The Adventure Time comics are interesting, as a huge fan of the show I was eager this week to dive into several back issues and catch up with the comics and see what it would even look like. The translation to comics has its ups and downs, but ultimately makes for some entertaining books.
One of the unique elements here is that the books often use story continuations, which the show itself very rarely does. For the show that is a positive thing as the delightfully spazzy bite sized adventures are perfect for consumption. Comics are by nature sort of cumulative and lend themselves to multi issue stories and though the comic feels nearly exactly like the show, the longer stories end up working for a book that already flirts with feeling unnecessary at times.
These are characters and worlds that do fine in panels but really are more at home in motion on a television set, the art is a perfect mirror of the show and the writing is pretty much identical as well. I will say that seeing some of the goofy prose Finn and Jake use spelled out was pretty funny in its own right and while at first I was impressed with this, at the end of my reading I just wished a had the cartoon on. I expect comics to have a complex and progressive story, but Adventure Time has never been that. At least not usually; it`s a trippy, fun as hell, sometimes emotional and always good hearted romp through a candy-colored world with a tween boy and his dog. The pace of the cartoon makes you feel as though you were a hyped up adventure loving little boy again, moment by caffeinated moment. The comic attempts the same pace, as it would have to keep in the spirit of the show, but it ends up feeling oddly like a series of comic strips loosely tied together by a plot at some points. This is no fault of its own; it’s just a unique program wearing an unfamiliar and slightly clumsy set of clothes.
The full page artwork at the start of the issues is cool and shows Finn, Jake and the whole cast illustrated in inventive ways that are worth seeing. Also of note are the mini-stories after the main shebang itself, often presented in some pretty different artwork as well and usually following a character whose life we don’t get to see much of. These are fun and refreshing and were often my favorite parts of the issues as they offered a different take on the material.
As far as the books go this is a pretty good one, the final in a three issue plot which sees Finn, Jake and Marceline the vampire queen battling it out with a computer hacking virus monster Kewlboy to win back BMO and the freedom of all the other robots in the land of Ooo. This issue has a few stand out moments including a bit where Finn ingests Jake in the awesomely named move “Belly of the Bro” and a goofy moment in the after-story-story where Finn feigns being beaten by a sentient felt hat, these moments are classic Adventure Time and deliver the same silliness that I love the show for.
If you’re a big fan and would like to see the show in a new format pick these books up for a fun and refreshing change up into a pretty spot-on translation in the medium of comics, go for it. After the first few reads expect to want to pop in your DVDs and catch up on the real McCoy. To a newcomer I’d recommend the cartoon and that’s where you’ll find me too, these books are pretty frickin' sweet bro, but the show is totally MATH.
Writer: Ryan North
Artists: Shelli Paroline & Branden Lamb
Publisher: Kaboom via Boom Studios
Release Date: 3/27/13