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Ink & Pixel: Adventure Time

03.28.2013

Ink & Pixel is a source of pride and joy for me as a writer and as such, I知 always striving to take this column further for those who read and enjoy it. If you yourself, or anyone you know, helped to make any of the amazing feature animated films found within this column, I would love to talk to you to further my knowledge. Please contact me at steveseigh@joblo.com so we can discuss it further.

Everyone knows that animation isn't limited to just the spectacle of the silver screen. In fact, it's been since the year 1950 - when the first animated series produced specifically for television, a show by the name of CRUSADER RABBIT (created by Alexander Anderson and Jay Ward) - changed the entertainment industry forever. Animation was now in the homes of anyone fortunate enough to be able to afford a television. As a result, the spectrum of what would entertain and who could be entertained broadened exponentially. More than anything, it invited parents to get involved with their children's favorite animations; while watching creative and hilarious programs with one another, they were not only were bonding, they were at long last being equally entertained. As of late, there has not been a finer example of this evolution in animation entertainment than Cartoon Network's ADVENTURE TIME.

ADVENTURE TIME, which made its debut in April of 2010, is a mostly hand-drawn animated show that features the outrageous adventures of a 14-year-old boy named Finn the Human (Jeremy Shada) and his best friend, Jake (John DiMaggio), a dog with the magical abilities to stretch, grow, and shrink himself into any shape at will. Each morning, Finn and Jake set out for adventure as part of a sworn adventurer's oath to protect the post-apocalyptic Land of Ooo from evil and other not so awesome junk.

Ruled by the very analytical Princess Bubblegum (Hynden Walch), The Land of Ooo functions as a world where all the laws of reason can (and often will) become muddled, resulting in any number of impossible scenarios for our heroes Finn and Jake to overcome. It's a show about impossibilities becoming possible through the power of friendship and a swift flying dragon kick to the face *ahem* all in the name of adventure, of course.

ADVENTURE TIME first got its start after the internet was stormed by an animated short, featured on a Nicktoons Network program entitled Random! Cartoons (a spin-off of a Nickelodeon based animation showcase entitled Aw Yeah! Cartoons). Shortly thereafter, ADVENTURE TIME's creator, Pendelton Ward, was approached by Federator Studios (an American-based independent production house) about bringing the characters of Finn and Jake into the big time by giving them their own television show. The idea was tossed around by Federator, and shot down twice by the Nicktoons Network, before the Cartoon Network decided to give ADVENTURE TIME its chance.

Pendelton jumped at the opportunity to bring ADVENTURE TIME to the popular network and decided that the show would work best if presented in 11-minute bursts (2 episodes per half hour show). Those who have seen the popular cartoon know that it pulls its inspiration heavily from the world of Dungeons & Dragons, as well as a plethora of video games from every generation. As a for instance, like in many RPG video games, you could slay an enemy neighbor inside of The Land of Ooo, but then find that they'll respawn the very next day to do battle once again. Each episode can take anywhere up to 9 months to produce, and each are plotted in the time honored tradition of using story boards to plan and map every adventure within the series.

The writing process for ADVENTURE TIME works by having the writing staff bring all of their ideas to the table, where a finite amount of these ideas are seized by a particular writer or team and then outlined in a short story format. Each short story, when presented, must contain all the relevant 澱eats or 菟lot points that include all the major components. These ideas are then scripted in a thumbnail storyboard format where key ideas are fleshed out and expanded upon. Ward, along with his team of creative directors, then make whatever revisions are deemed necessary, and the drawing and animating process begins.

ADVENTURE TIME is unique in the way that the episodes are prepared because it does not follow the typical procedure of 塗ere's the script, here's the lesson to be learned that most other cartoon shows present. The team that writes, draws, animates, and produces ADVENTURE TIME is given many more creative liberties by the Cartoon Network because the channel claims that this freedom is what works best for the show. I personally find it rather refreshing to know that a company as large as the Cartoon Network is willing to take this sort of leap with what is now one of their most lucrative properties to date.

Perhaps one of the reasons ADVENTURE TIME has become so popular within today's entertainment culture is the fact that the show has so many more layers than your standard cartoon show. Take The Land of Ooo for example. When the show was conceived, it was planned that the Ooo would simply be a magical place. However, as the show began to grow both in popularity, as well as in concept, it began to take on the shape of something much more complex. Ward has said that the continent that makes up The Land of Ooo was born as the result of 典he Great Mushroom War, a war that after the bombs had fallen, brought magic back into the world. For both the writers, as well as fans of the show, this changed everything.

After having been given this little nugget of information, fans flocked to the internet. They began creating chat rooms, blogs, and videos explaining their theories about the mysterious origin of the fictitious Land of Ooo. It all started with an episode entitled 釘usiness Time. It featured vampire-like businessmen characters trapped inside of floating glaciers who arrived in the Land of Ooo and began causing mischief. This arrival implied that the world containing The Land of Ooo resides had a history prior to the events featured in the current continuity of the ADVENTURE TIME show. This small detail became a mental playground, both for fans as well as the show's staff of writers.

It's because of this bold approach to the show's production that ADVENTURE TIME has become conventionally known in its few years of being on the air as being a very esoteric but inviting show for children and adults alike. Rather than being branded as 鍍oo out there or 田ryptic and preachy the writers and artists of the show have been encouraged to include their weirdness and even their subtle approaches to spirituality. This individuality is what sets ADVENTURE TIME apart from other cartoon programs and has allowed the show to reach a wider and more diverse audience. While other shows are strange solely for sake of it, ADVENTURE TIME promotes the teaching of valuable life lessons while still under the guise of bizarre children's cartoon.

