Alasdair Stuart writes;
Cartozia Tales is a series that never backed down from a challenge. For a start it's an anthology with nine stories in each issue. Anthologies are a whole different kind of difficult to put together but these creators all move in formation and so do their stories. They have a geography and world in common, and lesser teams would have been content to throw the odd hobbit hole around, lightly season with Westerosi politics and hit 'print'.
The legion of creators behind Cartozia Tales chose a different, harder path. This is a deeply strange fantasy world filled with new and unusual creatures and very odd series of cultures. It's still familiar in the way Tolkien and Martin are, but there's a rich seam of the new and odd running through these books. That's reflected in their creative process, as each team picks a corner of the map and starts working. As time has gone on, they've traded characters and locations and the stories have wrapped around and expanded on each other. To add an extra wrinkle, the core creative team of Sarah Becan, Lucy Bellwood, Isaac Cates, Shawn Cheng, Lupi McGinty, Tom Motley, Jen Vaughan and Mike Wenthe are joined by a constantly shifting cast of guests. Dylan Horrocks, James Kochalka and Evan Dahm are amongst the names who've appeared to date and future guests include Kelly Sue DeConnick, Meredith Gran and Jason Lutes. This constant element of change in the creative teams keeps the books, and the world, fresh and is yet another challenge in a series that thrives on them.
Now though, Cartozia faces a new challenge; Kickstarter. As I write this the campaign to fund the next issue is set to close in just under three days and they still have a long way to go. It's a real shame too, not only because of how much fun the book is but because of the excellent rewards they've set up. Here are a couple of my favorites;
You get the Alphabetical Bestiary of Cartozia, 26 sketches of creatures from the series with an accompanying poem.
A subscription to the first half of the ten-issue run.
These are beautiful books, that have sprung from a creative process that's equal parts intuitive brilliance and gleeful embracing of adversity. Cartozia's a very different fantasy world and well worth a visit. And if you go in the next 60 odd hours, you'll get some perks too.