with respect.
  • Behemoth Battle: The fight between Franz Scortchmaw, the Bone Gnawer of the Heterodynes, and "Pretty Boy" (no name given, despite his gentledragonly manners). Rather low on the collateral damage for a monster fight, though.
  • Behind the Black:
    • Gil didn't notice Agatha launching herself at him while he was yelling at Tarvek?
    • Lampshaded when Jenka points out that they should have heard the army of giant clanks (helpfully called War Stompers too) marching up to their tower.
  • "Be Quiet!" Nudge:
    • Dimo to Oggie, with a fist in the ribs. Higgs is still able to guess what Oggie was about to let slip, though.
    • Later, Krosp bites Dimo's finger to make him shut his trap about the presence of Agatha Heterodyne on the train. Not so surprising, though, since Krosp being a cat it's what comes most naturally, and Dimo being a Jäger it's doubtful he would have felt a mere nudge.
  • Betty and Veronica: Gil & Tarvek, to Agatha.
  • Beware the Nice Ones:
    • Agatha. She really is a very nice, pleasant, easy-going girl. Until she goes to The Madness Place or you hurt or threaten one of her friends. Then the Death Ray comes out.
    • Gilgamesh is usually rather pleasant and doesn't scream and beat people to get his way. Piss him off. Go on. Gilgamesh managed to scare the crap out of a Jäger (one completely off the deep end even for Jäger standards) and the resident version of James Bond.
    • Tarvek is the blue to Gil's red. He's rather charming and civil by default. When he gets mad, Zola up and surrenders. He doesn't let it end there. Oh, no. Instead, he's fully prepared to murder her with his bare hands.
    • And let's not forget The Indestructible Airman Higgs. Quite polite and decent, not to mention extremely low key, until he has to beat senseless everything within reach, while still probably not breaking a sweat.
  • BFG:
  • Bifauxnen: Grantz, Baron Wulfenbach's monster hunter. Even Gil apparently gets this one wrong, as he refers to Grantz as a "he" early on.
  • Big Book of War: Agatha brains Zola with one of these, entitled Using Found Objects as Weapons. The sound effect when she beans them is "TOME!"
  • Big Creepy-Crawlies: The Baron's Hoomhoffers, giant beetles that function as living tanks and clank squashers.
  • Big Damn Heroes:
  • Big Damn Kiss:
  • Big Labyrinthine Building: Castle Heterodyne, and the Wulfenbach airship.
  • Big "NO!": Several times.
    • Crashing Gil's "falling machine" into Castle Wulfenbach.
    • Zeetha, after she finally finds someone who knows about her homeland Skifander, but doesn't know where it is, breaks out in a rage.
    • Right after Agatha breaks Merlot's mind with the enormity of his mistakes.
    • Agatha when she gets interrupted again in fixing the castle.
  • Big Screwed-Up Family:
  • Bilingual Bonus:
    • Many names of people, races, places, etc., make more sense if one knows a little German; for instance, "Jägermonster" can be interpreted as "hunting monster".
    • The control panel on the Clank Agatha finds in the woods is in German.
    • "Si vales valeo" is Latin for "If you are well, I am well", a phrase used in ancient Roman times to start writing a letter like "Dear Mister Smith". In the world of Girl Genius, it has a more literal meaning.
    • The contraption Agatha is building here is named "Şoarece"; this is Romanian for "mouse" (not "the mouse", that would be "şoarecele") which is, in the same time, a bilingual bonus, and a genius bonus: Mechanicsburg is in-story located in Transylvania, and the real-life Transylvania is today part of Romania.
  • Black and Gray Morality: Agatha and Klaus are both sympathetically gray and fighting for perfectly reasonable reasons. There are several villains that are clearly black, and both of them want those destroyed.
  • Blatant Lies: "Aid me! I am the Agatha girl!"
  • Bleached Underpants: A variant, in that prior to Girl Genius, Phil Foglio was the author and artist of the XXXenophile series of pornographic comics, and unlike many artists with a similar background makes no attempt to hide it. However, before XXXenophile, he was already well known for What's New? with Phil and Dixie for Dragon Magazine, and Buck Godot: Zap Gun for Hire, and did book covers and illustrations (most memorably, for Robert Asprin's Myth Adventures series), as well as the classic Con Reports and a trio of excellent, funny updates of old '60s humor comics for DC Comics at about the same time as XXXenophile.

