If you're already receiving Cartozia Tales, and you've already bought gift subscriptions for all the young readers you can think of, you might still want some pointers for very good indie comics, maybe even by our friends, guests, and contributors. Here's a list you can use to hunt for things at your local bookstore if they stock all the excellent comics. (Or you can follow our Amazon links, and a little bit of coin will drift back to us.)

I'm going to post this page and update it a few times, just because it's growing sort of long...

Did you know that Sarah Becan and Lucy Bellwood both have books you can buy? Sarah's Shuteye is a semi-magical collection of nested dream stories, with an introduction by our editor Isaac. Lucy's Baggywrinkles is a lot of fun nonfiction nautical stuff, including essential information about scurvy and walking the plank (which pirates totally never did). You can also browse some great minicomics (and stickers, etc) at Lucy's store; some cool shirts at Sarah's store;  and actually lots of minicomics by each of our regular contributors at their sites (which you can find under the "Creators" menu).

But what about our awesome guest stars?


Chris Schweizer has a page in our new & expanded first issue, and he's got two good series of adventure comics for your bookshelf (or a youngster's). There's derring-do in the Crogan's Adventures series — Catfoot's Vengeance is a pirate yarn, and Last of the Legion takes you to the Northern Sahara. There's also fun spooky mystery in The Creeps, which is sort of an elementary-school mashup of Hellboy and Scooby-Doo, in three volumes so far: Night of the Frankenfrogs, The Trolls Will Feast!, and The Attack of the Jack-O-Lanterns.

Slightly older kids with a taste for sea monsters and maritime adventure will probably enjoy Ben Towle's wonderful Oyster War, which is set in a fictionalized Chesapeake Bay. It's also good for grown-ups who like fun comics, in fact. You'll remember Ben from our seventh issue.

You can also get some high-quality all-ages adventure from Pete Wartman's Over the Wall, a fantasy set in a forbidden ruined city, which a girl must enter to rescue her lost brother. You'll see right away why Pete was a natural to do a Minnaig story in our issue #6.

Have you seen Luke Pearson's Hildafolk series? It's super cute, as you might expect from Luke's story in issue #5, and it does great things with European folklore and a plucky young female protagonist. There are five Hildafolk books — Hilda and the Troll, Hilda and the Midnight Giant, Hilda and the Black Hound, Hilda and the Stone Forest, and Hilda and the Bird Parade — and Hilda is coming to Netflix in 2018! You really can't go wrong with these books.

James Kochalka's Glorkian Warrior series is also a big deal in our house — James (who invented Zin and Wizzix in issue #2) really gets a kid's silly sense of humor, and it's impossible to get through Glorkian Warrior Delivers a Pizza or The Mustache of Destiny without giggling. For littler kids, the Johnny Boo books are also really great fun.

If you know a kid who's into science, try Leo Geo or Volcanoes by our guest Jon Chad (issue #3), or Primates, Human Body Theater, or Coral Reefs by our guest Maris Wicks (issue #8). 


Dylan Horrocks is one of the first cartoonists to sign on for Cartozia Tales, and he has been a stalwart supporter of the project from very early on. It's because of Dylan that we have the Accordian Academy, Taco and Wick, the Sprigsters, and lots more: Cartozia wouldn't be the same without him. His most recent book, Sam Zabel and the Magic Pen, isn't for kids — it's not nasty, but it is a serious inspection of the ethics of erotic fantasy, which means some NSFW sequences — but it's really one of my favorite books of the last few years, and I recommend it wholeheartedly, especially if you like comics. If you don't know Dylan's Hicksville, a conflicted love letter to comics to which The Magic Pen is sort of a sequel, get it as a present to yourself.

If you haven't read Tom Hart's harrowing memoir Rosalie Lightning, I strenuously recommend it — though I should warn you in advance that it's about as raw and sincere an account of grief as you can probably handle. It's about the death of Tom's two-year-old daughter, and personally I cried pretty much the whole time I was reading it. Maybe not the happiest holiday gift, I guess, but man, it's strong stuff. If you're looking for something by Tom that's not so heavy, let me recommend She's Not Into Poetry, a collection of his early minicomics.

