YMMV: Girl Genius

  • Alternative Character Interpretation: Let's just say there are good reasons why the character pages are divided by "Protagonists" and "Antagonists" rather than "Heroes" and "Villains".
  • Arc Fatigue: Severe, in the case of the Mechanicsburg arc. The "Castle Heterodyne" storyline took five years to complete; in comic-time, only a day or two passed. Oggie makes a minor reference to it.
  • Archive Binge: Probably one of the most notable in webcomic history. Originally a print comic, when Girl Genius first became a webcomic it had two archives; one consisting of pages from the print comics, one consisting of the new pages produced after the website went online. When the version for people who started reading it online caught up with the version for people who'd read the print comics an awful lot of people read the newer half of the combined archive, the equivalent of four and a half books worth of pages, in one sitting. The website server went down for a long time.
  • Cant Unhear It: The idea of BRIAN BLESSED voicing Castle Heterodyne.
  • Complete Monster:
    • Lucrezia/The Other qualifies for this trope on the basis of enslaving and slaughtering many thousands of innocent people, betraying the world's greatest heroes, and being the worst mother ever - killing her own son, using her own daughter for a Grand Theft Me, and then plotting to kill said daughter when that plan goes badly awry. She shows no remorse or sympathy for anyone other than herself, whether they are a victim, an innocent bystander, or one of her own loyal minions.
    • Although not on the same grand scale, Prince Aaronev qualifies for many of the same reasons. He killed an unknown but significant number of women (Lilith mentions that girls with the Spark tended to "disappear") by trying to download a copy of Lucrezia into their brains. One of these was his own daughter.
  • Crazy Awesome:
    • Jägers are a race of Crazy Awesome individuals.
    • Excited Sparks tend to act this way with an added Genius Bruiser flavor.
    • Snaug may also count. She sees dangerous, potentially-fatal experimentation as fun.
  • Crosses the Line Twice: Bangladesh Dupree is an Ax-Crazy Dark Action Girl; Castle Heterodyne is A.I. Is a Crapshoot that's Gone Horribly Right; Vole is something verging on Omnicidal Maniac. They're all successfully Played for Laughs.
  • Crowning Music of Awesome: At one point, a flipped-out Agatha directs a small army of Clanks, (including giant Transforming Mecha and Luggage) by playing a calliope. Behold.
  • Cry for the Devil: Admit it, you did this when Tarvek explained what Anevka really was.
    Tarvek: That was... harder than I'd thought.
  • Ensemble Dark Horse:
    • Da Boyz, the Jägermonster trio. To an only slightly lesser extent, the entire Jäger horde.
    • Also the freaking nyar spider, of all things. Possibly because the spider managed to get Zola to shut up...
    • Airman Axel Higgs, due to an effective combination of stoic Seen It All-ness, sheer badassery, and the mystery surrounding exactly who and what he really is.
  • Escapist Character: Agatha, and the authors seem to be very aware of this. A side-story about in-universe Heterodyne Boys fanfiction actually defends the role Mary Sues in young girls' aspirational fantasies.
  • Evil Is Sexy:
    • Largely averted, as the Fanservice comes primarily from Agatha and Zeetha (or Gil and Tarvek, depending on preference) while Bangladesh DuPree, a very attractive Comedic Sociopath, stays fully clothed (aside from one scene where she's, naturally enough, sleeping in pajamas). This is most likely a reflection of Phil Foglio's philosophy on sexuality from his XXXenophile days, which placed an emphasis on fun and entertaining situations.
    • Played straight by Lucrezia Mongfish-Heterodyne, who is hot in any body (and, unlike Agatha, uses it shamelessly). Meanwhile, Klaus is in remarkably good shape for his age, and is frequently partially clothed in his appearances, although he's an Anti-Villain.
    • In a flashback to the past, Klaus and Lucrezia agree on this trope with each other. Unfortunately Lucrezia is Eviler Than Thou, and doesn't need a partner in crime.
  • Fan Nickname: Dingbot Prime, Da Boyz, and others.
  • Genius Bonus:
  • Growing the Beard: The novels. The first book, while not bad, is pretty much just a word-for-word adaptation of the comic. Agatha H. and the Clockwork Princess adds footnotes and more in-universe epigraphs, as well as being more willing to get inside the characters' heads and depart from the comics a bit, and is a marked improvement.