    A lot of Girl Genius is made up of brilliant little ideas that Foglio previously used in his pornographic work. The Jägers' speech pattern and dental work? From XXXenophile: "A Beautiful Tail" and "My Favorite Oitling". Zeetha's jewelry, with the little faces that mimic whatever her current facial expression is? From XXXenophile: "Blue Opal".
  • Blessed Are the Cheesemakers: Cheese appears often, and sometimes seems to be employed as a symbol of romance.
  • Blessed with Suck:
    • The Spark itself. If you have it, you can warp the laws of physics with the contents of the average Store Cupboard. Bad part? You go insane to varying degrees whenever you do it. The natural result of that is that most Sparks, and Agatha in particular, have to deal with being shunned, used, or attacked by most everyone they meet. And that's if they don't get killed by one of their own creations. Or get the Torches and Pitchforks treatment.
    • Agatha before her breakthrough, when she wore the locket to suppress her Spark. It undoubtedly saved her life, but it also made her completely incompetent and destroyed her self-esteem.
  • Bling of War: Most troops are trying to look cool — some, too hard. Jägers tend to dress in less unified fancy clothes, with their own peculiar taste. Of "Da Boyz", Maxim wears the most fashionable set — he's an ex-cavalry officer, after all.
  • Blondes are Evil: Played straight with Lucrezia and Zola; played with by Von Pinn. Averted with Agatha (who's a strawberry blonde, therefore crossing into Heroes Want Redheads).
  • Blue Blood: The Nobility is one of the biggest opponents to the Baron. House Wulfenbach is of nobility, but low ranking. As such, the Blue Bloods see him as an upstart and a tyrant who has illegitimately seized most of their power. The Knights of Jove try to use the legend of the Storm King to reclaim it. The most notable Blue Blood characters are Zulenna and Tarvek.
  • Body-Count Competition: By the Jägergenerals, of course.
  • Boisterous Bruiser: Othar, as well as the Jägers.
  • Boring, but Practical: Moloch is easily one of the most rational people there, being a Only Sane Man of course, and a bit of The Engineer, his ideas are typically very unflashy, but they get the job done. Much to the ire of the sparks and mad scientists that surround him.
  • Bottled Heroic Resolve:
  • Bow Chicka Wow Wow:
    Zeetha: Hey, Skifander's patron Goddess is Ashtara, she who controls, among other things, fertility. Our holy-days are fun! (Cha cha cha!)
  • Brain Bleach: Remember, the strip is full of Mad Scientists.
    Snaug: ... spiky trap-doors... torture chambers... man-eating bats... impertinent mechanical squid...
    Mittelmind: Oh, there is some psychological damage, but I always wipe her memory for her birthday.
    Snaug: Happy birthday to meeeeeee...
  • Braggart Boss: Minus the fact people of the street think he is a hero, Othar Tryggvassen (Gentleman Adventurer!) fits the mold nicely.
  • Bread, Eggs, Breaded Eggs: "Jäger orphans?"
  • Breather Episode: Side stories every once in a while.
  • Brick Joke:
    • A long time after Agatha is convinced that her battle merry-go-round is too dangerous to construct, a soldier who failed to capture her is diagnosed with a concussion for explaining that her injuries were sustained while destroying a merry-go-round.
      Agatha: It could be a really evil town...
    • In the Cinderella special, the "evil step-mother" comments that Agatha could win the kingdom with a dead rat and a houseplant. At the end, she bribes the king, a cat, with a dead rat and potted catnip.
      Evil stepmother: Hy knew hit!invoked
    • Gil throws Othar out of an airship, and when Agatha gets mad, he assures her that once she gets to know Othar, she'll do the same. An hour later, she does, and mentions, "I owe Gil an apology." About ten chapters later, she gives it to him.
      Agatha: I got so mad at you, and then, within the hour, I threw him out an airship too!
