Why Hello. Last week I was at E3 doing all the games stuff and confronting my social anxiety in the only way large conventions can help you do. It was a good time but I’m happy to be reunited with my cat and you fine readers. Well, let’s keep this intro short shall we? Here are three crowdfunding projects I think are worth your time.

1. The Carpet Merchant of Konstantiniyya

This Eisner-nominated graphic novel is finally getting the IRL book treatment and I couldn’t be more excited. Author Reimena Yee is an amazing talent. The Carpet Merchant of Konstantiniyya takes place in Istanbul and is centered around a carpet merchant and his relationship with faith, love and home in the aftermath of his death by a vampire. Reimena’s absolute commitment to history, to authentically representing Istanbul and its culture pours out of every page.

Volume I is set in 17th century Istanbul during the Ottoman era. It involves the relationsip between the main character Zeynel and fellow carpet merchant, Ayse. We watch as Zeynel is first introduced to the world of carpets and his transformation into a vampire in middle-age. The sheer detail in this work boggles my mind.

Image via Unbound
Image via Unbound

Over on Unbound, the UK imprint of Random House that crowdfunds its books, Reimena explains the visual style: “The story is told through a visual style inspired by Ottoman illumination and miniature, and heavily incorporates Ottoman era decorative arts plus carpet designs.”

Reimena writes with an uncompromising historical sensitivity that feels rare. What comes across in so much of Reimena’s work is the joy of exploring history, of learning about cultures and ingratiating yourself with them in the deepest way possible. Each page serves as a beautiful backdrop to exploring the complexity of human emotion and struggle to live an authentic life.

Reimena recently spoke to my colleague Alex Lu about her work where she said, “I wanted to showcase a historical context that isn’t commonly seen in fiction, grounded in academic research preferably written with local perspectives. The best way I could do that is centre the story on mundane life. No royals, no elites, no high stakes. Just ordinary people, going through unique circumstances.”

The first volume of this graphic novel is actually comprised of two books. The first book, The Carpet Merchant, tells the story of Ayşe. Ayşe is an Anatolian girl from a tiny village with big dreams. History and geography do not favor Ayşe, so she seeks out a marriage of practicality. That’s where Zeynel, an already accomplished son of a highly-esteemed scholar family, comes in. Ayşe is sure of herself, she knows what she wants and what she has to do in order to achieve it. Zeynel is insecure and feels the pressure to live up to other’s expectations of him. Is there meeting purely by chance or is there more than meets the eye?

Sample from The Carpet Merchant via Unbound

In Book Two, The Vampire, we meet up with Zeynel twenty-five years later. He is the happy husband to a successful businesswoman and is looking forward to his future. Until one evening when he decides to help a mysterious traveler. Zeynel’s vampiric curse forces him to shed notions of who and what he was, to let go. He must confront his identity and develop a new relationship to himself and the people he loves. If you want to know more about the story, Unbound has a delicious sneak peak at the interiors which you can find here.

This crowdfunding project is hoping to raise enough money to print 336-pages of Volume I in hardback form. There are wonderful rewards available including an enamel pin which you can bet your sweet behind I’ll be grabbing. From letterpress postcards to exclusive prints, it’s clear that Reimena has put in considerable effort to developing these rewards. This campaign will conclude around September 15, 2018.

2. Barbarous Chapter 2 – Oversized Edition

Image via Kickstarter

From authors Ananth Hirsh and Yuko Ota (Lucky Penny, Our Cats Are More Famous Than Us, CUTTINGS) comes a story about Percy, a wizard school drop out who is down-on-her-luck. She currently resides in an apartment filled with other misfits where she toils with the super of the building. A monster named Leeds. The landlady (Celia) has a few skeletons in her closet as well. There’s a lot happening here and it is up to Percy to piece it together. Barbarous is serialized online but the authors want to give us an oversized edition of Chapter 2 to accompany the oversized edition of Chapter 1, which is pretty nice of them.

Sample page from Barbarous via Kickstarter

This is a story about living in an apartment building, about magic, and of course drama. I don’t know if it’s possible to live in an apartment building without there being some sort of drama. Can Percy and Leeds ever get along long enough to help one another out, or are they destined to fight in perpetuity?

Sample from Barbarous via Kickstarter

The hope for this Kickstarter is raise enough funds to print the oversized edition of Chapter two at a larger trim of 9 x 11.5″. This series is ready to be printed and they are just waiting to press the giant print button over there (that’s how printing works right?). If you don’t have the oversized edition of chapter 1, this project also allows you to pick up the digital or print version. Rewards range from signed bookplates, sticker sheets and print sets. The authors are hoping to raise $12,400 by July 13.

3. No Holds Bard: The First Folio Original Graphic Novel

Concept design for

Listen, if you were going to tell me that I’d be starting off my day with a crime-fighting Shakespeare and his sidekick William Page I would have said “ALACK AND ALAY!”

So maybe I wouldn’t have said that but I would have been impressed. This story comes to us from Logan Faerber (Namwolf) and  Eric Gladstone (Marvel Heroes Omega). Honestly, this graphic novel is going to delight literature nerdos everywhere. This six-issue graphic novel is written entirely in iambic pentameter. For those who don’t recall high school English, that’s a verse written in five metrical feet, each consisting of one short syllable followed by one long syllable. It’s easier to understand with an example so here you go:

Gentles, perchance you wonder at this show;
But wonder on, till truth make all things plain.
Well, actually, let me just explain it:

Here’s a peak at the story lines from this six-issue graphic novel:

“We’ll encounter Elizabethan assassins in The Deadly Wives of Windsor, crash land on a magick isle in The Trouble with Tempests, fall in love with Two Gentleboys of Verona, come thundering back to a London in peril in The Hark Knight Returns and finally have a showdown in faerieland in Midsummer Night in the Garden of Good and Evil!”

Each issue will have its own variant cover and will inch our heroes ever closer to a battle with their archnemesis Puck. I love the idea for this graphic novel folks. This delightful mix of humor and literature warms the cockles of my dead Millennial heart. Below, you’ll find a peak at some of the wild and wacky adventures Shakespeare and Page will find themselves in. The following images come to us from the Pilot Issue, Absurd Pomp.

Preview from Pilot Issue of No Holds Bard
Preview from Pilot Issue of No Holds Bard
Preview from Pilot Issue of No Holds Bard

The rewards. THE REWARDS. They are very exciting to me because one of them includes a tote bag and as a tote bag prepper I always say, you can never have too many tote bags. There are also socks (yes socks), pins and embroidered patches available. The team also has some stretch goals planned which are well worth checking out. If you want to read more about No Holds Bard before you commit to backing, you can always check out their website. I absolutely adore what Eric and Logan have created here so if you have the time or the inclination, consider helping them reach their $26,000 goal.

This Kickstarter will fund through August 3, 2018. They will be printing this graphic novel using Print Ninja and both have prior experience successfully crowdfunding a Kickstarter project. The team is currently finishing the artwork for this series, the estimated delivery date is January 2019.

Well folks, the coffee is really kicking in now. I gotta go expend this energy before I burst outta this apartment building and rocket my way towards the sun.