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An all-ages fantasy anthology with all the stories set in a shared world, created by a team of top-notch indie cartoonists.
An all-ages fantasy anthology with all the stories set in a shared world, created by a team of top-notch indie cartoonists.
763 backers pledged $44,151 to help bring this project to life.

About this project

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$44,151

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If you're already sold on the comic, you can find subscriptions at $68 and $89 in the long cornucopia of rewards over there. 

If you want any persuading, however, let me invite you to discover Cartozia, a fantasy world populated by strange creatures, puzzling mysteries, thrilling adventures, and a diverse cast of fun and unusual characters.

A map of Cartozia, as of yet incompletely explored
A map of Cartozia, as of yet incompletely explored

Cartozia Tales is an all-ages fantasy series, with nine stories in each issue, all set in the same world. But Cartozia is not your standard swords-and-sorcery setting. Although it does have gryphons and dragons and elves, it’s also got stork-headed men and diminutive desert lizard people, wuggamuts and phibbits and tickle crabs, wandering library stairs and a shrinking swamp, essence magicians, incantors, and a global society of cartographers.

We are really committed to making this an all-ages series, because we think the world needs more comics that can be shared across generational boundaries. We won't be including things that aren't suitable for even very young readers. (Several of the core creators are parents of young kids, so we know that part of the target audience.) We are focused on telling the sorts of stories—of mystery, wonder, and discovery; of searching and striving; of trials and betrayals—that engage us as adult readers. Because we take kids seriously as readers, we know they enjoy the challenge of the occasional new word or a moment of narrative complexity. We especially want to honor the child's playful impulse to discover and invent complicated imaginary worlds. 

One pleased subscriber recently wrote in to say, "[The first issue] is great. My son was really excited when it arrived, and he picked it up immediately and started reading. I asked him what he thought of it, but he wouldn't stop reading to answer me."

Cartozia Tales is created collaboratively by a group of indie cartoonists working together to discover and invent the world of Cartozia and its secrets. We share the creation of the world of Cartozia by a process of chance, setting our stories in different parts of the map randomly with each issue. As the months progress, we trade characters and locations, picking up and expanding the stories started by our fellow contirbutors.

Our artistic and narrative voices are all different, so each character moves from issue to issue through a real variety of styles, making for a new and engaging sort of storytelling. What’s more, we are continually leaving our cherished characters’ fates in our collaborators’ hands! (And, in time, even our readers have a chance to influence the way the stories will turn out.)

Just some of the characters in our first two issues.
Just some of the characters in our first two issues.

With so many plots and creators to follow, there's really something in Cartozia for everyone. There are seven core cartoonists whose work appears in every issue, and the other two sectors of the map are handled in each issue by guest artists, including such big names and notables as Dylan Horrocks, Jason Lutes, Maris Wicks, Kevin Cannon, Jon Lewis, and James Kochalka. You can see more about them on the guest-artist page of the Cartozia website.

In fact, you can see lots more about the project, including sample stories, by navigating around on the Cartozia website. Dig deeper! See what you’ll find!

Leah Palmer Preiss's cover for issue #1, featuring Jon Lewis and Dylan Horrocks
Leah Palmer Preiss's cover for issue #1, featuring Jon Lewis and Dylan Horrocks

I have already published one really gorgeous issue of Cartozia Tales, and the second installment is, as of September 7, on its way from the press. I am aiming for a vibrant, durable, and attractive printed package that doesn’t just present the stories, but enhances them with its warmth. Each issue is offset printed on high-quality, creamy natural-tone paper, with full-color covers and at least 40 pages of content.

I’m also committed to paying the cartoonist contributors for their time and effort. Putting Cartozia Tales together the right way isn’t cheap, but if we can attract enough subscribers, the fixed costs (like paying the artists and the pre-press set-up fees) will be shared among enough readers that we can afford to publish a book that everyone can treasure.