Eleanor Davis, who did the cover for our fifth issue, has one of my favorite collections of short comics, How to Be Happy. It's gorgeously cartooned, and the book holds together (thematically) so well that it's as moving to read as any graphic novel. You might also be able to track down her fun all-ages detective adventure, The Secret Science Alliance.

Oh, there are so many more books to recommend! I'll try to add more next week!


Reprint of issue #1 arrives next week!

We are pretty excited here at Cartozia Headquarters, because the expanded reprint of Cartozia Tales #1 will be arriving from the print shop early next week. (It's all printed, as of Thursday morning, and just needs to be bound and delivered.) You can pre-order it now in the shop.

This is the long-awaited product of our second Kickstarter, with new covers by Kate Leth (front) and Lucy Bellwood (back), the original guest stories by Jon Lewis and Dylan Horrocks, and new one-page guest stories by Graham Annable, Zander Cannon, Tom Kaczynski, Caitlin Lehman, Dylan Meconis, Chris Schweizer, and Spike Trotman! (I hope you can tell that's an amazing line-up of talented friends chipping in to make this issue special.)

I've made a few updates in the store, and I'm gearing up to ship all the comics earned by our Kickstarter backers (244 of them). Issue 9 is getting close to finished, too — you can follow @Cartozia on Twitter to see its progress day by day.

Kickstart a New Edition of Issue #1!

From October 14 to November 4, we will be raising money on Kickstarter to support the reprinting of our first issue, of which we just didn't print enough to match the eventual demand. Having plenty of copies of the first issue will let us keep selling ten-issue bundles ("subscriptions"), which will keep Cartozia Press solvent through the printing of the tenth issue.

Here's a link to the Kickstarter campaign.

Here's a link to a Facebook Event you can use to spread the word to your friends and contacts.

Because some of our books are listed as rewards in the Kickstarter campaign, we're listing them as "out of stock" here in the Cartozia store until the campaign closes.

The new edition of issue #1 that we're planning is going ot be really wonderful. All of the existing contents of Cartozia Tales #1 will still be there, polished up and corrected in a few spots. We'll add a couple of color pages, and we're going to add eight brand new pages featuring Cartozia comics by a really incredible group of guest-stars. (Honestly, it's hard to convey how excited we are to be working with these wonderful people.)

If you're already a subscriber, you'll probably want this new version of the first issue. If you don't know Cartozia Tales yet, this book will probably blow your socks off: seventeen amazing indie cartoonists working together to make a world like no other.


Holiday sale!

In the interest of making it easier for folks to give & receive Cartozia Tales here at the end of the year, I've set up sale prices on new subscriptions — whether you're getting the little bonus books or not. (The sale includes nine- and eight-issue partial subscriptions for people who already have our first issue or two.)

I've got some nice little gift-card slips I can include if you're ordering for someone other than yourself, and I'll use one if it looks like you're ordering a gift.

And here's something else: the first thirty subscriptions ordered during this holiday season will get a nice additional bonus: either our "Greetings from Cartozia" sixteen-postcard set, or a "non-canon" Cartozia story that is published on ten sendable postcards. (The second option is a comic by Isaac Cates and Mike Wenthe that's part of the secret background of Cartozia Tales.) I'll enclose these extras as supply allows, but if you want to state a preference, please do.

We are hoping for a fun and productive set of holidays — and hoping to bring out our seventh issue early in 2015. I've seen some of the stories for it already, and they're looking great.

Summer Means Updates

Issue #4 is currently at the printer, and I'm told that I'll have at least a few copies on Wednesday — maybe enough to start shipping them then. I'm excited to see what people think of the new stories, several of which have new secrets and surprises. I mean, I don't want to spoil anything right now, but who would have thought that the prince of Neenorra was a pretender to the throne?

