Writers: Paul Tobin and Colleen Coover
Artist: Wook Jin Clark
Release Date: January 8, 2013
It’s not often in life that the universe provides you with an abundance of art that you happen to love, but Pendleton Ward’s Adventure Time is both incredibly prolific and lovable. First, there was the original Cartoon Network television show that has amassed nearly 150 episodes since 2008. Next came the comic book iteration, which mostly lives up to its predecessor’s high standards of post-apocalytpic, candy-colored entertainment. Then, joy of joys, spin-off mini-series arrived: Adventure Time: Marceline and the Scream Queens, Adventure Time with Fionna & Cake (gender bendy!), and now, Adventure Time: The Flip Side, written by the Eisner-winning couple behind Bandette and Gingerbread Girl, Paul Tobin and Colleen Coover.
Coover and Tobin are well suited to this material. Though this debut issue of the new series tends more to its source material’s goofy, lighter side (and does not venture at all into more metaphorically dark places), its sweet and funny approach ultimately is a good fit.
Usually when working with her husband, Coover lends her hand to the art, but in this case Wook Jin Clark does all the visual work, capturing the surreal feel of the series fairly well. The coloring is a little jittery at times without the smoothness of animation to even it out and, indeed, one could say that in general about the artwork. It’s a bit squishy and busy, with characters rendered in funny shapes maybe too often, but it serves the needs of the book.
What may be best about Adventure Time: The Flip Side, though, is its overall pacing, something that Tobin and Coover may not receive enough credit for (because everyone’s occupied swooning over their smart writing and gorgeous drawing). The point of this issue is to establish the set-up, the premise that will govern the five additional issues that follow, but it’s not rushed. In fact, the book features well-timed jokes throughout and ends in a great place that will make you want to buy the next chapter.
There’s a point in the story in which protagonists Finn (a human) and Jake (his shape-shifting dog) must eat a ton of ice cream as part of a series of tests. They succeed, but then promptly encounter some foes who demand they once again eat another huge amount of ice cream. It’s an apt metaphor for the situation in which an Adventure Time fan finds herself: who doesn’t want to eat all the ice cream?