The Adventure Time Encyclopaedia
written by Martin Olsen
Adventure Time has been a favorite of PopCult since its debut just a few years ago. What seems like the goofy, innocent adventures of a boy and his magic dog in a world of whimsical candy characters has turned out to be a pretty subversive post-apocalyptic, surreal serial adventure filled with complex relationships and loaded with cutting-edge humor, social satire and characters who are more realistically deliniated than those on most live-action television shows. Pendleton Ward has created what may be the most intricate, well-thought-out show in decades.
A book was a no-brainer, since Adventure Time is also one of the highest-rated shows on basic cable. Luckily, they didn’t just rush out a quick cash-in. The Adventure Time Encyclopaedia is an epic guide to the Land of Ooo (the Earth, one thousand years after a nuclear war) and is a must-have for any fan of the show.
Written in character by Martin Olsen, who provides the voice of Hunson Abadeer (a sort of bureaurocatic version of Satan, who is also the the father of one of the show’s key characters, Marceline the Vampire Queen), The Adventure Time Encyclopaedia is a densely-concocted book, loaded with information, asides, laugh-out-loud moments and plenty of illustrations. With so much stuff packed into this book’s one-hundred fifty pages, it reminds me of the mid-1970s National Lampoon parodies of High School Yearbooks and Sunday Newspapers.
Adding to the fun is that the book is annotated by notes scribbled in the margins by three of the show’s main characters, Finn the Human, Jake the Dog and Marceline. Marceline even draws a tiny flip-movie in the corner of the pages. The running commentary pokes holes in Hunson Abadeer’s presentation and gives the book a bit of a “Mystery Science Theater 3000” quality.
The book is divided into five major sections, which contain detailed biographies of the major characters, an alphabetical list of minor characters, “travel guides” to Ooo, a selection of the “Lost Texts” of Ooo and the Forbidden Chapters of the book, which will kill you if you read them, according to the author.
Aside from screen-grabs from the show, the book features illustrations by Tony Millionaire, Renee French, Celeste Moreno, Aisleen Romano and Mahendra Singh. Marceline’s flip animation is actually by the show’s creator, Pendleton Ward. There’s an entire page listing other people who contributed to the book, most of them being staff members who work on the show.
This book is loaded with all sorts of cool things like maps, diagrams, the owner’s manual for Finn and Jake’s computer buddy BMO and the lyrics to Marceline’s famous song, “Daddy, Why Did You Eat My Fries.”
The Adventure Time Encyclopaedia is not only a cool artifact for any die-hard fan of the show, but it’s also a good introduction to the Land of Ooo. It even stands on its own as a weird, colorful, humor book independent of the Adventure Time cartoon. A very well-done book.