I have a gift for you guys. It’s an interview I did with Ryan North, who is writing the new Adventure Time comic series, out in early 2012. I am a mega-fan of the show, and hopefully this won’t be the last Adventure Time related feature I do. Ryan is also the creator of the Dinosaur Comics. Here we go!
DD To me, Adventure Time is the best show on TV. How did you hook up with the team behind the show and how do you hope to compliment the show with your comic series?
RN Adventure Time is really great – it’s one of the few shows I’ve recommended to my friend Joey Comeau (he writes A Softer World) and he loves it too. We were in a hotel room in Florida and Adventure Time came on and I pretty much yelled “STOP, STAY ON THIS CHANNEL” and by the end of the episode he was hooked. Pen and I had talked a bit years ago before the show launched but couldn’t get anything to work, but when the chance to write the comic came up, the stars aligned!
I’m hoping the comic and the show will go together really well. I’d like them to be so that anyone can slide from one to the other and not miss anything, but I also want it so someone who has never heard of Finn or Jake or Princess Bubblegum can pick up the comic and say “Aha, I get this! I understand what this is about and it is AWESOME.” And it’d be great if Adventure Time viewers who want more adventure more of the time pick up the comic and it scratches that itch really well too.
DD What is the most challenging aspect of this project?
RN It’s been a fun change to work with someone else’s continuity! I’ll write something and I’ll have to stop and say “Wait, is that item stored in that room of the tree house? Does the Ice King have his prisons on the same floor as his throne?” and then I’ll look it up on an Adventure Time wiki or fan site somewhere and be able to continue. I don’t think that Adventure Time is a show or a comic that should be choked by its own continuity, but I’d rather have something right if I can! There’s nothing to be gained from having something be different for no reason, and if you can get it right, it’s deeply satisfying for both readers and me as a writer. It makes the whole story seem real and official, if that makes sense.
With Dinosaur Comics the continuity is both a) looser and b) all in my head, so there’s no place to check for this sort of thing, but it also comes up much more rarely. Someone did make a Dinosaur Comics Timeline which puts all my time travel comics into one consistent narrative, and it is CRAZY, but I’m glad it’s out there. I should manufacturer reasons to refer to that timeline document more often.
DD Will the comic series reenact old episodes, or will these be all new story lines?
RN All new! I think the show already has such a great visual style that there wouldn’t be much to gain from simply translating them word-for-word into a new medium. It’s a much better idea to create something brand new and just as awesome!
DD Will there be any new characters in the comic series?
RN There will! Adventure Time the show has tons of new characters showing up all the time, and the comic will have some of that chaotic creativity. But it’ll also have lots of familiar faces. It’s not Adventure Time without Finn and Jake (or Fionna and Cake)…
It has been super fun to send descriptions for any new characters to the artists, Shelli Paroline and Braden Lamb, and see what they come up with. I get back emails with the most amazing, terrific stuff, and it all looks like it could be on the show. It’s gonna be a lot of fun to read!
DD Disco Droppings mainly focuses on music so I wanna ask, what songs/artists get you hyped to create?
RN It’s funny, because if I listen to music I haven’t heard before when I’m writing, I get too distracted by the lyrics and figuring them out. So when I write I either listen to songs I’ve loved for years, or I’ll listen to songs I don’t particularly like so I can ignore them – but when I notice that, I’ll just turn off the music.
DD What do you enjoy most about your job? Sounds pretty rad to me!
RN It – it basically is? I get to get up in the morning and write, AND, there’s usually a bunch of emails from people I’ve never met saying that they like my work and therefore like me too. It’s REALLY EASY to wake up to!
To answer your question, I love having the freedom to work on what I want. It sounds like a little thing, but it means you’re always working on something that engages you, and that’s critical. It makes working fun!
DD What would you like to be known for? Between all the projects you’ve done so far, what ties it all together for you? What do you hope readers take from your art?
RN This is a really good question! I suppose if you take Dinosaur Comics, Whispered Apologies, Machine of Death, Project Wonderful and now the Adventure Time comic, put them in a blender, and chugged what came out, I’d hope you’d end up with a semi-viscous liquid that was delicious, entertaining, pushed the boundries of what you thought was possible, and was also awesome. Awesomeness is really important to me. I feel it is unarguable that things would definitely be improved if everything were awesome.
Ryan North on Twitter
– Jimi Jaxon