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A-Kon 2011
Girl Genius, Oggie, Jenka, Studio Foglio, Jagermonster
 A-Kon Report 2011

Last week, the minions and I headed down to Texas for A-Kon 2011, my first con and one of the best weekends of my entire life. We met up with friends, hung out, and had a lot of fun, and of course, the highlight of the weekend centered around Girl Genius.
A bit of backstory: how I met Travis is that the summer of 2010, I printed off May 14th’s comic and brought it into work, and as I reread it, sighing all fangirly, Travis looked over my shoulder and recited Tarvek’s line of “Have you no shame?” I was thrilled to meet another fan of GG, and we skived off work and spent hours talking. Now not only are he and his wife, Kristina, my best friends, but Girl Genius is what brought us together, and so is an important part of our lives.

That, among other reasons, is why we decided to cosplay as Girl Genius characters for A-Kon: myself as Agatha, Travis as Maxim, and Kristina as Zeetha. Our time was limited, as I was in Spain from January to early May, and so we had a furious month of costume-making, and several late nights with the sewing machine and hot glue gun later, we had three awesome costumes. I also made a huge batch of pumpkin bread to take down, including some to give to the Foglios, as I hoped they’d enjoy it. In case they didn’t, I also brought a box of nice tea I’d gotten at the local British foods shop – the proprietor said that a particular brand was his favorite, and when I saw the box proclaim “Barry’s Tea”, well, it was icing on the cake, so I laughed and decided to get it.

On Friday we were in costume, about to meet Flora, aka Sveethot (in costume as Mamma Gkika) in the lobby, when down the escalator came Phil and Kaja themselves! After resisting the urge to faint, we greeted them, and they seemed very pleased to see our trio of cosplayers. They said that our costumes were “some of the best they’d ever seen” and then went on their way (Artist’s Alley wasn’t going to be opening for another hour or so). We then met up with Flora and after taking a few pictures and browsing a bit, headed to the Foglios’ booth.

Phil was already busy when we arrived, and Kaja wasn’t at the booth, so I waited in line to get my copy of the Agatha H novel sighed. That book had been with me on two continents and four countries, and now I was getting it signed by the authors! When my turn came, I presented Phil with the pumpkin bread and tea, explaining that it was just a token of my appreciation and that I hoped that he and Kaja would enjoy them. He smiled and laughed a bit when he saw the tea, and then signed my book (and did a cute little doodle of Agatha, as well).

I then steeled myself and, stammering and trying hard not to blush, asked if I might have a sketch, as well, presenting the blank inner back cover of my copy of the novel. He agreed, asking what I would like, and still stammering and blushing beet red, unable to look at aught but my boots, I asked for a sketch of Tarvek in a frilly dress. It was at this point that Travis intervened with clarification, and Phil paused, readied his drawing arm, and put pen to paper (and I was still staring at my boots and blushing). When I saw the sketch, I was ecstatic. I thanked him, and then went to buy my copy of Volume 10 from Alice, as well as the mechanical heart pin. By the time I was done, Kaja had showed up, so I politely waited for her to finish signing some cards and then asked if she would sign the book, as well, which she did.

While she was signing the book, I asked her a question that had been niggling at the back of my brain for a while: what happened to Tarvek’s mother? I mean, she is his link to the Storm King…I was just curious. Kaja’s response: “She’s out there somewhere. Or not.” Which likely means it’s a plot point. Still, I’d gotten my book signed, my sketch, and joy of joys, to meet the Foglios. I was on top of the world!
Also on that day, we encountered another group of cosplayers: an Agatha, a Zeetha, a Gil, a Tarvek, and a Higgs. Well, one simply can’t have two Agathas, so we had a “fight” in front of the onlookers, taking turns being Lucrezia. I had a deathray, whereas she was unarmed, so I think that means I won. It was very fun, and I saw lots of people taking pictures.

That evening, there was a Steampunk Ball/Social, which was wonderful. Dancing, talking, and I met a fellow Girl Genius fan. I wore my Agatha costume, minus wig, blouse, and deathray. I looked rather nice, in my opinion, and Kristina looked lovely in the new corset she’d made just for the occasion.

