Imagine people wanting to create weird and interesting comics that would appeal to adults, parents, teens, kids, and very small kids alike. Comics that every single person in the family can enjoy, separately or together. Comics that are wholesome and adventurous, and would capture the interest of old and young, seasoned comic reader and those new to the art form.
Such a thing now exists. It is called Cartozia Tales, and it’s now being funded on Kickstarter. It is created by a team of talented people, and each issue has two additional guest star contributors. Each issue includes many stories, complete with different authors and illustrators, but all set in the same world. (One of the guest stars for the second issue is James Kochalka, author/illustrator of Johnny Boo comics, among many others.)
All of the stories are done in black and white, but each has a different style because each story is done by a different artist. In each subsequent issue, the creators move on to another part of the world, and take up someone else’s story. After reading enough stories in enough issues, you will start to get a better idea of what life is like in the world. But with such a variety of cultures, characters, plants, and scenery, Cartozia holds no end of possibilities.
I’ve read the first two issues, and I have to say, the stories grabbed me right away. The end of each story leaves you hanging in just the right way to make you look forward to reading the next issue. One or two stories, however, wrap up the action in the one issue, giving you a combination of wrapped-up-story satisfaction, and making you excited to learn what happens next.
The stories of Cartozia are sometimes light on words, but the drawings tell half the story on their own, often helping to deepen the mystery of the action, leaving you with some guesses as to what will happen next. You can then speculate all you like, waiting to read the next issue.
The printed copies of the comics are very high quality. The paper is thick, and smooth but not shiny, and the comics have a really nice feel in your hands. The front and back covers are in color, with the inside pages in black and white. While the stories are great in and of themselves, it is very much worth getting the hard copies for the full experience.
The first issue has a section on learning to draw maps. This section is likely aimed at kids, but there’s no reason why we grown-ups can’t also draw our own maps of whatever we like. There are other informative drawings in between some of the comics, too. The middle of the first comic also has a map of the world, so you can orient yourself during each story. Later comics have other spreads in the middle, but a map is a part of every issue in case you get lost.
I don’t get into more mainstream comics, such as the Marvel and DC. But these more independent, unusual stories are always interesting to me. Cartozia Tales are quirky stories, the kind that have unconventional creatures, and unusual twists and turns.
I recommend that you consider supporting Cartozia Tales as something that your entire family can enjoy together. After each issue, you can discuss what you’ve read, follow everyone’s adventures on the map, and speculate as to what everyone thinks will happen next! You could also write and draw your own stories set in the world, and encourage your kids to do so as well. Then share with each other. I guarantee that hilarity will ensue.
The Kickstarter campaign for Cartozia Tales is nearing its end, with only a little more than a week to go, but it needs your help to get funded. Swing on over to the website now and check them out, and consider funding this worthwhile project. For only $68 you can get a basic subscription for the first ten issues of Cartozia Tales, and there are many, many other options, for both less and more money, which include other comics by the artists; mini-comic options; special postcards, posters, or custom drawings; curricula; appearances in the comics; original watercolor art; and classroom subscriptions. An Alphabetical Bestiary of Cartozia, one of the items you can get in some of the support levels, details many of the beasts in the world. An Introduction to the Principles of Cartozian Magic explains–what else?–how magic works on Cartozia. These both give a bit of background information to deepen your understanding and enjoyment of the comic series.
Check out the campaign!