I've also been updating our main website here, including a big update to the store. (Click on the "order" link in the banner to see what's new, including a chance to appear on the new version of our world map.) By the end of the week, I should also have listings for our guests in issue #4 and #5 in the "Creators" section.

And then it'll be time to start shipping again!

Press proofs for the cover for issue #4

I Should Post Something! (I know.)

It's been a long while since I posted an update here, mostly because I was making posts through Kickstarter while our Kickstarter campaign was running. It succeeded a few months ago, and we are still working on issue #3, I'm sorry to say.

(Production on issue #3 was slowed down by a variety of one-time factors, ranging from illnesses to, you know, Kickstarter fulfillment. But it's within a hair's breadth of being done. I'll post an update here when I get it to the print shop.)

The good news is that issue #4, which guest-stars Jon Chad and Chris Wright, will not be nearly so slow coming together. In fact, it's a third of the way finished already. 

Collaboration is funny: it can mean progress is very slow (as each collaborator can have problems or emergencies) or very rapid (because many hands make light work).

Well, to whet your appetite, let me show you Damien Jay's cover image for issue #3, featuring characters designed by Shawn Cheng and Evan Dahm:


One Week Until Kickstarter

I received approval yesterday for the Cartozia Tales Kickstarter project, and I've spend some time since then fine-tuning it, adding more rewards, etc. Some things will get reorganized here on the website when I start it up, but the biggest change is that subscriptions will not be available through our BigCartel store for the duration of the Kickstarter campaign. For obvious reasons, I want to steer new subscribers toward the Kickstarter site so they can help us reach the goal.

If you're thinking about subscribing, you should know this: subscriptions-as-Kickstarter-rewards will be a little more expensive than the subscriptions I've been selling directly, because Kickstarter and Amazon skim about 10% off the pledges or payments before they reach us. If you know someone who would really like Cartozia Tales, see if you can convince him or her to sign up before August 15 — that will save your friend a few dollars (about 10%).

And here's the thing: right now I am planning to set the Kickstarter goal at $42,500. (That's actually not quite enough to pay for all ten issues. If we only get that much, I'll publish the series gambling on future business to come in before I need more money.)

BUT: for every $60 or $54 subscription we get before the 15th, I will lower that figure by $60. For every $80 or $72 subscription, I'll drop it $80. (Those odd-increment numbers are for nine-issue subscriptions, which start with issue #2, for people who got #1 by itself.)

Having a lower Kickstarter goal increases our chance of success, so please do spread the word. And don't worry: there will be lots of Kickstarter rewards tailored to current subscribers, too!

A shot of the Kickstarter page, in progress, this morning.

A shot of the Kickstarter page, in progress, this morning.

#1 has shipped!

I'm happy to say that I have now shipped Cartozia Tales  #1 to everyone who ordered it in advance of printing. There are still plenty of copies if you don't have yours yet.

People have  been saying good things about it, and the contributors have been really happy with the way it turned out. One thing that's hard to convey over the internet is the feel of the paper stock we're using and the heft of the book. Lucy Bellwood has a little bit to say about that on her Tumblr.

That's Isaac's big hand, not Lucy's.

That's Isaac's big hand, not Lucy's.

Credit where credit is due: the people at Queen City Printers did a really nice job with the book, and they were great about getting me involved with reviewing the process. They were also really speedy. It's nice to be able to work with a local print shop!  

More than half of the pages for issue #2 are already in my hands, and I'm really excited to see how some of these plots are developing. The book should be ready before SPX in mid-September for sure.

Meanwhile, I am getting our Kickstarter project page ready. Subscriptions will be cheaper here through the website before we start the Kickstarter (because Kickstarter takes a cut), and every subscription we get before then will lower our target goal, so please don't wait till we're running it if you already know you want to subscribe.

I'll put up a new post when the first issue gets some reviews. 


