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Moistly Harmless: How to Appreciate Newts and Salamanders

by Ethan Kocak

An educational comic book by NYT Bestselling Cartoonist (and amphibian enthusiast) Ethan Kocak.

The finished version of this softcover book will be around 100 pages, 6.625 x 10.25"


supported of $9,000



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PDF book

One PDF copy of Moistly Harmless





One softcover copy of the book. Includes a PDF copy.




Mini print

4x6 print. Scroll down to MINI PRINTS section below to see in greater detail. Let us know your selec...


8 / 15


Digital avatar commission

A digital avatar for use on social media, drawn especially for you by author and artist Ethan Kocak....


3 / 5


Book + portrait commission

One softcover copy of the book, plus one custom portrait commission, drawn especially for you by aut...




Fire Belly Newt Pin

1.5" soft enamel pin designed by Ethan Kocak




Mudpuppy Pin

1.5" soft enamel pin designed by Ethan Kocak




Book + Pin

One softcover copy of the book + one 1.5" soft enamel pin. Includes a PDF copy of the book. If you'd...




Book + Both Pins

One softcover copy of the book + both 1.5" soft enamel pins. Includes a PDF copy of the book.





One "Taricha extra-sleepy time tea" stainless steel mug + a 2-oz tea sample by Traveller Tea Shop




Book + Mug

One softcover copy of the book + one "Taricha extra-sleepy time tea" stainless steel mug and 2-oz te...




Book + Mug + Both Pins

One softcover copy of the book + one "Taricha extra-sleepy time tea" stainless steel mug and 2-oz te...




Tip Jar

We appreciate salamanders, and also you! Add a little something extra for us hard workin' creators a...


These items are only available once you have selected at least one primary Reward listed above.




Additional critter for avatar or portrait commission

Only available for backers of digital avatar or portrait commission tiers. Limit 2 per digital avata...




Digital cross-stitch pattern

Digital pattern for "Cute as a Newt" cross-stitch designed by artist Arielle Milstein-Brennan


14 / 50


DIY cross-stitch kit

DIY kit for "Cute as a Newt" cross-stitch designed by artist Arielle Milstein-Brennan. Includes 3-in...




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My name is Ethan Kocak. I’m best known professionally for illustrating the NYT bestselling science comedy book “DOES IT FART?” as well as the webcomic “Black Mudpuppy.” I’m also a huge nerd obsessed with newts and salamanders and have been observing, keeping and breeding them for something like 30 years now. And that is why I want to make this book. 


“MOISTLY HARMLESS” is a book I’ve had in my head for a long time; part field guide, part memoir, and all about my favorite subject. I want to cover how you can look for and find salamanders in the wild, why they need protection now more than ever and how best to care for captive specimens. But I want to do this book my way, which means with humor and in comic book format. This will be something unique and fun but also packed full of accurate, up to date scientific information. 


And also lots of silly cartoons.





Mini Prints











Ethan Kocak is a cartoonist, illustrator and herpetoculturist. He is most known for Does It Fart? which was an international and NYT best seller. He is cohost of the herpetology podcast Squamates, creator of the webcomic Black Mudpuppy and Punch Everyone. While his career is drawing cartoons, his hobby has been keeping and breeding reptiles and amphibians for the last 30 years, especially salamanders.


Arras Wiedorn (Owner, Endangered Art Books) has a passion for bringing science and beauty to the world. In 2015 she published the collaborative art book Losing Altitude, highlighting endangered birds from around the world, and recently completed her master’s degree (MSc Biology, TAMUCC 2021). She is thrilled to be helping Ethan bring some love to amphibians through Moistly Harmless. 



The book will feature guest art from scientific illustrator and paleoartist Gabriel Ugueto (@SerpenIllus) and comic artists Jessi Sheron (@JessiSheron, creator of The Sea In You), Jon Rosenberg (@JonRosenberg, creator of Scenes From A Multiverse), Rosemary Mosco (@RosemaryMosco, creator of Bird and Moon Comics), and Abby Howard (@AbbyHoward, creator of The Last Halloween and co-founder of Black Tabby Games)


Taricha “extra-sleepy time” tea blended by Traveller Tea Shop (@TravellerTea)


“Cute as a Newt” cross stitch designed by artist Arielle Milstein-Brennan (@arielleishere)


“Ethan is like the They Might Be Giants of webcomics.”

- Jessi Sheron, Creator of The Sea in You, Iron Circus Comics


"You wouldn't think it's possible to build a viable brand around salamanders. You'd be right, but Ethan comes close."

- K.B. Spangler,  Author


If you don’t love newts already, buy this book. If you do love newts already, DEFINITELY buy this book. There is no greater champion of the humble salamander than Kocak. 

- Ursula Vernon, Author of Dragonbreath


"I don't know what pull quotes are..."

- Josh Grosvent, The Show KROCK CNY

Stretch Goals

$12,500 - Upgrade the book to be in beautiful full color (the initial goal funds a black and white book)


$13,000  - One pin design (fire belly newt)


$14,000 - Taricha “extra sleepy-time tea” mug and tea sample

$14,500  - Second pin design (mudpuppy)



The book is currently about 50% written and thumbnailed. The main writing pieces that need to be finished are research-related and need to be checked for scientific accuracy. The art will take approximately six months to complete from sketches to finalization. 


Production times are highly variable at the moment, particularly due to paper shortages, but may take up to several months. We hope to start shipping books around 3-4 months after completion of the art. Other merchandise such as prints, pins, and mugs will go into production right away after the campaign, and so orders without physical copies of Moistly Harmless may ship sooner.

Frequently asked questions

Yes! We encourage you to get more than 1 item! That could be multiple copies of the same reward, or you can mix and match rewards! There is no limit, unless otherwise stated in the reward description.

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