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Foglio, Phil

Entry updated 12 September 2022. Tagged: Artist, Author, Fan.

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(1956-    ) American artist and author. He received a BFA in cartooning from the Chicago Academy of Fine Arts and began his career by contributing artwork to Fanzines, winning the Hugo as Best Fan Artist in 1977 and 1978; in the late 1970s and early 1980s, he also contributed interior art to Asimov's Science Fiction and did some covers and a recurring comic strip, "What's New with Phil and Dixie", for Dragon Magazine. While his first Dragon cover, for the May 1979 issue, was an ominous-looking rendering of a horned creature in a diving suit, he was clearly stronger in producing humorous art, as seen in his final Dragon cover, for the December 1981 issue, showing a rueful little pink dragon whose fiery breath has melted a snow-dragon. Soon, Foglio moved to New York and began working for Comic books, first for his own company and later for other companies, and this has remained his principal avocation. His early comics include issues of DC Comics's Angel and the Ape and Plastic Man; some comics featuring a character he created, a high-tech detective on another planet named Buck Godot; and a 1985-1986 graphic novel adaptation of the first book in Robert Asprin's M.Y.T.H. series, Another Fine Myth ... (1977). He was also hired to do covers and interior illustrations for all of the other Asprin M.Y.T.H. books from 1982 until the author's death in 2008, including some later instalments co-authored by Jody Lynn Nye. Unsurprisingly, his Asprin covers tend to be playful but unmemorable. On rare occasions, he has painted covers for other writers, including books by Randall Garrett and James Blaylock.

In the 1990s, Foglio met and married artist Kaja Foglio (1970-    ), who became his collaborator on his most celebrated project, the Steampunk comic Girl Genius (2001-current), though the Foglios prefer the term "gaslamp fantasy". This was regularly published in print until 2005 and online as a webcomic thereafter. Works in the series won the Hugo Award for Best Graphic Novel in 2009, 2010, and 2011, inspiring the Foglios to decline a fourth nomination in 2012. While the series' artwork is appealing, its clever writing, elaborately delineating a technologically advanced Victorian era, may be its most outstanding feature, and the Foglios have interestingly sought to discover if their stories can be effective without illustrations by authoring a series of novelizations of the series, beginning with Agatha H. and the Airship City (2011) and Agatha H. and the Clockwork Princess (2012). On his own, Foglio has also written three short stories (two being collaborations) and collaborated (as James Clay) with Nick Pollotta on the novel That Darn Squid God (2004); however, despite reports that he co-authored Pollotta's Illegal Aliens (1989) as well, he actually only illustrated that novel. Despite their dabblings in prose fiction, though, Foglio and his wife will probably continue to focus on the artwork that has brought them such success. [GW]

Phil Foglio

born Mount Vernon, New York: 1 May 1956



Girl Genius

individual titles

graphic works (selected)


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