RICH INTERVIEWS: Nathan Kempf Curator/Letterer for Adventures Everywhere: A Comic-Book Anthology for Kids
Rich: How did you get into Lettering comic books?
Nathan: Honestly, it was a “right place, right time” kind of situation. My partner and I went to a local comic-book shop here in France where Mateus Santolouco (TMNT) was signing some books. There, I met the people taking care of localizing comic-books (translating and adapting the lettering) for the French market, and I asked if they had a place for me, to which they answered “yes”. I worked for them for around two years as a localizing letterer, and then had the ambition of working on original stories instead of just localizing them and worked my way up from there. I now letter full-time.
Rich: What one of your published works stands out the most for you?
Nathan: When it comes to French books, I had the chance to work on a 60 issues series telling the entire History of my country, L’Histoire de France en Bande Dessinée, published by Hachette Collection. It was talked about on TV, newspapers, … and it allowed people to learn about this subject in a more accessible way, so I’m very proud to have worked on it.
When it comes to American comic-books, it would be Deadbox, published by Vault. I started lettering US comic-books in early 2020, so getting to work for such a popular publisher after so little time, and on an amazing story like this one feels unreal to me. I also got to letter this series through AndWorld Design. The founder Deron Bennet is a letterer I truly look up to, so working through his studio is incredible.
Rich: Why use an anthology format?
Nathan: I feel like the anthology format fits perfectly with a child’s attention span. On a more serious note, all kids will not relate to the same stories, which is normal, so it felt weird for me to release one story and just be satisfied with it. The anthology format also allows for creators from different backgrounds to come and tell a story they want to tell, and for more kids to be able to relate to this book. It’s important, especially in these times when the future is as unpredictable as ever. Going for an anthology format just felt right.
Rich: What is the theme throughout the anthology and why?
Nathan: Throughout this book, I wanted to show kids that anything can be an adventure (hence the name Adventures Everywhere). Whether you are trying to find an amazing place to eat dessert, moving to the other side of the country, or finding out who you really are, you will be put in a position of learning, growth, self-discovery, doubts, and so much more. I believe it is important to show kids it’s normal to go through those cycles, and that it may take time for them to discover who they want to be and carve their own path. In that way, life is an adventure, and I hope it will give hope to the kids reading this anthology.
Rich: Will this anthology inspire children and children of all ages?
Nathan: I truly believe so. We have stories for everyone: a fire-breathing hamster saving turtles, a child finding the perfect gift to their newborn sibling, the experience of a disabled teenager going to their first pride parade. Most issues faced by today’s youth are showcased in this book, so I’m convinced they will all be able to relate to the stories, find comfort in them, and also find inspiration.
Rich: Who are Jes & Cin and why are they important to “Adventures Everywhere: A Comic-Book Anthology for Kids”?
Nathan: JesnCin (short for Jessica and Jacinta Wibowo) are Indonesian identical twins who write and illustrate their own stories, such as LUNAR BOY under Harper Alley in 2023, and they are the ones who illustrated the cover for the anthology. A cover is so important, because it is the first thing people will see when looking at a book, and I feel like they did the job perfectly. Communication with them was easy and we got on the same foot quickly, which shows in the final product. Them being driven by creating empowering stories for younger readers was a huge bonus. Finding a cover artist was a very long process for me, but I couldn’t be any happier with the result.
Rich: How did you go about getting others involved in the making of “Adventures Everywhere: A Comic-Book Anthology for Kids”?
Nathan: Honestly, just an open call on Twitter. I have no prior experience in curating an anthology and I’m not well known in the comic-book world, so I was honestly not expecting people to answer the call, but it seemed like the easiest way for me to reach other creators. I ended up with hundreds of submissions and a lot to review, but it gave me the chance to find the stories and artists I truly believed in the most.
Rich: Who are a few of the talented people involved with this anthology?
Nathan: I’m lucky to have amazing creators working on this anthology! We have a foreword by Stephanie Cooke (Oh my Gods!), and stories by people such as Shadia Amin (Spider-Ham: Great Power, No Responsibility), Jordan Alsaqa (Raise Hell!), Brittany Matter (Into the Sunset), Quade Reed, and so many more.
Rich: How did you find the job of Curator challenging?
Nathan: The hardest part was reviewing and selecting stories. I think I went through 6 rounds a trimming down until I had a satisfying number of stories left. Curating the anthology was challenging as a whole, but I think it is mostly due to it being my first time. If there is a next time, I know the entire process will be easier, I already learned a lot about what I could have done better.
I’m also very lucky to have experienced people helping me on the backend before the anthology launches (Brittany Matter helped me a lot setting up the Kickstarter campaign page, and James Emmett is taking care of PR, which is a huge relief).
Rich: After this anthology what will you be working on next?
Nathan: I will be lettering, mostly. I have also written a mini-series called The Gaia Theory, that I am currently pitching to publishers. If it doesn’t work, it will go to Kickstarter early in 2022.
I am also working on two kids’ graphic novels, Ahoy! and The Road of the Dandelions, whenever I have the time, hoping to have them out there in the next few years.
Also, if this anthology’s campaign is a success, I already know the theme of the next one (and yes, it will still be for kids).
Rich: What other comics would you recommend?
Nathan: Oh, that’s a tough one! Lately, I’ve been binge reading (again) Saga and Locke & Key, they’re amazing stories that I could read repeatedly. I’m also a big fan of Tom Taylor’s Nightwing and Superman: Son of Kal-El.
When it comes to middle-grade / young-adult books the Marvel stories published by Scholastics are truly great (Miles Morales: Shock Wave, Spider-Ham: Great Power, No Responsibility, …). Actually, comic-book wise, I feel like kids can’t go wrong with Scholastic’s books.
Rich: Why use kickstarter and what is the url for this one?
Nathan: Kickstarter is a great way for projects like this anthology to actually see the light of day. Between paying creators, printing costs, and all the different expenses, such a book can very easily cost more than $10K to create. Funding it through Kickstarter is an amazing way to connect with fans and peers, while making sure there will be people to support the book when it’s out there.
You can find the campaign at
Rich: Why do you love comic books?
Nathan: This medium is truly amazing, I feel like it has the best parts of all other storytelling mediums. It’s kind of a like a novel, but you’re not limited to words to tell your story. Your visual storytelling is also not limited by a budget like movies can be. To me, comic-books are the absolute best way to tell compelling stories and have it easily available to everyone. I mean, just look at how popular Webtoon is, and how many people are creating stories for this platform only.
Rich: Any words for the fans who support this anthology?
Nathan: Thank you, from everyone involved. Your support matters so, so much, and we couldn’t make this project without you. If the campaign succeeds, I cannot wait to have all your feedback, and I hope you will enjoy reading it as much as we enjoy creating it.https://www.firstcomicsnews.com/rich-interviews-nathan-kempf-curator-letterer-for-adventures-everywhere-a-comic-book-anthology-for-kids/InterviewsRich Interviews