Anyone who enjoys viewing Adventure Time on Cartoon Network would never have to ask if they would also enjoy reading an Adventure Time comic book, published by Boom! Studios. The answer is a resounding, YES! For those of my friends out there unfamiliar with Adventure Time, it is an animated show with a unique point of view, much like The Rocky and Bullwinkle Show was in its day. It’s cerebral goofy. A story about a boy, Finn, and his dog, Jake, and their adventures in a post-Apocalyptic world. And one of the recurring characters is the not-so-nice Ice King.
I mention the readiness of a fan of the show to read the comic because it is very true. What Boom! Studios has managed to sustain is that quirk factor. This is why cartoonists coming from an alternative comics background, or at least in tune with it in some way, are ideal for this type of work. Just consider the Tumblr sites for this book’s talent: story by Emily Partridge; script by Pranas Naujokaitis; and art by Natalie Andrewson.
Then you have the deceptively simple premise for the comic book: “Ice King and his cool wizard pals make it to Marble’s lair and a battle ensues.” You let your talent follow their muse. Next thing you know, the content has organically made the transition from one medium (fabulous animated show) to a whole other medium (fabulous comic book).
In this issue, we are immediately swept up by some dramatic action from the previous issue. Looks like Fionna (the gender-swapped version of Finn) has met her match with The Dark Magister Templi Marble. That’s one page, hinting already that this comic goes deeper than one might think! And then we follow Ice King as he’s repeatedly duped into being a human land mine detector. Ouch! Ice King allows this to happen to him because he has zero self-confidence and he’s so desperately lonely. But if he wants friends, wouldn’t he need self-respect to begin with? Well, we can see that but not Ice King.
The zany humor is often just two characters arguing at the top of their lungs. But it follows a logic, part of the bigger story being told, of course. The loopy-fresh drawing is right in sync with the back and forth surreal dialogue. And the hand-drawn lettering is as kinetic as the drawing and writing. One one level, it all refers back to the work of what we might think (for those of us who think in these terms) of the traditional self-published independent cartoonist.
On another level, it is a matter of just being savvy to the zeitgeist. Think of, say, Eleanor Davis, Julia Gfrörer, or Meghan Turbitt. What matters most is that the creative team here taps into that indie ethos. Anyway, I always get a kick when I read an Adventure Time comic. I’m sure they are a lot of fun to write and draw too. Nice to check in on Finn and Jake and company from time to time.
ADVENTURE TIME: ICE KING #5 (of 6) is available as of May 18th, published by KaBoom!, the all-ages imprint of Boom! Studios.