ADVENTURE TIME, in its not so very long history of being on the air, has amassed a fan base of epic proportions; appealing to not just young children but adults as well. At any given department store or mall you'll find the characters adorning clothing, beach towels, adult-sized onesies, and a multitude of other products, including bedding and sweet action figures. In addition, ADVENTURE TIME has several on-going comic book series (Adventure Time, Marceline and the Scream Queens, Fiona and Cake) that feature even more adventures of The Land of Ooo and its bizarre inhabitants. Each series features a growing number of writers and artists, all dedicated to making ADVENTURE TIME a spectacular read for comic book fans of all ages.

Currently, ADVENTURE TIME is airing its 5th season on the Cartoon Network with no signs of ending the adventure. The show isn't just about friendship. It's about mystery, the power of music, funky fresh dance moves, time travel, stubborn horses, and doing whatever it takes to be a hero each and every day. If you've never traveled to The Land of Ooo before, be aware that there are plenty of DVD boxsets available for your viewing pleasure. I assure you that you'll be noodle arm dancing to one of the show's many catchy tunes in no time. Schmowzow!

Extra Tidbit: The show caught a bit of attention when an episode entitled "What Was Missing" hinted at an ongoing lesbian relationship between the characters Princess Bubblegum and Marceline the Vampire Queen.
Source: JoBlo.com

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12:33PM on 03/29/2013
cartoons were way better in the 90s. like, unbelievably better. not to knock this show, but if you take some of the more 'average' cartoons from over a decade ago, they'd wipe out the competition today. Heck, the 'stupid' shows of my time were like Ed Edd n Eddy, but at least you could watch it without feeling like you're on an acid trip.

There needs to be more shows like Batman, Justice League, Beastwars, Reboot, Dexter's Laboratory, Johnny Bravo, Doug, and Recess
cartoons were way better in the 90s. like, unbelievably better. not to knock this show, but if you take some of the more 'average' cartoons from over a decade ago, they'd wipe out the competition today. Heck, the 'stupid' shows of my time were like Ed Edd n Eddy, but at least you could watch it without feeling like you're on an acid trip.

There needs to be more shows like Batman, Justice League, Beastwars, Reboot, Dexter's Laboratory, Johnny Bravo, Doug, and Recess
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7:53PM on 03/28/2013
I cant stand the bad cartoon drawings...whatever happened to the way cartoons looked in the 50's to the 80's ..also the story lines used to better "back in the day"...today the stories are stupid...total void of solid learning content...I remember when some cartoons had lessons and underlining morals...agahhh! I have nothing personally against creator Pendelton Ward in the sense I have respect for his hard work to get this creation on TV...but when I see cartoons done today, it strikes a nerve,
I cant stand the bad cartoon drawings...whatever happened to the way cartoons looked in the 50's to the 80's ..also the story lines used to better "back in the day"...today the stories are stupid...total void of solid learning content...I remember when some cartoons had lessons and underlining morals...agahhh! I have nothing personally against creator Pendelton Ward in the sense I have respect for his hard work to get this creation on TV...but when I see cartoons done today, it strikes a nerve, that things arent as good in cartoons as they used to be.
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3:38PM on 03/28/2013

Is everyone here 10 years old?

Ever since spongebob squarepants (admittedly my favorite cartoon to come out in the 2000's) cartoons have glorified stupidity. I don't get it. Why can't we get real cartoons like Hey Arnold back? Now a kids show isn't popular unless the combined IQ for the entire character list is 80.
Ever since spongebob squarepants (admittedly my favorite cartoon to come out in the 2000's) cartoons have glorified stupidity. I don't get it. Why can't we get real cartoons like Hey Arnold back? Now a kids show isn't popular unless the combined IQ for the entire character list is 80.
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3:46PM on 03/28/2013
Clearly you haven't seen this show or enough of it to realize how deep it is, or how intelligent a number of the characters are. Go troll somewhere else fool!
Clearly you haven't seen this show or enough of it to realize how deep it is, or how intelligent a number of the characters are. Go troll somewhere else fool!
11:44AM on 03/28/2013

Genius

This is one of those shows that if parents actually new their kids were watching it would probably freak out! Well if most young kids could even really understand the subtext. Just started watching this randomly, and I found myself riveted to the screen, I mean I would flip to CN and it would be on and in two seconds I would find myself sitting down and watching the entire episode.
This reminds me of shows like Pee Wee's playhouse shows done by subversive anti-establishment adults for kids!
This is one of those shows that if parents actually new their kids were watching it would probably freak out! Well if most young kids could even really understand the subtext. Just started watching this randomly, and I found myself riveted to the screen, I mean I would flip to CN and it would be on and in two seconds I would find myself sitting down and watching the entire episode.
This reminds me of shows like Pee Wee's playhouse shows done by subversive anti-establishment adults for kids! What could be more fun!

Check this show if you haven't
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10:05AM on 03/28/2013
Caught one episode not too long ago & immediately knew I had some serious catching up to do...
Caught one episode not too long ago & immediately knew I had some serious catching up to do...
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5:02AM on 03/28/2013

Awesome

This is one of my favorite shows and I'm glad this site is finally recognizing its diverse fanbase and its genius.
This is one of my favorite shows and I'm glad this site is finally recognizing its diverse fanbase and its genius.
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1:53AM on 03/28/2013
Loved this article, Adventure Time is one of my top 5 favorite shows at the moment and the writing and animation only gets better. The last episode had me in tears moreso than any movie I've seen in the past year.
Loved this article, Adventure Time is one of my top 5 favorite shows at the moment and the writing and animation only gets better. The last episode had me in tears moreso than any movie I've seen in the past year.
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+8
12:41AM on 03/28/2013
Great article on one of my favorite cartoons, very mathematical!
Great article on one of my favorite cartoons, very mathematical!
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