Greetings from writer Marcelo Vital and artist David Montgomery - we're the creative team behind a new graphic novel called The Secret Around-the-World Adventures of Owney, the Postal Dog. Who was Owney? You may not have heard of him, but more than a hundred years ago, he was the most famous dog in the world!
Back in the 1890s, the United States Postal Service adopted a mutt from Albany, New York, as its unofficial mascot. The lucky pooch was Owney, a mailbag-loving free spirit who traveled the entire United States during a time when travel was not yet within reach of most of the public. But railroads were starting to change the landscape of North America. So Owney hitched rides on mailcars going across the country, and everywhere he went, he received commemorative tags and did some PR for the Postal Service.
Owney also traveled across international borders – he visited Mexico and Canada, and was actually detained in Montreal as an illegal traveler until the Albany postal workers posted his $2.50 bail! Then, in 1895, Owney actually made a trip around the world. The Jules Verne book Around the World in 80 Days was inspiring adventurers to circumvent the Earth, so as a publicity stunt for the U. S. Postal Service, Owney embarked from the Pacific Northwest on a similar journey. He visited Japan, China, Singapore, and Northern Africa before returning home aboard a steamer ship.
After this trip, Owney slowed down a bit, but he continued to travel the U. S. rails almost up until his death in 1897. His mail clerk pals preserved the beloved pooch, and today the stuffed Owney lives in the Postal Museum in Washington DC.
Naturally, the story of a dog going around the world captured our imagination. But we wanted to take it a step further. What if Owney had made some unexpected detours during his travels around the world and had some exciting adventures along the way? He was always going his own way, so it wouldn’t be altogether surprising.
We imagined him not just stopping in Japan and China, but crossing into India, the Middle East and Europe on his own before sailing back to the States. He would have had a chance to see a world very few people saw at that time. He might have befriended postal workers of distant countries or met famous contemporaries like the Lumiere Brothers in Paris…
And that’s how The Secret Around-the-World Adventures of Owney, the Postal Dog was born. It’s a story for all ages, with adventure, history, humor and heart. We have done extensive research to make this a fun and accurate look at the world in the turn of last century.
Together we've done another historical fiction graphic novel called 1904, in celebration of the centennial of the St. Louis World’s Fair. In it, readers followed the misadventures of Nico Capeli, a delivery boy who unraveled a nefarious plot by organized crime to turn the 1904 World’s Fair into a fiery inferno. They also got to visit the Fair and its wonders. Because of its unique presentation of this historical content, the book was selected for the summer reading program of the St. Louis Public Library. We were happy to help shed some light on the importance of the World’s Fair to a young generation who knew nothing about this episode in the city’s history.
Now we're asking for your help to shine the spotlight on Owney, a dog who was ahead of his time. By telling his story in an exciting, visually rich format, with over one hundred full-color pages of beautifully detailed art, we're hoping to provide something for everyone: dog people, history buffs, Postal junkies, travel aficionados, comic book lovers, thrill seekers, and even steampunks. But we need to cover production costs such as publishing, four-color printing, coloring and lettering to get this book into your hands. With your support we can make this project a reality and keep Owney’s story alive in the 21st century!
So here’s how it works. With your pledge you will receive from us not only our undying gratitude, but also lots of cool stuff. You can get autographed copies of the book, signed original artwork, t-shirts - you or your pet can even make a cameo appearance in the book alongside Owney! You can also get an original pet portrait (or architectural portrait) framed to your specifications and ready for the holidays or other special occasion - what a great gift for the animal lovers in your life!
*Please note that the cover of the book is not the final one yet.
And don't worry, when you make a pledge to our project, your credit card won’t be charged until the end of the campaign, and only if we reach our goal. So there’s nothing to lose!
Just as important as a pledge is helping us get the word out about the book - so please forward this site to everyone you know and you’ll be helping us make this project a reality! We'll keep you posted on our campaign’s progress here and on Facebook and Twitter. So, follow us right now, and then follow Owney on his adventures around the world!
Many thanks, from Marcelo, David and Owney!
Risks and challenges
The main challenge for such a large, graphics-heavy project is completing the art in a timely fashion. However, we have done it before under a tight deadline with our last book and know that we can do it again. We feel confident that by including in our goal the cost of hiring out some of the coloring and lettering we can meet our deadlines to produce a beautiful finished product, as promised.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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