  • Holy Shit Quotient:
    • Up there with Gurren Lagann. Reaches critical mass around Volume 11.
    • The Castle Heterodyne arc just kept escalating further and further to the Big Finish. To put it in perspective, the immediately following sequence, despite involving time travel, a twisted future resulting from Agatha's absence, and Hunting the Most Dangerous Game, was a relative relief by comparison.
  • Ho Yay / Foe Yay:
  • Iron Woobie: Tinka. Yes, yes, it's also a pun: but she struggled with her 'disability' desperately to help Agatha and reunite with her last (known) surviving sister. And then she was destroyed offhandedly, and her parts presumably packed up in a closet for Tarvek to try to reassemble when he got back... Which he never has.
  • Like You Would Really Do It: Klaus Wulfenbach, apparently killed in a random attack on the hospital, and his body hasn't been identified. Nobody, least of all the characters, believes that he's dead.
  • Magnificent Bastard: Almost every major character has at least one dastardly brilliant scheme worthy of this status, but they all also succumb to periods of recklessness and insanity; no one is magnificent consistently.
    • Tiktoffen. Holy shit. He acted as a spy for pretty much every single major power in Europe. Managing exactly what information he fed to each one of them about Castle Heterodyne in order to manipulate them to further his own ends, i.e. freedom and controlling the castle for himself. Alas, he did not count on the Castle's Undying Loyalty to the Heterodyne family, and the greater utility of wrenches over knives for smashing things, like his Restraining Bolt gauntlet.
    • Zola. A master of Obfuscating Stupidity.
  • Mary Sue: One side effect of the Spark is that non-Spark characters tend to be mesmerized by those who have it. Another is that physics tends to give way when a Spark has his or her heart set on something. You could say that the webcomic is an examination of what a few Mary Sue characters turned loose in an ordinary world would do. (Hint: Think 'world war'.)
    • Lampshaded, as part of the story. A character tells a flashback tale of the Heterodynes, and adds her own character. Her name? Mary.
    • Agatha has shades of this too. She's a brilliant, beautiful, long lost heir to a gigantic kingdom that everyone follows with little complaint, who is rarely seriously inconvenienced by a challenge, with two handsome, brilliant boyfriends who are also heirs to giant empires and are also unstoppable.
    • The main character sparks all have shades of it, super scientists that are pretty, can make anything and are adept combatants. The only way you can really tell that Othar Tryggvassen is supposed to be a boisterous bruiser who is far more combat oriented is that he yells more than the other sparks, does more face punching, and less inventing, but he's implied to be just as good at the science (even if he occasionally forgets what something is called).
  • Memetic Badass: Klaus Wulfenbach and Old Man Death have earned the status a few times over. And Axel "The Unstoppable" Higgs.
  • Memetic Sex God: Klaus, among some of his fans.
  • Moe:
    • Violetta. Look at the last panel, awwww, she just wants a pretty dress.
    • Sanaa's having a cute moment here.
  • Moral Event Horizon:
    • Let's start with the Queen of the land beyond that horizon: Lucrezia. It isn't even For the Evulz or Card-Carrying Villain - it's more as if a Starfish Alien with no concept of human decency or morality were given human form. It's exactly as if that.
    • Zola must die, thanks to what she does after her power-up.
    • The Jägers, based on the third panel here, freely chose to join an army of Evil, and rejoice in that decision. Most of them are still sympathetic characters however, and they still have some pretty good standards. For instance, they are intensely loyal to the Heterodynes, and they absolutely detest Mind Control, as seen with their hate for the slaver wasps. See the strip above. Besides, it's implied that the Jaegers all started out as Boisterous Bruiser types, and if they worked for Ax-Crazy mad scientists... well, so did the people they were fighting, usually.
    • Merlot was an unrepentant Jerk Ass about being thrown into Castle Heterodyne. He threw Agatha out and burned everything, including the cryptographers, related to her importance. And then he got mad at her about it, like he didn't directly cause it all.
