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Friday, November 7, 2014

Adventure Time The Art of Ooo Review: The Best Book Written On Adventure Time Not From Martin Olson

Adventure Time The Art of Ooo
It may have a dust cover that looks boring;a place where imagination went to die for a book about the art of one of the most beloved cartoons of today, but underneath is a catalog of the history, look and insight. Insight into a series about a boy hero adventurer on a post apocalyptic Earth with his best friend, a talking dog with magical shape-changing powers. There's also a neat cover underneath, that looks much nicer.

"...nothing-nothing-can be this good.
     But it is."

That's how Guillermo Del Toro, maker of movies with super vampires and giant robots, ends his loving foreword in the book. He and many artists of today have praised Adventure Time, and it was nice choice for him to start off the book with such a fan-spirited approval of it.

Adventure Time The Art of Ooo could have been Adventure Time, a history or Everything You Wanted To Know About Adventure Time, But We're Afraid Too Ask. The book takes you from how the cartoon was created, how each character was designed and created with great bits from their respective voice actors. Who doesn't love Tom Kenny explaining himself about the Ice King, it's so generally depressing. Throughout the book there's interviews with the crew for little bits of, "oh, that's why or who knew?" You'll take a few pages to look into Finn and Jake's Tree Fort and towards the end go through random episodes and inner working of the show. It ends with a few pages of fan art. Let's face it, there's enough Adventure Time fan art to fill up at least several books as big as this with more coming out each day. It's a heavy book, I could hit you with it and you wouldn't get up. It might cause some damage if I got you right in the...

Cascading through the book is the art of show. Special hard to find sketches and storyboards and even little doodles are covering every page. Long beautiful pages of Adventure Time art to drool over for the fan who wants to see how they make the jowels of Jake. You'll see how a character changed from their original concept to a better defined look and some freaky doodles, Jessy Moynihan.

Moynihans aside we start the book with a young Pen Ward, already bearded, trying to get Adventure Time out there. You'll learn a little bit more of the back-story of the man in a perpetual hat and has a beard, because he worked on Flapjack, which had many pirates in it and so the the crew grew beards. He could have a deformity underneath, small children go ahead and try talking to his beard, see if it responds, try Morse code with your phones.

From Pen Ward's start we learn he was looking for a team to get the show off the ground and that meant looking all over the net for the best people he could find. "I was aware of the talented people who put themselves in the public eye-indie come guys and gals who would go to comic conventions or had rad blogs or YouTube channels, " Pen Ward said.

Skipping to the premiere of the show you see that fans do affect the show, the crew does read what people think of the show often. Pen Ward explained what he did after the premiere. "The part I enjoyed the most was going online afterward, scouring the Internet for reviews, and checking out the funny fan drawings that slowly rolled in." Jesse Moniyhan, a very active storyboarder on the show wrote, "My eyes are glued to 4chan, Reddit, Something Awful and Tumblr." Adding he'll even go far as to watch the episodes looking for comments when they're streaming.

Pat McHale, part of the original crew,  gave an explanation of trying to keep the series look as much as the popular short that made it online alive in the series. He tells of how they lost the whites of Finn's eyes after the first season. Discussed further is how hard it is to copy Pen's style, though it may seem simple. The crew tells of its trials trying to express feelings in faces.

The show does care about continuity and consistency. There's a good bit of discussion on how Jake's ability to reform his body. A reference to Terminator's T-l000 has two storyboarders (Jesse Moniyhan and Ako Castuera) going over how his powers work. "It still doesn't make sense, because when he comes out the other side of the gate, his flesh would essentially have to open up, exposing his guts to re-graft with his own flesh. I'm just saying, "Jesse said to Ako. Ako has since left the show. Thomas Herpich, a long time writer and artist for the series, added how he changed Jake into a car in an episode (my favorite one actually) and didn't care if he broke the rules.

Ako added a funny story about how her husband drew a ugly version of Lady Rainicorn from memory for her that she used as a guide for an episode when Jake make a photo of her from his memory, it looked terrible.

Rebecca Sugar, a fan favorite storyboarder on the show, not you Ako -enjoy your Giant Robot art shows- went through her view of Marceline and Princess Bubble Gum. " A monster and a mad scientist...secretly selfishly good, and secretly selfishly evil. They're so fun." Remember while reading these notes, you'll be met with pictures and art you haven't seen before of the characters. It's a blissful view for your eyes seeing Marceline in different haircuts and fighting the Crabbit.

If the Cosmic Owl ever reached you on a spiritual level here's something to take  that away and make you spiritually fall. Adam Muto, "... 'cause on the second floor men's bathroom at Cartoon Network, the light hits the urinals a certain way that it bounces off and casts this mystical face on the wall in front of you-just starin' at ya." That became its face and they have a picture to prove it.

You'll just come across pages of unrealized work like concept art from Thomas Herpitch showing off strange unused Princesses, an early Demon Cat and a Sign Zombie. Pages and pages of this fill up the book, showing you nothing is just passed on in the show.

The book has pages and pages of looks of the series, like I said there's enough here to really knock you out if I hit you in the head with the book. At least the dust cover might absorb your blood from the impact.

Chris McDonnell's foray into Adventure Time has the most information on the series beyond the Wikia files online.  Filled with not only the art, but the story of Adventure Time. A book so full of content it would make a rather nice weapon to hit someone with.

Reviewer was given copy by publisher for review purposes