Here’s a breakdown of how your subscription dollar is spent:

The extra brown blob represents our caffeine costs.
The extra brown blob represents our caffeine costs.

If you calculate the spot where subscribers actually balance the up-front fixed costs (that is, where the pie becomes only one pie, not a pie plus a few thousand dollars in an extra wedge), it's around $73,500, if everyone's getting "fun bonus" subscriptions. Some of the rewards get money to us more efficiently; others (like the regular subscription) would actually require us to raise a little more, so there's a lot of back-of-the-envelope haziness to the calculation. I'm willing to gamble on future business to make up some of the difference between our Kickstarter goal and the magic whole-pie number. But it would actually only take about 770 new fun-bonus subscribers to hit it—not so many, considering how many people there are who would really enjoy this book! There are, without a doubt, more than 800 kids on this planet who would love Cartozia Tales. (And more than 1100 subscribers will mean raises for the artists!)

Please consider subscribing to help us make this awesome fantasy project a reality. Claim your reward early, and you can even pick up a premium that allows you to sneak a message or a cameo into the stories as they’re drawn!

There are also a bunch of non-subscription ways you can support this campaign if you’re on a budget or if you already subscribe: you can choose original artwork, commissions, postcard packs, prints, and more! If you already have issues #1 and #2, you can start a subscription here with issue #3. Looking for even more kid-friendly comics? We have bundles of non-Cartozia kidsafe work from all the core contributors! Browse the rewards and see what looks best to you; watch the updates page for more details on things like original art.

(Incidentally, all subscription-based rewards are listed with a September 2014 delivery date because that's when we project shipping Cartozia Tales #10. Other parts of your reward will arrive long before then.)

We've made a lot of different rewards available over there on the right — packages for current subscribers, retailers, libraries and classrooms; custom art and ways to get directly involved with the stories in Cartozia Tales — but the basic subscription is filed under $68, and the "fun bonus" subscription appears at $89. Those are our bread and butter.

We’re making Cartozia Tales because we think the world needs more comics that will attract young readers and let them celebrate adventure, curiosity, exploration, and fun. We’ve come to Kickstarter because we know Cartozia Tales will appeal to people outside our circles of friends and indie-comics creators, and because doing this book right is going to require a group of engaged and enthusiastic readers. Help us deliver this wonderful book to the people who will cherish it!

Shawn, Jen, Mike, and Sarah; Tom, Lupi, Lucy, and Isaac

Risks and challenges

Risks: It's possible that the subscription will be delivered more slowly than once every five weeks, because each issue requires a lot of small parts to come together. But we have contingency plans, even to the point of backup cartoonists, and all of the core contributors are really excited for each new issue. I handle all the printing locally, and shipping is actually pretty simple. If we get off-schedule, it should only be by a matter of weeks here and there.

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FAQ

  • You are a real sweetheart for asking. Thanks. If one of the rewards you want is only available in limited quantities, select that one. Otherwise, pick the larger reward. Then add the appropriate dollar amount to your pledge for the other reward(s), including extra shipping if you're outside the U.S.

    So, for example: maybe you want a print for your wall ($28, limited), a set of postcards ($14, unlimited), and a no-bonuses subscription ($69, unlimited). You could sign up for the print, pledge $101, and send me a note at some point explaining that's what you want.

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  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $1 or more About $1.00

    EVERY BACKER GETS A LITTLE TASTE. If you pledge even $1 to Cartozia Tales, you'll get to see our backer-exclusive updates, which will include links to PDFs of the entire first and second issues. (Second issue will post in mid-September.) We are convinced that if you sample Cartozia Tales, you will want to increase your support and subscribe.

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    Pledge $4 or more About $4

    Our thanks for your support, and a copy of the Alphabetical Bestiary of Cartozia, twenty-six creature sketches with accompanying poems, which shipped out as the "fun bonus" for bonus subscribers with the first issue of Cartozia Tales.