The next day, we went by the Foglios’ booth again, this time so I could buy the Jäger pin, and also so Kristina and I could get our picture taken in costume with the Foglios. After Travis took the picture, I commented that I hoped they’d enjoyed the pumpkin bread, to which Kaja replied “That was YOU?!?” She admitted that she’d been tearing off pieces all day, and had greatly enjoyed it. Kaja also seemed pleased I had brought my “Jägerduckie”, as she put it, and then amused when I commented that “Well, the Jägerpoodle would’ve been too hyper.” We thanked them once more, and then went off to tour the dealer room, where I met the writer of Peter is the Wolf, another favorite webcomic of mine (the creator is a very nice man, and seemed amused when I admitted I’d been reading his comic since before I was legally old enough to).

I also went down to where Peter S. Beagle, author of The Last Unicorn, had his booth set up, so I could get my copy signed. That book has been a favorite of mine ever since I was a child, and I eagerly waited in line. While in line, the assistant saw my costume, and went, “Oh, hello Agatha,” and we made a bit of small talk. When I got to the front of the line, I explained to Peter S. Beagle how much his work meant to me, and he signed my book. We chatted a bit about the Iowa Writer’s Workshop, and his time in Pittsburgh, and then he commented “So your name’s Agatha, then?” I replied no, and gave my real name. I only realized later that he must’ve thought his assistant had recognized me by name, as he had signed the book “To Agatha”. In retrospect, it’s kind of funny, I suppose.

After dropping some more pumpkin bread off at the Foglios’ booth (I had made plenty and I was ecstatic that they had liked it – I may not be able to do fancy fondant work like my sister, but I do make good pumpkin bread), I went to the dealer’s room and bought birthday presents for my siblings. While there, I ran into Andrew, the Girl Genius fan I’d met at the Steampunk Ball, and invited him to join me and my friends while we waited for the room where the Girl Genius panel was being held to open.

We’d camped out outside the room a bit, talking and debating theories, and Flora shared the news that the Foglios had debunked the “Higgs is Gkika and Krizhan’s son” theory, and that Phil had been glad that Kaja debunked that theory. Kaja did say that the theory was on the right track, but that it was simpler. We were at the front of the line (Jen had a sign taped to her that said ‘front of line’, in fact), so when the Foglios showed up to find that the room wasn’t ready yet, we were able to see them again. Travis, Kristina and I thanked them for making Girl Genius, because if it weren’t for Girl Genius, I never would’ve become friends with them, the first friends I’d had since I was a kid. I was somewhat reiterating what I’d mentioned earlier at their booth, having told them the story of how Travis and I met, which they seemed to like, and I also said that if the art for that day ever came up for sale, I was planning on buying it. Kaja then revealed that the initial plan had been for Agatha to find out about Punch and Judy still being alive much later, but that it had fit for that point in the story.

While we were waiting in line, Cheyenne Wright called Phil, and we were able to overhear that Cheyenne was asking about how far down some ladder went. Later, when we saw that Monday’s comic, it all made sense, but at the time it was something to puzzle over.
The panel itself was wonderful. My question was answered, and so yes, we will be seeing Klaus’s wife at some point, which is neat. Travis asked if Vole had been the source of Klaus’s information about how Jägers worked biologically, to which Phil said no, it was because Klaus had dissected some of the dead Jägers after battles. Kaja then thanked him for that mental image, and went on. Also interesting: the Jägers like hats because “they’re bored.” The hats fly off during battle, so they’re easy to find again, and well, “it beats knitting”. Kaja then conjured up the image of the Jägers presenting Agatha with something they’d knitted: “Ve made dis for hyu! *warning tone* VEAR IT…” Kaja also told us that she’d only found out what “shipping” (in the fandom sense) meant rather recently, and that the aftermath of the Si Vales Valeo isn’t quite done with yet (for example, how Agatha got infected, etc).

Kaja and Phil know what is being said in Skiff and Geistersprache, but there is no direct 1:1 translation, so no sense in trying for a dictionary of either. The origins of characters were discussed, and we learned that they are fans of Dropbox as a way to get everything done between the 3 members of the team. Lucrezia is somewhat inspired by someone Kaja knew in high school, and Kaja likes writing Lucrezia and Zola because they’re so self-centered. The plotline for Girl Genius is stored in Phil and Kaja’s heads, though they do keep a stack of the books beside them when they’re writing as reference, to avoid continuity errors. Any differences between the novel and the comic are due to “newer, better research”, and the next novel, tentatively titled “Agatha H and the Clockwork Princess” will probably come out in January, though the first novel has been doing so well, their publisher wants it to come out in time for the Christmas rush.

