Okay, so I’m 23, a girl and with a respectable future career at the Bar (the Law kind, not the alcoholic kind. Although the two occasionally go hand-in-hand…). And yet I love Adventure Time. Just in case you’ve been living under a rock, Adventure Time is a Cartoon Network show that has run into several seasons and is, quite frankly, amazing. It has hilarious nods to its adult audience, but somehow retains a fun atmosphere for children. So naturally I jumped at the chance when Titan Books offered me a chance to review Volume 1 of the Adventure Time graphic novel!
Join best pals Jake the Dog, Finn the Human, Princess Bubblegum and Merceline the Vampire Queen in the Land of Ooo as they face their greatest adventure yet… comic books!
Evil and terrifying skeleton dude The Lich has broken free from his magical prison, and he wants to destroy… well… everything! He’s sucking up all of Ooo, along with our heroes, Finn and Jake! Can they escape in time to set things right across the kingdoms once again? Don’t miss these brand new adventures, written by acclaimed cartoonist Ryan North and drawn by the dynamic team of Shelli Paroline and Braden Lamb (ICE AGE), with indie comics dynamo Mike Holmes.
Like most graphic novels, this started life as a series of individual comic books (I explained this is in my comic book FAQ post, isn’t that convenient?). I didn’t read them at the time, but I can’t help but think this format would be preferable – it’s not an overly long story and splitting it into six issues seems a little like overkill.
Regardless, I really did love Adventure Time Volume 1. It captures the feel of the TV show perfectly – there is literally nothing that could have been added that would have improved upon that. All the characters feature prominently, the art is flawless and appears exactly as it does on the screen, and even the characters’ tones of voice are emulated using different fonts.
Some parts are actually very funny and I did have a bit of a giggle to myself. The plot itself is fairly par-for-the-course, but it’s worth reading just for the one-liners and dialogue.
On the second page there’s a nice, helpful diagram of who’s who and how they all intersect. It’s not exactly complicated, but a graphic novels like this one are usually purchased by people who are already fans; people who already know all that stuff. I think it’s just a nice acknowledgement that perhaps not everybody may be fully cognisant of the ins and outs of Adventure Time.
I also like the ‘Script to Page’ feature near the back. It’s not a huge thing, just two pages showing how a basic script is transformed into comic book panels, with examples. Not strictly necessary, but I enjoyed it and it’s not something you see often.
My only complaint is that it’s roughly a third shorter than it originally appears, as a huge amount of space is taken up by inserting all the covers of the comic books, plus their additional covers, plus the covers of the different printing runs. I know a lot of graphic novels do this but there are also full-page pictures inserted that aren’t covers – I really can’t understand their purpose.
To conclude, I absolutely loved this. It’s obvious that a lot of effort has gone in to making Adventure Time Volume 1 as similar to the TV show as possible, and they pretty much achieved it. It’s a great, fun read with some hilarious moments.