I convinced my daughter to get this comic with three words: “girl adventure time.” Maybe that was a bit reductivist, maybe I was trying to distract her from worrying about the spiders on the cover of My Little Pony #2. (A small side story: My four year old daughter Bella was VERY excited about a My Little Pony comic when we got it, but the scary ponies–changelings, for you bronies–literally gave her nightmares. She took one look at the cover of MLP #2, with cutesy spiders hanging out with the ponies, and decided she was definitely not getting that comic book.) She is not much of a fan of Adventure Time–when we watched a few episodes, her response was, “That was weird, dad.” So I wasn’t sure what she would think about Fionna and Cake. She doesn’t read much yet, but going by her enjoyment of the pictures, she seemed to enjoy it (especially the cute kitty).
I also really enjoyed the book. It began with a surprisingly touching fairy tale that ends up as Cake’s fantastical explanation of volcanoes. Then Cake changes shape into a cat who looks like a pile of poo. They fight the Ice Queen and set up a nice arc for the miniseries. But it’s this juxtaposition of touching stories and poop jokes that I think gets to the heart of why Adventure Time is so beloved: it’s appallingly silly and manic and it seems that anything can happen to our intrepid adventurers. Inside of downloaded dances and kitty-litter-swords is a real sincerity and love. The characters, though silly on the surface, are honest and surprisingly deep. The writers and artists involved really love and are committed to having fun and making great art for us to enjoy. The stories are funny and wonderfully nonsensical, but the reader is always respected by the inventiveness of the stories.
The backup story of the issue is from the much beloved artist, tumblr’s own Gingerhaze, who actually makes her jokey feral sweater boys an ACTUAL PART of Fionna and Cake continuity. I’m 100% behind that and seeing more of Noelle Stevenson’s art in print. For instance, check out her webcomic, Nimona!)