The panel was amazing, and it was nice to see a packed room. We learned a lot, and it was absolutely wonderful to be there with other fans. The con was the best weekend of my life, and I’m already planning my next cosplay outfit (Violetta). It was thrilling to meet the Foglios, and they are such nice, amazing people in real life, which is wonderful. I honestly am running out of superlatives to describe how spiffy the con was.

So that’s the con report, and now I’m plotting how I can go to another con while still balancing work and my senior year of undergraduate. As always, FOR SCIENCE!

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Thanks for the report and all the pics, darling! It really looks like you had a great time, and it felt a bit like being there with you :D Thanks for sharing the news and the little hints from the chat with the Foglios, that will give us something more to ponder about... I can't wait for the next novel to be out!

Also, I do still plan to draw my own version of Tarvek in a frilly dress, so stay tuned ;)

Yay! More Tarvek in a frilly dress! I'd actually love to see him in a french maid outfit...*grins* But I'm just evil and have a thing for guys in dresses.

Well, I'd have chosen precisely the french maid outfit as his frilly dress for the pic, since it was the dress you quoted as an example back on the first time we talked about it, so... you'll get Tarvek in a french maid outfit :D

I also want to draw Agatha in a french maid outfit for a series of GG-themed pinups I have in mind, but I'm afraid that might come off as a weapon of mass destruction or something ;)

Thank you! That was a good report on a wonderful weekend; it got more than a few chuckles here. Thanks for the pictures too (including the laser-eyed Jägerpoodle).

The costumes look good. I hope you will share some pictures of the Violetta outfit when you finish it. (Hanging off a pole keeping Agatha from being swept away is optional.)

I have the GRE to study for, plus work, so the Violetta costume is still in planning stages (though I do have the shirt). I'm getting my hair cut in a week or so, and my plan for that is to print off a page with Violetta on it (there's a nice one in volume ten) and say "This".

Glad you liked the pictures!

Not to put too fine a point on it I think you will make a better Violetta than an Agatha, if that's indeed possible.

If you do not post pictures I will hunt you down and stab you with an al-dente noodle. And your little dog too!

(Oh, and I agree. You did look rather nice sans wig, blouse, and death ray.)



Such compliments - you'll turn my poor head! *laughs* Glad you liked the pictures. And I will post pictures when I get the costume done - which will probably be around October. I know what I need to make, and I have the cloak and blouse (and will have the haircut soon), but I also have grad school applications, the GRE, and lab work.

I never make compliments, only state truths. :D

If you come up to Stumptown comic fest or Emerald City Comicon let me know. I've been threatening to come as Tarvek in a sheet and boot. I've got the glasses (belonged to my great grandmother) but I'd have to let my hair grow and get a friend to dye it black and red. She's good, and my white hair takes color like washing a pillowcase with a red sock.

SQUEEEE! I love this report! I also liked that the Jaegers were debauched because they're BORED! This is a great report and makes me wish I'd taken notes.

I'll be posting a few pics as soon as (all together now) I get interwebs up at my apartment, which should be some time this week, including Krosp by Phil, an octopus/cat by Jennie Breeden, and Snooch by J. Grant.

It was great to meet you & the minions!

EDIT: You might want to post your pics to the A-Kon website.

Edited at 2011-06-20 03:02 pm (UTC)

I didn't take notes, and I wish I'd've remembered to mention the information wars and Kaja's take on Lucrezia in Agatha's head as Agatha and Gil get intimate...that was hilarious.

And yay for interwebs! Yay for Snooch!

Have to say, your Agatha costume's awesome stuff and you looked lovely at the ball. ^^

No worries. :) That style definitely fits you.

So, here's a question, cosplay anything else besides Girl Genius? I've wanted to do a Master Payne cosplay myself.

I think that is right bout that. Nice info and thanks. Need to get in google feed.

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