In case you’re not a child or a child-at-heart and haven’t watched Adventure Time, it’s basically a show about Jake, a headstrong boy, and Finn, his dog and loyal campanion. Together, they go on adventures in a world where there are apparently no parents and no laws (the laws of physics don’t apply either). There’s a wonderful coterie of bizarre characters rounding out the cast, from a species called ‘lumps’ that are essentially parodies of emo teenagers, to Marceline, a moody vampire. Adventure Time is also, in my opinion, the best cartoon being produced right now for kids, with Regular Show not too far behind.
The question I have had ever since first watching this cartoon is “What’s the deal with the setting?” There are dungeons, caverns, icy mountains and deserts all within walking distance of Jake and Finn’s home. Early on, I had simply assumed all of this was meant to be taking place inside of some sort of giant colorful video-game, like Skyrim-meets-Mario.
Then I recently found out Adventure Time is also a comic book–and a fun one at that. In issue 4, in the space of two pages, my question was answered (sort of). It begins with a wordbox saying 1,000 years ago, and shows a little girl entering a watery cavern where she has come to seek solace from the mushroom bombs going off outside. She goes to a pool and looks at her reflection and says “But don’t be afraid Marceline! We’re tough! We’re smart! We’ll make it through this, I promise.” The weird thing is, the little girl isn’t the Marceline from the show–her reflection is.
On page 2 it simply jumpcuts to the present day and shows all the characters having fun together.
In 2 pages, we’re given two big revelations! 1) Marceline is the reflection of a little girl from 1,000 years ago, and 2) the setting of Adventure Time is a post-apocalyptic Earth! Confused, I checked wikipedia and found out “According to [show creator Pendleton] Ward, the show takes place “after the bombs have fallen and magic has come back into the world”. During a presentation at the Toronto Comics and Arts Festival, Ward said that this will likely never be directly addressed in the series.”
So while the origins of The Land of Ooo are never explicitly made clear in the TV series, comic fans are rewarded for going the extra-mile. Or are we? The thought of Adventure Time being on a post-Apocalyptic earth casts a pall over Jake and Finn’s exciting journeys. Or maybe the weirdest cartoon for kids just got weirder.
What are your thoughts on Adventure Time with Jake and Finn?