I would like to start this post by stating how much I enjoy Adventure Time. The innocence and fun that is coupled with a larger, slightly sinister back-story is what really draws me into the cartoon. The mixture of sub-textual implications and background images combine to make the world of Adventure Time such a solid show.
The prospect of gender swapping is not new to Adventure Time with Fionna and Cake, from the graphic novel, having appeared in three episodes (‘Fionna and Cake’, ‘Bad Little Boy,’ and Fionna briefly appears in ‘Mystery Dungeon’). Fionna, the opposite of Finn and Cake the counterpart of Jake, occupy a world incredibly similar to that of the original show. Previous episodes have seen the Ice King tell stories of the pair in his fan fictions which is seemingly where the pair originate. Characters that have featured previously are Prince Bubblegum, Lumpy Space Prince, Marshall Lee, and the surprisingly competent Ice Queen. It is said that the original inspiration for Fionna and Cake came from a small comic by Natasha Allegri where Fionna cannot go swimming as she has her period.
The graphic novel starts off with Cake telling the story of how volcanoes are formed, this starting fable is incredibly beautiful with the art and text blending to tell the bitter-sweet story. The story is soon interrupted by the Ice Queen who is wreaking havoc on some animals of the Land of Ooo. The graphic novel, which was originally published as six comics, sees the introduction of the Flame Princesses’ male counterpart, Flame Prince.
The graphic novel features two additional stories, which feature the work of Lucy Knisley and Kate Leth, before continuing the larger story arch. The second story which has a focus on Lumpy Space Prince features a haunting, almost photo realistic depiction, which in its own way is both adorable but also very creepy.
The world that Natasha has created is a beautiful and charismatic one. The fullness of Fionna’s figure is also a very refreshing one, and the way in which relationships are portrayed really differentiate this graphic novel from other Adventure Time works. My gender may have something to do with it but I find myself drawn to Fionna and Cake far more. The art and character design of Natasha Allegri is simply stunning, so much so that I after I had finished the graphic novel, I sought out more of her work. Which lead to me making my first ever pledge to Kickstarter, with the money going Natasha Allergri’s new and original cartoon series, Bee and Puppycat.
At the heartof this graphic novel is an alternate story to Adventure Time but for those who have read and enjoyed it, it is a sweet, funny and emotional read. In my opinion, the Fionna and Cake sub-plot rivals that of the original. I look very forward to seeing more work of Natasha Allegri’s Fionna and Cake, as well as her Bee and Puppycat. I would highly recommend this book, however a knowledge and previous viewing of Adventure Time would be advantageous.