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?
GOOD FOR KIDS
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.
GOOD FOR GROWNUPS
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!