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    Pledge $7 or more About $7

    You get a little more thanks! The "Alphabetical Bestiary of Cartozia" (as at $4), plus the "Introduction to the Principles of Cartozian Magic," which goes out to all bonus-level subscribers with issue #2.

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    Pledge $14 or more About $14

    GREETINGS FROM CARTOZIA: A complete set of 15 different sturdy full-color postcards, with assorted images including several front covers, a couple of paper cut-and-stand figures, and at least one card drawn by each of our core contributors.
    If you'd like two sets of these cards (one to keep and one to send), just add $11 to your pledge for an even $25.

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    Pledge $18 or more About $18

    SHAWN'S MONSTER ABCs & NUMBERS: Copies of four little counting and alphabet minicomics by Shawn Cheng featuring mythological beasts, including "Hercules Counts to XII" and "Lamentations of Ridiculous Creatures." Any nerdy-cool kid would LOVE these little books. If you also want a Cartozia Tales subscription, add $68 or $89 to your pledge.

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    Pledge $25 or more About $25

    TINY BIRDS: You can commission a very small (2" x 3") watercolor painting of a bird by Lucy Bellwood, one of the core Cartozia cartoonists. A word or two of dialogue on the painting is okay, too. Yes, you can ask her to paint a ruff crow, an ebawn, or a philosopher bird.
    (If you want this reward AND a subscription, see $100, below)

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    Pledge $28 or more About $28

    CARTOZIA ON YOUR WALL: A snazzy, high-quality, full-color prints, about 8" x 10", of one of our cover images or other color pieces. (Watch for an update that shows some options, though I'll ask for your selection after the sixth or seventh issue is published, by which time MANY MORE options will be available.) Selections will include work by the regular contributors, plus Leah Palmer Preiss, Brittney Sabo, Evan Dahm, and more. IF YOU ALSO WANT A SUBSCRIPTION, add the appropriate amount ($68 or $89) to your pledge, plus $40 if you're subscribing outside the U.S..

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    Pledge $30 or more About $30

    NON-CARTOZIA MONSTERFIGHT SILKSCREEN: You get one of five monster-fight silkscreen prints by Shawn Cheng. (These are not strictly Cartozian monsters, so they're a touch cheaper than the custom Cartozia print at $40 below.) See update #12 for details, and leave a comment on update #12 to call dibs on a particular print after pledging if you want to claim it. If you also want a subscription, add the appropriate amount (plus international postage if neccessary) to your pledge.

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    Pledge $30 or more About $30

    $35: ROGUES' GALLERY: A postcard-sized original watercolor drawing of a pirate you co-create for the fearsome crew of the "Thurim's Tooth." (They'll appear in a future issue!) You'll send us a name for a pirate and a bit of description, Isaac will do some design sketches, and Lucy will paint him or her. First person to pledge $50 here gets to describe the ship's captain! If seven or more people pledge for this reward, you can also add $30 to get a 8" x 10" print of a portrait of the whole crew, in ink and watercolor, by Ben Towle. If you want the pirate portrait AND a subscription, add $65 (or $85 for the bonus level), plus any relevant international shipping.

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    Pledge $34 or more About $34

    DIGITAL (PDF) SUBSCRIPTION: As the print issues come out, you will receive private links to a screen-resolution PDF version of each issue. Your pledge will support the artists' per-page fees, but none of it needs to be spent on postage or printing. IF YOU ALSO WANT A NON-LIMITED PHYSICAL REWARD, add the dollar amount for that reward (unless it's a print subscription: see $57), plus any international shipping charges.

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    Pledge $35 or more About $35

    HALF-SUBSCRIPTION: Maybe you want to be more sure what you're getting into; maybe you don't want to drop quite so much dough but you still want to support the cause. You'll get the first five issues on the regular schedule, and a couple of email reminders to sign up for the last five before the sixth one ships.

