I know you read my review about Adventure Time the TV show, in which I boldly declared that while it was a good series, I wasn’t going to be making an active effort to get further involved with Finn, Jake, BMO, and the other characters in the land of Ooo.
So now you’re wondering what I’m up to now, saying it’s Review Time and holding my fist out for someone to bump.
Well, I’ve been trolling through the PPLD mobile app in my efforts to be both well-read and lazy when I saw the title “Adventure Time: Part 1.” Thinking it was a DVD I went to the effort of clicking it on hold.
Turns out it was a comic book. Not being one to avoid an opportunity, I read it.
1. It’s a different medium. Everyone loves books more than movies because movies simply can’t present the same wealth of information. At the same time, everyone loves movies more than books because movies don’t take as long. That’s because of the shift in medium. It’s like drawing the Mona Lisa in the style of Jackson Pollock, Monet, Degas, or Andy Warhol rather than Da Vinci’s epic pictures (yes, it paintings because he made 4 of them. There a girl in my ASL class who works as an art inspector for an auction house. She loved talking about the Mona Lisas). It’s not the same. It can be amazing, but it just won’t fit our prototype.
2. Comics are a difficult format. While we have epic ones like Mauz, American Born Chinese, Barefoot Gen, and Hollow Fields, those are the cream that rise above the immeasurable Mount Everest of comics that didn’t succeed. The biggest thing is that the creator either needs to be a talented writer as well as a talented artist, or be more than one person.
3. Adventure Time has a very unique style of storytelling. It’s all over the place. There are references to great literature, allusions to the nuclear holocaust that created the Land of Ooo, popular media references, and life lessons all told from the perspective of a thirteen year old. Yet this book succeeds.
That aside, Part one in the comic series shares two stories. One features my favorite character, BMO. The other has the Lich King capturing the whole world in his magic bag of holding.
The most frustrating parts are the secret messages from Marceline. If you look at the bottom of the pages there are little things like commentary and filler material. Two of those are written in a modified version of the pigpen cipher. I didn’t know about the modified part until I had copied out the cipher and tried to translate the first message and all I got was “UGYURYPEDFNCEPGEWELLPUNWRDCNFGMGXQEPPRG – CBFIGLEMG” That’s frustrating. I thought it was some of the book’s creators trying to weed out the serious literaries from the people who would normally enjoy this series.
Thankfully, I have the internet, and found the modified version, which looks like this:
It asks you to fill in the missing 3 letters, but it’s not that hard. If you want to translate the messages yourself, don’t read on. Just know it’s a fun book.
Message 1: Hey guys, I promise I will show up more next issue – Marceline
Message 2: It’s nice to have a friend you know is always down to rap with you – Marceline
Overall, I give it 3 out of 5 stars. I’d have liked to see a little bit of a starting point with the secret messages, and then you have to read through it a few times to notice all the little details that kids wouldn’t have figured out but teens and adults would have noticed. Otherwise, a lot of fun. Definitely worth checking out from your library. Not sure owning your own copy is really worth it, though.