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The true story of the world's first chess-playing automaton, retold by creator Jane Irwin in her newest graphic novel.

FOURTH STRETCH GOAL TENTATIVELY ACHIEVED!

FIRST STRETCH GOAL ACHIEVED!   The trade paperbacks will get a substantial cover upgrade, moving from 10-pt to 12-pt stock, and will now sport a shiny spot gloss treatment on part of the cover. It's going to look really beautiful. The deluxe hardcovers will each have a ribbon bookmark sewn in.

SECOND STRETCH GOAL ACHIEVED! Both the trade paperbacks and the hardcovers will get an interior paper upgrade, moving from 60-pound paper to 70-pound paper. This will make the books heavier and more substantial.

THIRD STRETCH GOAL ACHIEVED! : I will be able to increase the print run from 1000 copies to 1500, (or possibly even 2000, depending on how early we hit the goal) and to celebrate, I will sign and personalize (“For Vyasar!”) every single print copy, even the Vögelein books in the Fiery Studios Library packages. Please note that this will cause a slight delay in fulfillment due to the extra time I'll need to personally invest on each book prior to shipping.

FOURTH STRETCH GOAL TENTATIVELY ACHIEVED! The trade paperbacks will receive printed endpapers on both the inside cover and the first and last pages. The deluxe hardcovers will get a metal die custom-made just for them, and will have the die stamped in gold foil on their front cover. PLEASE NOTE THAT IF THERE ARE CANCELLATIONS OR DECLINED CREDIT CARDS I WILL HAVE TO RETRACT THIS STRETCH GOAL.

IF WE HIT $15000: All print editions will receive a custom bookplate, and the hardcovers will have a custom-made, hand-printed signature sheet added to the front.  The signature sheet will be printed with hand-set type on a manual printing press by the Kalamazoo Book Arts Center.

Thank you all, again and again, for your generous pledges. I am so looking forward to making this book a reality!

In 1769, the court of Empress Maria Theresia witnessed one of that era's most amazing feats of engineering: a machine that could play chess.  Artfully constructed by a Hungarian nobleman named Wolfgang von Kempelen, the chess-machine played a unique game against each opponent, far surpassing the abilities of all its fellow automata.  Throughout its eighty-five year career, audiences across Europe and the Americas flocked to see the mechanical marvel seemingly capable of human intelligence;  Napoleon, Charles Babbage, and Benjamin Franklin were among its challengers, and Edgar Allen Poe wrote an essay attempting to explain how it worked.  Despite its demise over a hundred fifty years ago, its mystery continues to fascinate, and its audience's reaction to its Orientalist trappings casts fresh light on our present sense of the 'exotic'.

Clockwork Game is historical fiction, but I tried to stick as close to the recorded truth as made sense for the story, and make notes when I took liberties with the facts.  You can read the whole thing online for free -- and now I want to give the story the print edition it deserves.

Sample pages from the comic -- click to read the entire book for free!
Sample pages from the comic -- click to read the entire book for free!

If the Kickstarter succeeds, Clockwork Game will be released in three editions: PDF, trade paperback, and limited edition deluxe hardcover. All three versions of the book will be 216 black-and-white pages long and include a foreword by award-winning author Nisi Shawl, and an extensive notes section.  The PDF and trade paperback versions will feature a cover by fellow comics creator and graphic designer Paul Sizer.

The trade paperbacks will be printed in Ann Arbor, Michigan by Edwards Brothers Malloy, the same company that did the high-quality printing on my two previous Vögelein graphic novels.  They will be 8 x 10 inches in size, with a full-color, matte varnished cover.

The Limited Edition Deluxe Hardcover will be a true work of art, worthy of bibliophiles everywhere.  The folios for the hardcover edition will be printed in the trade paperback's print run, but while the rest of the books are being perfect-bound, a few lucky unbound versions will be shipped to Bessenberg Bindery, where they will be handbound by Bessenberg's  skilled craftspeople.  Their covers and endpapers will be custom-made exclusively for them, hand-marbled by the incredible Galen Berry.  The spines and corners will be bound in bonded leather, and the title stamped in gold foil.  The hardcovers will only be produced once, and I will make only a handful of extra copies for family members, so they will be very special, rare books, no two exactly alike.

If you'd like an example of how they'll look, please have a look at the previous hardcover edition of Vogelein: Old Ghosts, here -- the process and materials will be very similar:

Deluxe Hardcover editions of Vögelein: Old Ghosts, with binding by Bessenberg and paper by Galen Berry. Click to see more photos of these beautiful books.
Deluxe Hardcover editions of Vögelein: Old Ghosts, with binding by Bessenberg and paper by Galen Berry. Click to see more photos of these beautiful books.