#1 is at the Print Shop!

I'm happy to say that Cartozia Tales  #1 is now at the print shop. I'll be seeing proofs in a few days, and then it'll probably take a week to get the book printed. That means I should have copies in my hands by August 1 or 2.

Meanwhile, the stories and cover art for issue #2 are already starting to come in. We should have that ready on a much quicker timetable — in fact, I'm a little worried that we'll have #2 ready to print before #1 generates any mail for the letter column. (Yes, Cartozia Tales  has a letters column.)

I set the cover price for issue #1 at $6.00, rather than the $5.00 I planned on, because it's 44 pages long (and therefore costs a bit more to print). The cover price increase will not affect our subscribers, nor will it affect anyone who buys the book before August 1 (I'm going to leave it set at $5.00 in our online store until I get the physical copies from the print shop.) I think you'll find it worth the price. It's going to be on really nice (80#) paper, so it'll feel more like a booklet than a magazine, and it's going to stand up to some sustained re-reading.

Why, even the cover can be pored over for a while! Have a look: 

cover by Leah Palmer Preiss

cover by Leah Palmer Preiss

All But the Covers

The first issue of Cartozia Tales  is all ready to go to the printer, except for the covers, which should be arriving from our two cover artists early next week. That delay is sort of a bummer — I'd really hoped to be shipping the first issue by now — but I don't want to rush our cover artists, because I know good work takes time.

The good news is that the work on the second issue is already coming together. Almost everyone has figured out an outline of his or her story, and I've even seen four pages of finished work already. The second issue's going to come together faster than the first one did!

I'll post more news once I get the first issue off to the printer next week. 

Nearly Ready

I want to say a quick word of thanks to the people who have already subscribed to Cartozia Tales. I think you're going to be pleased with what arrives in the mail at the end of the month!

Issue #1 is now two-thirds finished. I'm waiting on a couple of nearly finished stories, including my own contribution (delayed by some health trouble that is thankfully all resolved now), and then we'll need to work up a few of the extras (text pieces, bonuses, and so forth).

Meanwhile, I've added a few story previews to the "Cartoziana" gallery, and a couple of color images that feature our sweet new logo designed by Leah Palmer Preiss. Also, I'd be remiss if I didn't mention that two of our core cartoonists, Sarah Becan and Lucy Bellwood, will be representing Cartozia at the CAKE convention in Chicago this weekend. If you're in the neighborhood, drop by! CAKE is a terrific show.

Debut Day

I'm going to make the first ten subscriptions to Cartozia Tales available in the store at at 10% discount. If those all sell today, I'll make a 5% discount available for other early adopters. I'm excited about this project, and excited to be announcing it—I hope it looks exciting to you, too!

Edit, May 30: I'm going to make the 5% discount available through the end of the week.

Getting started:

If you're visiting this page of, then you're seeing some of the first steps in our process. The website is ready to accept pre-orders, and the stories for Cartozia Tales #1 are appearing in Isaac's mailbox. He'll send them to our cover artist for the first issue, Leah Palmer Preiss. Then he'll gather the material for the front and back sections of the magazine and send everything to the print shop for our forty-page debut issue.

Meanwhile, the cartoonists will start work on Cartozia Tales #2. Both of the first two issues should be ready before August, when we're going to start a Kickstarter campaign to fund the whole year's worth of ten issues. Every subscription we get before then will help to set the Kickstarter target a little lower.

If we hit our Kickstarter goal (and I really think we can), then all ten issues of this first year will be paid for—both the printing and the modest per-page rate that the cartoonists receive. 

If we don't hit our Kickstarter goal in September, we'll have to recalculate a little bit, but we'll make sure every subscriber gets a refund for any unpublished issues.

The future of Cartozia Tales will rely on word-of-mouth promotion. If you like what you see here, subscribe—and tell your friends, your classmates, your library, your Facebook wall, the world. We're excited to see what Cartozia is going to become.