By: Nicole D’Andria
Enjoy over 100 pages of stories geared towards kids and young teens with Adventures Everywhere, an anthology featuring 28 creators and 14 stories. I’m talking with the creator who helmed the anthology, Nathan Kempf.
Adventures Everywhere has an adventure story for everyone, from a story about a pet hamster gaining the ability to breathe fire to a girl discovering she can have one more moment with her dearly departed mother thanks to a super secret.
Nathan Kempf curated the anthology as well as lettered some of the 14 stories. There is also a foreword from Stephanie Cooke (Oh My Gods!). The cover was designed by JesnCin. A full list of the 28 creators in this anthology as well as teasers for their various stories can be discovered on the official Kickstarter page for Adventures Everywhere.
The anthology is looking to raise €11,100 (about $12,816) by November 15, 2021, at 9:00 AM EST, with a majority of the funds going directly to the artists/contributors. Rewards for the project include digital (€10 or about $12) or physical (€24 or about $28) copies of the 100+ page anthology as well as bonuses like bookmarks and postcards (€30 or about $35). There’s also a Teacher’s Guide available (€35 or about $41). Check out the rest of their reward tiers here.
I spoke with Nathan in-depth about the project below. Learn more about the valuable lessons and fun to be had with Adventures Everywhere as well as how to go about curating your own anthology.
Me: Your anthology is geared towards kids and young teen readers (as well as the adventurous adult!). What would you say are some of the aspects of these stories that make them perfect for kids and young teens in particular?
Nathan Kempf: The first thing would be their length. It is hard for most kids to focus on a 60-page novella, so having stories that are up to eight pages long will allow them to read the book at their own pace without having to remember all the key details. Another point is that all those stories revolve around topics that today’s youth is facing daily. It will be easy for them to relate to those stories and use them as tools to learn.
Me: What are some of the most valuable themes and lessons readers can take away from this anthology?
Kempf: Getting to know yourself is a process. It’s definitely not a linear path, and you might be asking yourself questions that most people out there asked themselves when they went through the same motions. Having stories talking about things such as grief, sexual identity, and your place in society, all while being written in a way that is accessible and easily understandable to a child, might make them understand that they’re not alone in this. They can rely on the people around them for support through times like these.
Me: If you could live in the world from one of these stories, which one would you choose and why?
Kempf: That’s a tough one! I would say “Finding Treasures” by Quade Reed and Micaela Wainstein, which is a story about disabled kids going on a quest to find a treasure. They come together thanks to all their differences, difficulties, and strengths to complete a common goal. They embrace all their differences and thrive to become better individuals; they also learn to accept themselves for who they are. I wish the world we live in was more like that.
Me: Out of all the characters in this anthology, what one do you identify with the most and why? Is this also the character you enjoy the most? If not, name which one is your favorite as well and why!
Kempf: I relate to many characters in different ways, but the one I relate to the most is E.B. Chen in the story “Thanks, But I’ve Got Stuff” to Do by Tiffany Babb and Micaela Wainstein. This character has to overcome her instinct to spend her afternoon alone and take that awkward, freeing step towards friendship. As someone with severe social anxiety, I have this urge to avoid any social interaction daily. I’ve lost friends, jobs, and amazing opportunities because of that, and I truly wish I had a story to read such as this one when I was younger. Knowing I was not alone in that would have most likely helped a whole lot.
My favorite character is Andy from the story “Andy the Fire-Breathing Hamster” by Jason Doring and Micaela Wainstein. I mean, we’re talking about a hamster who eats a magical pepper that gives him fire-breathing abilities, and the one thing he chooses to do is save baby animals in trouble. What’s not to love about him?
Me: Can you describe the process of curating this anthology, including how you found and brought on all of these amazing creators?
Kempf: When I first tried to find creators for this anthology, I didn’t really know if anyone would be interested in collaborating in the first place, so I just posted a call for submission on Twitter and waited to see where it would go. I was very surprised to see I ended up receiving around 200 submissions from people all over the world! From there, I went through several rounds of selections, slowly reducing the number of stories I was considering for the anthology until I was left with a number of them that felt right for such a book. It was all about finding stories that connected well and had a common central theme while making sure it was as inclusive as possible so that all kids would feel represented in these stories.
Me: What’s the number one reason why people should pledge money to your project?
Kempf: Kids NEED this! Times are tough, the Internet can be incredibly toxic, school can be so hard to deal with, and it’s not always easy to see friends. They need an escape, and I’m convinced these stories can be one for many kids. They can be a tool for them to let their imagination flow freely and for them to process the world around them more easily. Just for that reason, I would pledge money to this project even if I was not tied to it in any way.
Me: What inspirational words do you have for aspiring comic book writers?
Kempf: Don’t give up. It’s very, very easy to give up after your first comic book/webtoon gets three readers or after a publisher/agent passed on your story. But those are necessary steps for you to learn and grow as a writer, no matter how hard they can be. Every single creator out there went through those motions, and they still go through them, even full-time pros.
But the truth is, even if the comic book industry is a hard one to break into, it has paradoxically never been easier to make a living from them. So many platforms allow you to share stories with the world—and make money from them. You can even print comics on demand thanks to some companies! If you stick to your craft, accept you will always be a student, be ready to learn, and most importantly, work on stories that you feel a need to tell and would love to read yourself. You will eventually find readers who will follow you and your work, whether you work with publishers and major platforms or not. It’s all about loving what you do.
Me: List three of your top tips for comic book letterers.
- Buy The Essential Guide to Comic Book Lettering by Nate Piekos. This book is a gem AND a must-have for every comic book creator out there (editors, writers, artists, and letterers alike). I could not stress enough how this book will make you a better letterer, no matter the skills you already have.
- Don’t hesitate to ask for feedback. Many letterers out there would be happy to look at your portfolio and help you improve your skills. I’ve learned most of what I know this way! We’re a tight community and we always help each other out when we can.
- Be patient. Getting big, long-term gigs as a letterer takes years; I’m barely getting there myself. Work on smaller stories, contact anthologies to offer your services, keep on improving your craft, and more people will eventually trust you with lettering their stories. I almost gave up twice because I felt like it was taking too long for me to get bigger gigs, but I’m so, so glad I held on and kept working hard.
Me: Promote yourself! What other projects can we look forward to seeing from you in the future?
Kempf: I’m currently pitching a story I wrote called The Gaia Theory, illustrated by Collin Craker and edited by Kevin Ketner. I hope to find it a home! If not, we will get it out there anyway.
I am also writing two kids’ stories called Ahoy! and The Road of the Dandelions. Those stories are taking a lot of time to write and develop, but they will be worth it in the end.
Lettering-wise, I’m currently lettering the series Deadbox (written by Mark Russel, illustrated by Benjamin Tiesma, and colored by Vladimir Popov) and Lunar Room (written by Danny Lore, illustrated by Giorgia Sposito, and colored by DJ Chavis), both out through Vault Comics, which I lettered via AndWorld Design.
Me: Thanks for taking the time to share your expertise with us, Nathan, and talk about the importance of storytelling for kids and beyond! Readers can back the Adventures Everywhere Kickstarter here.
Do you have a crowdfunding project? Want to be interviewed about it and have the project featured on “Kickstart/IndieGogo/GoFundMe the Week?” Let me know in the comments below or message me on my website. Also check out the official Kickstart the Week: Interviews with Comic Book Kickstarter Creators Volume 1 on Kindle.
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