As an additional reward, you can get an original page of art from the book -- pages are first-come, first-served, so please have a few selections, or let me choose a good one for you!    At the time of launch, all pages except one are available -- but if several get taken, I'll list them here in an update.  Please note that I do several hours of cleanup on each page, and have made many redactions to the art since the project began, so the page you receive may not exactly match how it appears online or in the book

PAGES CHOSEN:

The Elephant Clock

By an Unseen Hand

Napoleon's Retreat

Won't Allow Anyone to Look Inside That Box

Then the Clockworks Do Nothing At All

I Regret that I May Not Reveal its Secrets

Interior of the Cabinet

The Automaton Begs to Differ

I Will Say Nothing About It

How Smart Is It, Really?

It Appears I Must Attend to the Machinery

The $5,500 in funding should cover printing expenses (which my printer's quote puts at around $3500), shipping from the plant to me, and from me to you ($500), state and federal income tax ($1000) and the fees due to Kickstarter and Amazon Payments ($500). The tax and shipping estimates are actually fairly low and will probably be exceeded, but I wanted to keep my goal amount as achievable as possible.  Any money over that amount will be invested in improving the print editions, and possibly increasing the size of the print run. 

Special thanks to Matt Geerling of ICantDrawHands.com, who came through in a pinch and put together this amazing video.

The music you hear in the video is "Time is Tickin'," by Blue Dahlia, performed by Derek Menchinger, Carolyn Koebel, Levi Strickland, Cara Lieurance and Leslie Boughton, copyright Jerusalem Cherry Publishing, 2004. Find more music by them on CDBaby or iTunes!

Risks and challenges Learn about accountability on Kickstarter

Clockwork Game will be Fiery Studios' first Kickstarter, but it's my third major fundraising effort, the first being for the original single issue of Vögelein, and the second being for the Vögelein: Clockwork Faerie graphic novel. Both times I've been able to see the project through to fruition and ship the finished product within a reasonable timeframe.

With my second book, Vögelein: Old Ghosts, I did experience a delay due to quality issues with the printer, but I plan to have Clockwork Game printed by the same local company that printed the current, excellent-quality editions of Clockwork Faerie and Old Ghosts.

Since all of the artwork is already completed and the endnotes are already written, the only major risk I foresee may be delays in printing due to the holidays. I will do my best to ensure a quick turnaround and hope to complete all editing and proofreading tasks during the next thirty days, so that the book is ready to print as soon as the Kickstarter completes.

Thanks for reading, and for helping me bring Clockwork Game to print!

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    A PDF of Clockwork Game, plus your name featured in the acknowledgements section of the book as a supporter.

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    TRADE PAPERBACK: A copy of the Clockwork Game trade paperback, plus a PDF, plus your name featured in the acknowledgements section of the book as a supporter.

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    THE FIERY STUDIOS LIBRARY: All three trade paperbacks published by Fiery Studios -- Clockwork Game, Vögelein: Clockwork Faerie, and Vögelein: Old Ghosts. Also includes a PDF of Clockwork Game, plus your name featured in Clockwork Game's acknowledgements section as a supporter.

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    ARTWORK AND TRADE PAPERBACK: A piece of original art from the book (your choice or mine, first come, first served), plus a copy of the Clockwork Game trade paperback, plus a PDF, plus your name featured in the acknowledgements section of the book as a supporter.

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    DELUXE HARDCOVER EDITION: A hardcover copy of Clockwork Game, hand-bound by Bessenberg Bindery (http://www.bessenberg.com) featuring hand-marbled paper covers made exclusively for the book by Galen Berry (http://marbleart.us). Also includes a PDF of the book and your name featured in the acknowledgements section of the book as a supporter.

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    DELUXE HARDCOVER AND READING COPY: The deluxe hardcover copy of Clockwork Game, along with a trade paperback reading copy, a PDF of the book and your name featured in the acknowledgements section of the book as a supporter.

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    SUPER SUPPORTER: A deluxe hardcover edition, a trade paperback reading copy, a PDF, and a piece of original art from the book (your choice or mine, first come, first served). Also includes your name featured in the acknowledgements section of the book as a supporter.

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    6 backers Limited (6 left of 12)

    FIERY STUDIOS MIXED LIBRARY: TWO HARDCOVERS AND A PAPERBACK -- Since the Vögelein: Clockwork Faerie hardcover edition is now entirely sold out, this reward is for the Clockwork Game deluxe hardcover, the Vögelein: Old Ghosts hardcover, and a trade paperback of Vögelein: Clockwork Faerie. . Also includes a PDF of Clockwork Game, plus your name featured in Clockwork Game's acknowledgements section as a supporter. ONLY 12 AVAILABLE!

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    FIERY STUDIOS HARDCOVER LIBRARY: All three deluxe hardcovers published by Fiery Studios -- Clockwork Game, Vögelein: Clockwork Faerie, and Vögelein: Old Ghosts. Also includes a PDF of Clockwork Game, plus your name featured in Clockwork Game's acknowledgements section as a supporter. ONLY ONE AVAILABLE!

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