About this project
About The Lions of Valletta
The Lions of Valletta is a 150 page, full color, all-ages graphic novel.
(This isn't a sad story, I promise.) When my dad was diagnosed with a pretty advanced form of lymphoma, we planned a trip to Malta so he'd have something to look forward to while in treatment. He got better and we took the trip in 2004. I was captivated with the landscape of Malta and delighted by the large numbers of stray cats that lived by the docks and sunned themselves on the UNESCO World Heritage sites as though they owned the place. Most of the cats ignored us, some of them begged for food or ear scratches, but the most interesting ones considered us gravely and moved on. I found myself wondering what they were looking for.
That question became the kernel of this story embodied in the main characters: Cilla and Betto. Cilla feels that life will only be complete when she finds a good home with people, while Betto is happy being a cat on the docks. Their adventure brings them through city, country, water, and eventually to a place where both of them can be happy.
I have added in many of my favorite things to write and draw: architecture, art history, cultural history, philosophy, big questions, small answers, boats of all sizes, and fish heads.
The Director's Cut Edition expands on the beginning and ending of the story with 24 new pages, footnotes for those pages, a new cover, and book design.
The most important thing that I hope to accomplish with this Kickstarter is to have more people read my book! In service of this goal, all funding levels result in backers receiving a copy of the Lions of Valletta: Director's Cut Edition.
The rewards are very simple
At $25 backers will receive a signed copy of the Director's Cut Edition of The Lions of Valletta.
At $50 that signed book will also contain a color sketch of the main characters. Anyone who supports the project at $50 or higher will automatically receive all of the unlocked stretch goal perks for no additional charge.
At $250 backers will receive a signed and sketched copy of the Director's Cut Edition of The Lions of Valletta, all of the stretch goal perks, AND a handbound copy of the book with an original watercolor portrait of the cat/cats of their choice (limited to three cats in total, please!).
I was delighted at how quickly the handbound edition sold out the last campaign and have been scheming ever since on how to make an even posher edition! (Let's be honest, I will take any excuse to go fancy paper shopping.)
This handbound edition is exclusive to the backers of this kickstarter and will feature handmade paper covered bookboards, a hand-painted cover design, waxed linen thread in an elaborate stab-style binding, and about 60 hours of work in total. Happy, happy work. I am a book nerd: both in the making and the reading. Thank you for letting me share my craft and love of historical methods!
As the funding goal has been reached, I will add extra rewards for backers at the $50 and $250 levels when we hit certain milestones!
Bonus Stretch Goal Print by Phoebe and her Unicorn artist Dana Claire Simpson!
Learn more about the phenomenal Carla Speed McNeil!
Learn more about the exceptional Egypt Urnash!
A special gift for early supporters!
This is the second edition of Lions and a black and white preview book was produced during 2011 in very limited numbers. If you are one of the wonderful people who supported the first campaign and/or who possess a copy of the preview book, and/or are a patreon supporter at any level- thank you so much! When you are asked to complete your pledge there will be a place for you to indicate your early supporter status. In thanks, I will include this special die-cut vinyl sticker (exclusive to early supporters and completely free of charge) with your pledge at $25 or higher. I am grateful for your patronage and hope you enjoy the expanded story and this edition of the book.
I will also send this sticker to all backers from Malta at $25 level or higher. Without your beautiful country there would be no Lions of Valletta.
"In The Lions of Valletta, creator Ursula Murray Husted gives us a cat’s odyssey that is in turns sweet, sad, and a little scary, and for good measure she throws in a beautifully drawn tour of Malta." Trina Robbins, author of Pretty in Ink, Women Cartoonists from 1896-2013 and The Chicagoland Detective Agency graphic novel series
"...I want to read it, and I especially want to see my young friends read it." Charles Brownstein, Executive Producer of the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund
"Ursula Murray Husted not only crafts a wonderfully charming story that includes lessons in art history and a peek at a place one would not necessarily think to visit, she does it with some of the sweetest cat characters to grace the comic pages. And everyone knows that cats make everything just that much better." Kris Dresen, creator of She Said, Manya, and Max & Lily
Risks and challenges
I deeply appreciate your patronage and support and it is important to me that you are happy. While there is no way to guard against all risk, I have done several successful campaigns and have taken steps to minimize potential delays and manage backer expectations.
I am using the same local Minnesota-based book printer who so beautifully printed the first edition.
The books may be delayed if there is a problem with the printer. The very nature of the handbound books is that they are time consuming- that attention to craft is a big part of what makes them special. If there are any delays, I will keep all backers in the loop.
I, and the 612 crew, will be packing and shipping the books ourselves to reduce cost to the backer and assure proper packaging.
Shipping delays and in-transit damaged books are out of our control and may happen. We will do our best to package the books so that they arrive safely.
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