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    Pledge $35 or more About $35

    FASTEST SWORD(S) IN FERNGENDROYTEN: You are one of two speedy bargain-hunters who were able to claim full ten-issue subscriptions (see $68, below) for the price of half-subscriptions. You scoundrel!

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    Pledge $36 or more About $36

    TRADING CARD PORTRAIT: Lupi McGinty will watercolor a very small (2" x 3") portrait of your favorite Cartozia character, or yourself or your child, or your child in Cartozian costume. (Accordian Academy uniform? Sylvia's pauldrons? Cloudherder garb? Your call.) We'll ship it in a plastic sleeve, like a trading card. IF YOU WANT TO ADD A SUBSCRIPTION TO THIS REWARD, manually increase your pledge to $104 (plain) or $125 (bonus).

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    Pledge $40 or more About $40

    FURTHER READING: get to know the core cartoonists outside of Cartozia! You will receive a bundle containing at least one kid-friendly self-published minicomic by each of the seven core contributors to Cartozia Tales.
    (If you'd like this reward AND a subscription, see $125, below)

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    Pledge $40 or more About $40

    CARTOZIAN MONSTERFIGHT SILKCREEN: One copy of a hand-pulled 9" x 12" two- or three-color silkscreen print designed and produced by Shawn Cheng, featuring two crazy Cartozian beasts locked in awesome combat. Updates about this print will come later in the campaign, but you may want to reserve your copy now. IF YOU WOULD LIKE THE PRINT AND A TEN-ISSUE SUBSCRIPTION, manually add either $68 or $89 to your pledge total (either $108 or $129) and $45 more if you need international shipping.

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    Pledge $50 or more About $50

    PATIENT BUT EFFICIENT: You will receive a complete subscription, but bundled in only two shipments: issues 1-5 after #5 is printed (probably Jan. 2014); issues 6-10 after #10 is printed (probably Sept. 2014). This would put you out of communication with Cartozia for a really long time, but especially for international bidders it could be a good option. If you want the fun bonuses for each issue as well, manually add $20 to your pledge amount.

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    Pledge $52 or more About $52

    GET THE REST OF 'EM: A subscription to the last eight issues for Cartozia Tales (#3-#10). If you already have the first two issues and want to sign on for the rest of the run, this is the reward level for you! Third issue will ship a few weeks after the campaign succeeds.

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    Pledge $54 or more About $54

    SCIENCE FOR BEGINNERS: Four book-length comics about science (astronomy, primatology, paleontology, and evolutionary theory), autographed to you or your child and doodled in by the Cartozian contributors who drew them! Plus, you get the two small books listed at the $7 pledge, because that's as close to science as we're likely to get. See Update #12 for full details. If you'd also like a basic subscription, add just $60 to your pledge.

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    Pledge $55 or more About $55

    CARTOZIA ON YOUR WALLS: Three snazzy, high-quality, full-color art prints, as described in the $28 reward above. You'll get to choose the images for your prints after we've had covers by Eleanor Davis, Evan Palmer, Damien Jay, Tara Abbamondi, and others: there will be some gorgeous stuff to choose from. IF YOU ALSO WANT A SUBSCRIPTION, add either $85 (bonuses) or $65 (no bonuses) to your pledge, plus $40 if you're subscribing outside the U.S. Yes, subscribing is a little cheaper for appreciators of fine art like you.

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    Pledge $57 or more About $57

    PATIENT AND EFFICIENT (BUT NOT THAT PATIENT): You will get the ten issues in two bundles, as at the $50 reward, but you'll ALSO get a PDF subscription that comes to you as the issues ship. It's the best of both worlds!

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    Pledge $60 or more About $60

    AVERY FATBOTTOM CAMEO: Jen Vaughn will give you (or another adult you know) a walk-on cameo (so you appear in a couple of panels) in a future issue of her new hit digital comic, "Avery Fatbottom: Renaissance Fair Detective." (Please note this comic is not intended for young readers.) You'll supply photo reference and communicate with Jen after the campaign concludes. IF YOU WOULD LIKE THE CAMEO AND A SUBSCRIPTION, manually add either $68 or $89 to your pledge for a total of $193 or $214.

