'Cartozia' Turns to Kickstarter to Fund Kid-Friendly Fantasy World

New independent anthology comic "Cartozia Tales" is seeking funding for its shared world fantasy series, and has turned to Kickstarter to try and raise it (with, of course, some fun added benefits included for the most generous contributors).
Leah Palmer Preiss/Cartozia Press

The once groundbreaking idea that "comics aren't just for kids anymore" has, for some, appeared to turn into "comics aren't for kids anymore at all" in recent years, what with unnamed top executives declaring that 45-year-olds are the new target audience and the rise in the number of superhero comics targeted at teens or older audiences. Thankfully, there are still cartoonists eager to provide kids with comic book adventures and flights of fancy that stretch the imagination without making parents worried about what they're seeing.

Cartozia Tales is an independent comics anthology compiled by Isaac Cates in which every issue features nine stories set in the same world -- there's even a map. It prides itself on being kid-friendly ("If you can read, you're part of the audience we imagine," Cates explains on the series' website).

Each installment of the series features a core group of writers and artists, including Lucy Bellwood, Shawn Cheng and Sarah Becan, alongside two guest creators chosen from an all-star lineup that includes The Daily Show contributor Adam Koford, Hicksville creator Dylan Horrocks and official Cartoonist Laureate of Vermont James Kochalka.

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Of course, putting together this kind of project is neither easy nor cheap, which is why Cates has launched a Kickstarter campaign to support the series. "We’re making Cartozia Tales because we think the world needs more comics that will attract young readers and let them celebrate adventure, curiosity, exploration, and fun," Cates writes on the campaign page. "We’ve come to Kickstarter because we know Cartozia Tales will appeal to people outside our circles of friends and indie-comics creators, and because doing this book right is going to require a group of engaged and enthusiastic readers."

As is customary with Kickstarter campaigns, there's a lot to be found in addition to the core project. Backers can pay extra for benefits such as original portraits and other artwork from the cartoonists, the chance to influence the content of the remaining issues and even a cameo appearance in Avery Fatbottom, Renaissance Fair Detective, a digital comic series launched last month by Cartozia Tales contributor Jen Vaughn.

The Kickstarter campaign launched Aug. 15 and runs through Sept. 25, but the first issue of Cartozia Tales is already available. For those curious about fantasy comics that are suitable for all ages -- and, speaking from personal experience, also suitable for those who aren't normally fans of the fantasy genre -- it's worth checking out.