Funded! This project was successfully funded on September 30, 2010.


Virtuoso is a comic book set in an Africa that never existed, an Open Source world powered by springs and intrigue.

Virtuoso is a graphic novel series written by Jon Munger (that's me) and illustrated by the classically trained and painfully talented Krista Brennan.

So far, Krista and I have completed the Prologue, a 24 page comic book that is available online here: Virtuoso. We did a limited run at the printer, and we sold out within a month. We've been featured on and The Steampunk Workshop.

What we need from you is enough money to get the prologue back to the printers and get the first book out the door. And despite my efforts at convincing Krista that she can live off of pleasant thoughts and sleep deprivation, she deserves to be paid for the enormous amount of work she puts in. The first book, shockingly titled Book One, will be a digest-sized 48-page book, over twice the length of the Prologue. It will also be fully painted, which, as you can see, is something Krista excels at.

Let me tell you why Virtuoso is exciting. The world its set in, the Africa-meets-Art Nouveau-meets-Steampunk Empire is open source. Should we reach our funding goal, we will open up the Virtuoso Compendium, a wiki for anyone who has a good idea to write the history of the Empire. Who knows? You might end up changing the course of the story. Additionally, Virtuoso is held under a Creative Commons, Attribution, Share-alike license. That means that if you want to tell a story set in the world of Virtuoso, we invite you to make use of it.

We believe that Virtuoso is more than a comic book. The comic itself is simply an artifact of this world Krista and I started. We have partnered with some of the most talented Makers working right now to bring more of the Mahanake Empire to life. Lastwear Clothing and Improbable Cog have both contributed their considerable talents to Virtuoso. As a reward for your donations, they are giving away products that you simply can't find anywhere else.

NEW REWARD Win a von Slatt original! To sweeten the deal and in addition to the offered rewards, the single largest contributor will receive an original Jake von Slatt creation! This will be a piece that is just staring to come together on my workbench as we speak. I'm not sure what is is yet but it fits inside a #2 Bell Jar and will look great on your mantle! Be sure to pad your big pledge by a few extra bucks, it would be a shame to miss out to someone who pledged just a tiny bit more!
And this is just the beginning. We have plans for Role Playing Games, Board Games, short stories and yes, more comic books.
Join the Empire. Make it your own.

The Story
History doesn't follow a straight path. Its only in hindsight that events necessitate each other, only with hubris does the future seem obvious. To those living in momentous times, its just confusion and chaos. Virtuoso is a comic book about that chaos.

Jnembi Osse is an inventor in a world run by springs and ruthless expansion. She is the kept woman of the vast Mahanake Empire, held in a sequestered University to churn out military and civil inventions. But Jnembi has a secret.

Rather than endlessly revisit her old rifle designs, Jnembi builds a printing press a single person can carry on her back. It's small and simple, and violates the draconian laws of the Empire. Books are the purview of upper class, and copying them is ruthlessly suppressed.

When Jnembi loses her invention, it causes havoc in all strata of society. From the robber-baron Clan council, to death-cultist gangsters, to counterculture poets, everyone this printing press touches must adapt to a new way of thinking. Through it all, Jnembi must decide what responsibility she bears to the world, and if she can change the course of history as easily as she broke it.

Virtuoso by Jon Munger and Krista Brennan is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

Based on a work at


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  • Pledge $10 or more
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    22 backers Limited (103 left of 125)

    GOODMAN LEVEL: Receive a copy of the Prologue issue as well as a signed and numbered copy of the Book One script.

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    19 backers Limited (56 left of 75)

    GUILDED ARTISAN LEVEL: A full color, 11"x17" map of the Mahanake Empire. which will go along swimmingly with the Virtuoso Compedium, a ten page booklet detailing the history and culture of the Empire.

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    12 backers Limited (88 left of 100)

    SQUIRE LEVEL: A high quality Krista Brennan art print, signed by the artist, of course.

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    4 backers Limited (46 left of 50)

    KNIGHT LEVEL: Improbable Cog produces unique and fascinating jewelery, and we are very excited to partner with them to offer this Raptor Pendant, the insignia of the ruling Matrons. It is printed in stainless steel, and will be offered in gold should we reach our funding goal.

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    1 backer Limited (19 left of 20)

    PROFESSOR LEVEL: The Prologue printed out as a 11" tall scroll, complete with wooden scroll case carved with Mahanake royal edicts and under lock and key to prevent copy theft..

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    0 backers Limited (6 left of 6)

    MATRON LEVEL: To our great excitement, we are offering a custom screen-printed Pinkerton Vest from the lovely people at Last Wear. Each one is covered in the distinctive Virtuoso art nouveau inspired motifs. These cannot be found anywhere else.

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    0 backers Limited (5 left of 5)

    HER ROYAL HIGHNESS: You will receive the limited edition Lastwear Pinkerton, the scroll case with Prologue, the Raptor Pendant by Improbable Cog, and the map of the Empire and associated Compendium.

Funding period

- (31 days)