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    Pledge $66 or more About $66

    ORIGINAL PIN-UP: One black-and-white pin-up drawing, at least 5" x 5", of a Cartozia character or creature of your choice, drawn by one of the core Cartozia cartoonists. We will try to incorporate your suggestions for the image and to assign your piece to the cartoonist of your choosing.
    (If you'd like this reward AND a subscription, see $140, below.)

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    Pledge $68 or more About $68

    THE BASIC SUBSCRIPTION: One ten-issue subscription to Cartozia Tales. The first two issues will be shipped when the campaign ends; the next eight will ship about once every five weeks.

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    Pledge $80 or more About $80

    ORIGINAL UNICORN / MERFOLK PORTRAIT: Jen Vaughn will paint you, your child, or another person you know, in full-color watercolors, either riding a winged unicorn or transformed into a mermaid or merman. You'll provide some photo reference (and your choice of mythical beast) after the campaign concludes. IF YOU WOULD LIKE THE PORTRAIT AND A TEN-ISSUE SUBSCRIPTION, manually add either $68 or $89 to your pledge total (either $148 or $169).

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    Pledge $80 or more About $80

    ORIGINAL BEASTRIDER PORTRAIT: Shawn Cheng will draw you, your child, or another person you know, in pen and ink, riding a Cartozian beast in Cartozian costume. You'll provide some photo reference (and your choice of beast) after the campaign concludes. IF YOU WOULD LIKE THE PORTRAIT AND A TEN-ISSUE SUBSCRIPTION, manually add either $68 or $89 to your pledge total (either $148 or $169) and $45 more if you need international shipping.

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    Pledge $80 or more About $80

    ORIGINAL CARTOZIA-STYLE PORTRAIT: Our core contributor Sarah Becan will draw you or your child in Cartozian garb of your choice, in a lightly suggested Cartozian locale of your choice. Full color (watercolor) original art, about 6" x 9". You'll provide some photo reference (and your choice of attire) after the campaign concludes. IF YOU WOULD LIKE THE PORTRAIT AND A TEN-ISSUE SUBSCRIPTION, manually add either $68 or $89 to your pledge total (either $148 or $169) and $45 more if you need international shipping.

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    Pledge $88 or more About $88

    DYLAN HORROCKS SKETCH: Dylan has generously offered to do three 8" x 5" sketches (ink, with some watercolor) of Cartozia characters of your choosing. Want a cute pin-up of Taco and Wick by the cartoonist who drew them first? That's just one option. IF YOU ALSO WANT A SUBSCRIPTION, add $68 or $89 (for $156 or $187), plus international shipping costs as necessary. (Or you can pledge $122 and get a digital subscription.)

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    Pledge $89 or more About $89

    SUBSCRIPTION WITH BONUSES: One ten-issue subscription to Cartozia Tales, with FUN BONUSES in every subscription envelope. The first two issues (and bonuses) will be shipped when the campaign ends; the next eight will ship about once every five weeks.

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    Pledge $90 or more About $90

    LIBRARIES AND LIBRARIANS: A ten-issue subscription, plus access to our curriculum of activities (on cartooning, mapmaking, storytelling, etc.), plus 30 full-color bookmarks and a 2'x3' poster drawn by our core cartoonists. The poster features Malith (a librarian of Erissa), her daily struggles in a library of rare enchanted tomes, and her inspiration in nurturing the curiosity of young readers. (It's funny and just a little sweet.) Add $15 to receive the "fun bonuses" for each issue; add $55 (+$35 if international) to receive two copies of each issue.