    • Avoided, barely, by the end of the Tarvek and Zola fight. She was already down and Tarvek kept on going; if not for some last minute interference, he would have strangled her to death with his bare hands. Despite the numerous arguments in favor of him doing so — that she had killed many people already, that she had just tried to kill Agatha, that she could neither be let free nor safely taken into custody — quite a few members of the audience were nonetheless queasy at the sight of one of the 'good guys' strangling a semi-conscious woman to death. Gil's last-minute interference saved Tarvek from a(nother?) possible Base Breaker moment.
    • Klaus has apparently done to Gil what Lucrezia did to Agatha and copied himself into his own son as a method of control.
  • Never Live It Down: Tarvek's... "adorning" of Lucrezia-controlled Agatha. Even Gil heard about it. He still does it in his head sometimes, so he has only himself to blame for it.
  • Nightmare Fuel: The slaver wasps.
    • The Bad Future from Othar's Twitter adventures.
    • Prince Aaronev's experiment when he's first introduced. The novel manages to take it Up to Eleven by mentioning twitching, and a small, strangled scream...
  • One True Threesome: Agatha/Gil/Tarvek. Initially, both of the gentlemen are eager to reduce it to a One True Pairing, but agree to tolerate each other's presence due to dangers of Castle Heterodyne. By the end of the Mechanicsburg arc, there are signs that Gil and Tarvek are coming to accept that they're both important to Agatha. And then there's this page, which has Tarvek expressing very genuine fear and regret over Gil, and Agatha consoling him. The Cinderella side-story indicates that the authors are at least okay with a "keep them both" scenario. It's been suggested as a possibility in the story, too.
  • Paranoia Fuel: Between stealth!Revenants and Lucrezia's liberal use of mind-downloads, you never quite know who you're talking to at first.
  • Rooting for the Empire: Even if Klaus is not the main antagonist.
  • Stop Helping Me!: Gil has this reaction a few times towards folks - most notably here, where he's trying to stop folks from describing his romantic reasons for trying to help Agatha. Unfortunately for him, he's being shouted down by an enthusiastic crowd, two trained circus performers who are trying to rile up said crowd, and two friends who like to see him squirm.
  • Squick: Lucrezia’s behavior towards Tarvek in Sturmhalten is very disturbing. She deliberately stays half-dressed and keeps making obviously sexual remarks, while wearing the body of her own daughter. Once she realizes that he's uncomfortable with this, she purposely teases him. The whole thing is made even more disturbing by how Lucrezia keeps comparing him to his father (who was obsessively in love with her to the point he tried to download a copy of her mind into his own daughter) and to Klaus (her former lover). It's even suggested that she actually planned on bedding him in Agatha's body, taking additional glee from the fact that he was in love with her daughter and still hoped to save her. Oh, and apparently Lucrezia was the one, who designed Tarvek as her ideal Storm King candidate, possibly planning to marry him later in Agatha’s body.
    • Likewise, her suggestion to Klaus at the Corbettite base: steal their kids' bodies permanently and work together again, relationship implied. Thankfully Klaus will have none of it.
  • Ugly Cute: The toothy, beady-eyed, eight-legged little revenant-detectors that were re-engineered from weasels.
  • Unfortunate Implications: In-Universe. Gil wants to keep Agatha safe and protect her from Klaus, and tells her so. It didn't occur to him that she might be offended by the implication that she, the Heterodyne heir, with the most impenetrable fortress in Europa, is a vulnerable damsel to be rescued. In fact, it's so stupid that Tarvek concludes Gil must be under mind control.
  • The Untwist: Supposedly the Baron died when the battles in Mechanicsburg started and the hospital got bombed. Very few were surprised when the Baron showed up, very much alive, some time later.
    Gil and Tarvek: I knew it!
  • What an Idiot: Once in a while a character does something that brings on the facepalm.
    • Othar seems to be falling into Ferretina's clutches. Unfortunately for her, he is - as usual - Wrong Genre Savvy.
    • Martellus interrupts Gil—a Spark who is clearly in the madness place—while Gil's attempting to get answers about the fate of his paramour, close friends, and his father, who've all been missing for two and a half years. Moreover, he interrupts Gil in order to taunt him that "with luck" said paramour is beyond Gil's reach forever. It quite predictably earns him a brutal beat-down and Gil ordering his enforcer-clank that "If he says another word, cut off his head and pack it in snow."