From Friendly Ghosts To Gamma Rays, No.184
Howdy ya’ll, and welcome back to our all-ages comics column, From Friendly Ghosts To Gamma Rays! This week we look at Boom! Studios’ main money maker (if the sales sheets are an ounce of truth), Adventure Time!
It is hard to be cynical about Adventure Time. We look at the gigantic money pile it’s become for Pendleton Ward, Cartoon Network, and others, and like your favorite indie band everyone has discovered years after you were already digging it, it’s become easy to write it off and move on, even if it is quality. Some have only moved on as far as Regular Show, tricking themselves into thinking that’s a different case, and some perhaps the genius of Lucas Bros. Moving Co. on Fox, now FX’s ADHD block. But here I am, working on the all-ages column, and there is no way I can dismiss it. Normally in this column I avoid getting personal and using a lot of “I”s, but this week is one of those special cases, because until this issue, I developed some beef with this title in comic form. I started thinking, though, if I’ll give my time to a Scooby-Doo book published by DC, then it is only fair I look at Adventure Time published by Boom!. That said, until this issue, there is nothing that made me want to read Adventure Time. I want you to know this going into the review. I don’t hate the franchise, I even own the first four seasons on DVD and have a pair of Jake socks. This title, though, has always been hot or cold for me, and I only thank my lucky stars it’s a money making hit for Boom!, because I think two of their other titles, Peanuts and Garfield, have been superior, but obviously are not selling as well, and my personal greed doesn’t want to see them disappear. Anyone who knows economics 101 knows you need an anchor hit to help keep mid-level things that are neither hits nor tanking, going.
That said, what can I say about the issue?
The main story by Hastings and Sterling is a lot of fun, and a big surprise to me since I haven’t visited this title in a long while. Finn is in Jake’s stomach on a quest, and all sorts of very wacky, Adventure Time-esque things happen, like hidden temples, food people, and more. The best thing, though, is it is all contained in a single issue. One of my biggest peeves with the early issues, when I actually wanted to read this title and was trying to get into it, was how drawn out across multiple issues it was, obviously designed to drain our money and built to sell a trade. That may be nice for a 40-year-old man who has a pull list at the comic shop, but how the hell can I hand my nephew a copy of an individual issue? A partial story would bore him. So I stopped reading. But this issue! This issue I can hand to anyone with its done-in-one. Yes, there is lots of credit to the awesome job Hastings and Sterling did here, not being back handed, they legit did a great job. But I was happy because I revisited the title after a long time away, and saw Boom! had the balls to give me something that doesn’t make me feel I’m wasting my dollars, giving me it all up front, and of course, Hastings and Sterling bring a great quality that looks and feels like the cartoons on TV. This duo started as the new creative team on the title only a few issues ago, and if they can make a grumpy fan like me start falling in love with the title again, Boom! 100% has something here, and I hope these guys get a long, lengthy run on the title.
The back-up is a fun little Marceline tale by Edith, with art by McDonald that was enjoyable. Using art styles that are slightly different from the TV show is always a slight danger for licensed titles, but Adventure Time masters this, still telling a great story in its own unique way.
For the first time in this column when it comes to Adventure Time, I will not tell you to wait for the trade. I know I have encouraged this in the past, but this issue stands alone, it doesn’t waste the page space and makes everything count, and most importantly is just a well put together piece of comic art. I think the issue is worth picking up and adding to your buy pile this week.