Ryan North, Shelli Paroline and Braden Lamb's run on the Adventure Time comic is barreling headlong toward its conclusion, and it looks like before they're done, they're participating in the time-honored tradition of taking a look at a future where Everything Has Gone Horribly Wrong! You know, like Days of Future Past or that Batman story where Batman's kid wears a trenchcoat and has a cat. It's a tradition, y'all, but in Finn's case, he at least gets a pretty sweet beard out of the deal.
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Of all the sentences I've read in comics news this week, none have been as much of an emotional rollercoaster as this one: Ryan North is leaving the Adventure Time comic, and will be replaced as writer by Christopher Hastings.
The announcement comes after almost three years of North's tenure as writer alongside artists Shelli Paroline and Braden Lamb, which included multiple awards for the series including an Eisner for Best Publication For Kids, and was revealed when the solicitations for January's issue were released, announcing the new team of Hastings, the creator of The Adventures of Dr. McNinja, and artist Zachary Sterling, who previously worked on Boom!'s line of Adventure Time original graphic novels.
We're big fans of animator, illustrator, and comic artist Erica Henderson around these parts -- her work frequently appears in our Best Art Ever feature, and she's provided several amazing illustrations for the site, including a portrait of her Subatomic Party Girls collaborator Chris Sims for the ongoing Ask Chris feature. We're also rather fond of Ryan North, writer of Midas Flesh, To Be Or Not To Be, and the beloved Adventure Time comic. And, of course, everyone loves Marvel's Squirrel Girl.
So we're very excited to learn via Entertainment Weekly that Henderson and North are joining forces on a Squirrel Girl ongoing series, Unbeatable Squirrel Girl. Now, sure, maybe the world wasn't specifically clamoring for a Squirrel Girl book, and now we're getting one from these creators, it's everything we didn't know we always wanted.
It's really starting to look like 2014 is the year of the giant, oversized offbeat anthology comic. Not only have we gotten books like Cosmic Scoundrels and Giant-Size Kung Fu Bible Stories, but today, Boom! Studios announced the latest offering from their creator-owned imprint, the Boom! Box 2014 Mix Tape, and it already looks amazing.
Clocking in at an oversized 8.5 x 11", the Mix Tape is set to include a pretty impressive roster, including covers by Teen Dog creator Jake Lawrence and a new Lumberjanes story written and drawn by Noelle Stevenson, and a new story from the award-winning team behind Adventure Time, Ryan North, Shelli Paroline and Braden Lamb. And if that wasn't enough, we have an exclusive look at character designs for four short stories by Rian Sygh, including Teen Prez, which may actually be the Sensational Character Find of 2014.
One of the great thing about the Adventure Time comics -- and there are a lot of great things about the Adventure Time comics -- is how great they are for telling stories with the familiar Cartoon Network characters that you could only really tell in comics. The best example might have been the fantastic Choose-Your-Own-Adventure issue, but next week, writer Ryan North and artists Kat Philbin, Missy Pena, Becca Tobin, Liz Prince, Carey Pietsch, Jesse Tise, Ian McGinty, T. Zysk, David Cutler, Yumi Sakugawa, Shelli Paroline and Braden Lamb (phew) are doing it again with a special issue that's all about the cast making their own zines.
That's right, everyone: If you've ever wanted to know what a zine would look like if it was made by BMO, now is your chance to find out. It's about a bear named Cool Bear, and it is amazing.
Finn and Jake have been on a crazy ride over the last four issues of BOOM! Studios' Adventure Time series. Courtesy of Eisner-winning series writer Ryan North and visiting artist Jim Rugg, the plucky pair have traversed dark dungeons, confronted mind-body dualism by dying and becoming ghosts, pranked the Ice King, reprogrammed BMO, and been busted by spook hunter Ant-Ghost Princess. Naturally along the way they've made some eminently bad calls that have screwed everything up for basically everybody in the Land of Ooo. Also we saw the Mecha Lumpy Space Princess. Finally, this particular saga comes to an end in issue #27, which BOOM! promises will see the intervention of an "unlikely" ally.
It's one of those weird quirks about comics that when something is really, really good, you kind of forget about it for a while. Being great becomes the standard, so you almost forget about how good it is until something comes along and it suddenly gets even better. Like, say, when the Adventure Time comic teams up writer Ryan North with Street Angel and Afrodisiac creator Jim Rugg to introduce a bold new character named Anti-Ghost Princess in next week's issue.
That's right, Finn and Jake have shuffled off this mortal coil and have been reduced to haunting the candy castle, leading Princess Bubblegum to call in Anti-Ghost Princess and her team to handle these supernatural shennanigans once and for all. And I can assure you: this bit of busting certainly makes me feel good. Check out a preview below!
Ryan North's Adventure Time run with artist Jim Rugg has yielded many welcome surprises (a mecha Lumpy Space Princess, for one) but fans have also paid a price for such a creative rampage as Finn and Jake have learned about mind-body dualism the hard way by becoming ghosts in a machine. Now the spectral heroes have to turn to the last person they can usually count on to return to being flesh and buds: Ice King. Get an exclusive first-look at next week's Adventure Time #27 past the cut for a taste of how the heroes fare on their quest to become corporeal.
I think it's fair to say that the characters in Adventure Time are prone to making some pretty bad decisions. I mean, just the lack of tooth-brushing that we've seen in a show set in a place called "The Candy Kingdom" alone is enough to make you shake your head at the life choices Finn and Jake have made. Next week, though, when the Eisner award-winning Adventure Time comic book hits its 26th issue, writer Ryan North and artist Jim Rugg (who is doing a full AT arc following his backup in issue #10) lead Finn and Jake to make one of the most alarmingly and obviously terrible decisions that we've see yet -- and you can get a jump start on cringing right here at CA with the preview below.
And if that wasn't enough to get to read on, then trust me when I say that for one brief panel, this issue introduces what is undoubtedly the sensational character find of 2014: MECHA LUMPY SPACE PRINCESS.
Back in 2012, Namco launched ShiftyLook with an eye on turning older video game franchises like Bravoman and Rolling Thunder into webcomics, and they've done a good job of it, too. Galaga, in which Ryan North, Christopher Hastings and Anthony Clark reimagined space combat as the story of two teenage girls building spaceships out of giant pixels and blasting off to defend Earth alongside a two-fisted President, was one of ComicsAlliance's best comics of 2013, and now, they're giving the team a second chance at capturing that magic.
Today, North, Clark and Hastings launched DigDug, a short story based on the classic 1982 arcade game. I spoke to the three creators to find out more about how they adapt an 8-bit game into a character-based story, where they find time to take on an additional project and whether they've officially named their team.