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    Pledge $100 or more About $100

    TINY BIRDS II: Not only do you get a ten-issue subscription with fun bonuses (as at the $89 pledge), but you can also commission a tiny bird painting from Lucy Bellwood, as at the $20 level, above.

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    Pledge $120 or more About $120

    WEEKLY CARTOZIA NEWS: Not only do you get a ten-issue subscription with fun bonuses (as at the $89 pledge), but you will also get weekly postcard updates from Isaac Cates, the editor of Cartozia Tales, about the progress of the current issue and other matters Cartozian.

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    Pledge $120 or more About $120

    SPEAKING IN TONGUES: Mike Wenthe will translate one four-page Cartozia story of your choice into Yiddish, Spanish, French, or Middle English, then hand-letter the translation for you on sturdy cardstock paper. If you'd like the same story translated into two of his languages, add $80 to your pledge. IF YOU ALSO WANT A SUBSCRIPTION, add $89 (for a total of $209 or $289).

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    Pledge $120 or more About $120

    TAWROS THE DISPATCHER: Not only do you get a ten-issue subscription with fun bonuses (as at the $89 pledge), but you will also get to send Caitlin Lehman's cartographer character Terrim the Journeyer into one unexplored corner of the Cartozia map. You'll choose a place we haven't seen yet. Caitlin will draw Terrim there. He will run into problems. It'll be fun. (Terrim appears in large full-page illustrations in almost every issue of Cartozia Tales.)

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    Pledge $122 or more About $122

    RETAILER SPECIAL: Receive 10 copies of issue #1, 6 copies of issue #2, and 4 copies of issues #3-#5, with an option to order further issues or back-issues at a retailer price after the campaign concludes. Also includes a bunch of promotional postcards (40 or so) if you want them. Add $30 ($152) to your pledge to receive two fancy prints of our cover images; add $60 ($182) to receive five fancy prints. To pledge in for 4 copies of each of the last five issues, too, add $110. Be prepared to furnish proof that you are buying on behalf of a retail store.

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    Pledge $125 or more About $125

    FURTHER READING II: Receive both a ten-issue subscription with fun bonuses (as at the $89 pledge) AND a "get to know the cartoonists" packet (as at the $40 subscriber pledge).

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    Pledge $125 or more About $125

    BRAD McGINTY (NO RELATION): Not only do you get a ten-issue subscription with fun bonuses (as at the $89 pledge), but you will also get a 4" x 5" drawing (with watercolor) of a Cartozia character of your choosing, donated by friend-of-the-project Brad McGinty (no relation to Lupi).

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    Pledge $130 or more About $130

    PUT YOURSELF ON THE MAP: Not only do you get a ten-issue subscription with fun bonuses (as at the $89 pledge), but you get to put your name, or your child's name, on the map of Cartozia. We will give you a few options (about what sort of features bear your name) when the campaign concludes, then place your name on the official map, possibly for stories to be set there.

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    Pledge $135 or more About $135

    SECRET MESSAGE: Not only do you get a ten-issue subscription with fun bonuses (as at the $89 pledge), but you will also get to hide a brief coded message (within reason) in one of the stories. We'll ask for the message and when (more or less) you'd like it delivered, then one of our crafty cartoonists will build it into the story and we'll tell you where to look. Could be great if you're getting the subscription as a gift for a kid code-breaker: hide a happy birthday in the appropriate issue!

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    Pledge $136 or more About $136

    VISIT THE BAZAAR OF DRENA: Not only do you get a ten-issue subscription with fun bonuses (as at the $89 pledge), but you (or your child) will also appear in full color and in Cartozian garb on the back cover of an upcoming issue, inhabiting a hectic bazaar drawn by Caitlin Lehman and visited by her cartographer character Terrim the Journeyer. You'll supply us with photo reference after the campaign concludes. IF YOU WOULD ALSO LIKE A HIGH-QUALITY PRINT of the image (at about 8" x 10"), please add $24 to your pledge.

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