So, before San Diego Comic Con 2011, I had no idea what in the world Adventure Time was. But after a full weekend of being inundated by people wearing tiny white hats, tokens with a yellow dog’s face on it for free pizza, and random Adventure Time parades in downtown San Diego, one of the first things I did when I got home from the convention was check to see what all the fuss was about.
For those of you unfamiliar, Adventure Time with Finn and Jake, created by Pendelton Ward (The Marvelous Misadventures of Flapjack) is about a the last human boy, Finn, and his best friend, Jake, who is a magical, stretchy, talking dog. The two of them go on adventures, which usually involve saving princesses and kicking butt. The show, while on Cartoon Network and for children, has developed a strong adult following, due to its smart humor, sharp writing and thinly veiled adult humor. I pretty much devoured every single episode I could find last year and when I heard that there was going to be an Adventure Time comic, I was over the moon.
At first, I wasn’t entirely sure how they’d be able to capture the spirit of the show, which sometimes relies on gags involving Finn and/or Jake making up catchy little tunes (Did I mention that Finn’s singing voice is auto-tuned as a result of once swallowing a tiny computer? No? Well, it is. And it is awesome.) but the comic manages to capture the tone and humor of the show perfectly.
Without giving too much away, the first two issues center on Finn and Jake’s attempts to stop the Lich King from taking over the Land of Ooo with his giant magic bag that sucks people in and traps them. It’s a great callback to a plot line from the show without feeling like a retread, and it doesn’t alienate anyone who hasn’t seen the show and might be picking up the book on a whim.
The art and colors are distinct in the same way that the show is, and while a lot of the book is super-duper bright when compared to a lot of hero books, it doesn’t feel too much like a kid’s comic to be enjoyable for adults. Personally, I think the art greatly contributes to the playfulness of the comic and there’s never a danger of the book taking itself too seriously.
I think my favorite bits, however, are the tiny gags that make their way to the bottom of the pages. They range from fourth-wall breaking commentary from the main characters to tiny looks into what other characters are doing elsewhere. It’s a way that the book manages to capture the whimsy of the show, and it’s both hilarious and refreshing.
I know that the books have been flying off of the shelves, so I’m sure that anyone who was on the fence about buying the comic doesn’t need me to tell them how wonderful it is, but these books are seriously delightful. And if the main story isn’t enough, the first two have come with mini-stories that are just as great as the main plot. Maybe this book is intended for a younger audience (as with the show) but it’s one of my absolute favorites right now.
Adventure Time with Finn and Jake is published by Boom! Studios.