      Gil: And you felt bad for throwing—
      Agatha: I felt bad for yelling at you!
    • "But why are there mechanical squid in the cistern?" Well, two years and two volumes earlier...
    • Steam-powered feet? Steam-powered feet!
    • Remember the guard slime? Someone isn't so Genre Savvy.
    • The Red Heterodyne sandwich in "Maxim Buys a Hat" apparently refers to the time that ancestor invaded the Unseen Empire, and took two years getting back to the surface because he had developed "a taste for bat sandvitches"

    C 
  • Caffeine Bullet Time: Agatha has it. It is implied to be a Heterodyne thing.
  • Call Back:
    • After their reunion, one of the first things Agatha needs to get off her mind is an apology to Gil... for yelling at him. Lampshaded when even Gil takes a while to remember about the incident. (It'd been a very hectic few months/years.)
    • "Did you know he really likes waffles?"
    • Also, the circumstances of Gil and Agatha seem to be similar: he showed up and got disapproval for killing Dr. Beetle, even though "He threw a BOMB at me!", and then Agatha made the impersonator break down into tears, even though she'd tried to usurp her.
    • While creeping through the Sturmhalten sewers, the conversation turns towards "Red" Heterodyne, an ancestor of Agatha's, who was lost in a cave and would have come out sooner had he not developed a taste for bat meat. Jump forward to the "Maxim Buys A Hat" interlude, and one of the sandwiches ordered to Old Man Death is the "Red Heterodyne", which involves a bat on a sandwich.
  • Calling Your Attacks: Done by Zola under the influence of a massive overdose of battle stimulants, resulting in a cry of "Chophead Tinybits!"
  • Came Back Wrong: Subverted. Apparently being brought Back from the Dead causes memory loss (as we have been repeatedly told) and frequently drives the recipient Ax-Crazy. However, when it happens to Tarvek, all it takes to bring him out of a homicidal rage is the following:
    Moloch: Uh... hey, check it out.
    Tarvek: Good Heavens.
  • Can't Live Without You:
    • When Gil supports both Agatha and Tarvek when they get infected by Hogfarb's Immolation.
    • Tweedle pretty much calls the trope by its name when he explains how he hopes to make Agatha compliant by linking her metabolism to his, so that she can't leave his side and can't kill him. Unfortunately for him, he dreadfully underestimated the Heterodyne girl; soon enough, she had transfered the dependancy to a wasp weasel pet.
  • Cartwright Curse: Being a suitor to Agatha is hazardous to your health.
  • Casual Danger Dialogue: Quoth Klaus just as he activates a stasis-bomb right in the middle of Mechanicsburg:
    Klaus: Do you have any tea?
  • The Cat Came Back: Othar. He's very hard to shake off, especially when he has set his eyes on a "spunky sidekick". Throw him in a pit, he'll walk back through another door a few seconds later. Lampshaded by Tarvek after he and Violetta tries to escape him with a "down and up" (that doesn't work):
    Tarvek: This is why he's a hero. He's very good at this.
  • Catch Phrase:
    • Agatha: "You'll like him."
    • Tarvek: "I can't [really] complain."
    • Othar Tryggvassen (Gentleman Adventurer!): "Foul!"
    • Jägers eagerly sensing an impending battle: VE HUNT!!!
  • Cat Fight: Gender-flipped (but still played for Mr. Fanservice in-comic) here. Complete with hair-pulling!
  • The Chains of Commanding:
    • Discussed by Othar and Klaus.
      Othar Tryggvassen: What, tyrant? Does your empire give you no pleasure?
      Klaus Wulfenbach: No. It gives me no pleasure. Politics always annoyed me. Now I do it every day. I haven't seen my wife in years. My old friends are gone. I haven't traveled or explored. At least with the Heterodynes we had the adventures. The occasional fight. Now it's send in the armies, then the bureaucrats with mops. It's become an old formula.
    • And then by Master Payne.
      Master Payne: For all we know, those things are some new kind of revenant — and the only thing to do is kill them. Could you burn down people — women and children — even if you knew they had become monsters? ...The Baron can. The Baron has. I respect him for that, but I don't want to be him. No sane man would.

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