Ryan North Answer Your Questions
To help kick off today’s release of the debut Adventure Time comic from BOOM!, the book’s writer, Ryan North (Dinosaur Comics), sat down to answer a few of your questions. The results go something like this:
Jonathan Bilski: I have some questions myself for Mr. North. How many arcs have you written so far or planned out? Will you be writing for the forseeable future or is this for a certain run of the comic. Also can I get some free stuff for being an early commenter?
P.S. I hope you have giant robots planned at some point
Ryan North: So far I’ve written out just the first arc, but I’ve got some ideas for the second. I hadn’t considered giant robots! This was an OVERSIGHT on my part and I hope to incorporate giant robots into future issues. However I did incorporate my favourite Jake transformation (Jake Suit!) in the first issue, and that’s kind of like a giant robot! Only, the robot is a dog. Still?
Also I am not the one in charge of free stuff but I am hereby saying this to the powers that be: free stuff! Free stuff for Jonathan! FREE STUFF FOR EVERYONE
devenciufalo: What characters will there be a main focus on in the first issue of the comic?
Ryan: The first issue is all Finn and Jake going up against a serious enemy they’ve encountered before: THE LICH. This time he’s threatening not just our heroes but the entire planet! There’s also a new character we haven’t seen before: Desert Princess. She’s a princess who lives in the desert. She is ADORABLE.
Since he’s such a hard enemy to defeat, by issue two Princess Bubblegum, Marceline, Ice King AND Lumpy Space Princess are all involved in the fight / awesome battle!
joenoknow: How do you get a job doing such wonderful things? :)
Ryan: Luck, I think! Boom called me up and said “Hey do you want to write this” and I was all “Hah hah as if you even had to ask.” I think it helped that I was already doing my comic, Dinosaur Comics, which has a similar voice to the comic and showed that I could write the sort of thing they were looking for. They asked me for some story pitches, I put some together, Boom and Pen Ward and I agreed on the one we all liked and I’ve been running with it since!
rojolimar: Will the comic feature less-used characters, like Lady Rainicorn, and will it introduce new characters?
Ryan: Yes! Well, Lady Rainicorn is on the first page, but she’s not major in the story so far. There is Desert Princess who’s new, and you get to meet here in the first issue. That was a lot of fun, because I described her to Braden and Shelli and they came back to me with four different versions of what she could look like, based on my words. It was crazy - such variety based on just a few words of my description! And there was one that I just loved and I said “her, her, a thousand times her” and seeing her in real life like that made it really easy to write her suddenly: I knew who she was, she’d gone from an idea to a real person.
I think that in terms of characters, Adventure Time is a bit like the Simpsons, where there’s a cast of hundreds you can choose from - which made writing lots of fun! The Earl of Lemongrab is one of my favourites and I had to find a way to work him into the story, even if we don’t actually get to see him.
wolvensnothere: What were your favourite cartoons, as a kid?
Ryan: I was the #1 fan of the Ghostbusters cartoon one (the one based off the movie, not the weird one where they had - a haunted car? I think?) And I LOVED Transformers when I was really young! I also really loved He-Man and would dress up as He-Man and carry a stick down the back of my shirt like it was a sword. I actually have a tiny scar on the side of my eye which I got by pretending to be He-Man running with his sword sideways (for some reason?) and my stick caught on a door and whipped across my face and almost blinded me. ALMOST BUT DIDN’T and I survived unscathed, except for a tiny scar. Just like He-Man himself!
evilirishpixi: Will the comic series follow any of the show or will it be completely different?
Ryan: It follows the show! I wanted it to read like the storyboards for an awesome episode you just didn’t get to see. There are some things new, of course - I feel like almost every Adventure Time story contributes to our knowledge of their world in some way - but it’s based on the idea that these could be episodes, but by some magic, you get to actually hold them in your hands instead. There’s some things you can do in comics that you can’t do in animation, so I’m trying to hit those points to show you some things that you actually couldn’t see on the show!
cosmicsweetener: Which side would you fight for, Autobots or Decepticons, and how has this influenced your writing?
Ryan: Here is the thing: I was this huge fan of Transformers, having the bedsheets and EVERYTHING, but it had to be the first show I ever really liked. I must have been 5 or 6 when I was super big into them. And then they stopped showing the cartoons in my area. And when you’re a kid you grow up super fast, and when you’re 6 you can barely remember being 4, and by the time I was 9 I could barely remember being 6. I knew that I LIKED Transformers, but I couldn’t really remember any of the specifics about them: I couldn’t remember WHY. I just had this vague memory that they were awesome and transformed, and there were good guy transformers that fought bad guy transformers, and the best one turned into a truck. I still love them, but I could tell you exactly zero storylines that happened. Just that they are the best.
ANYWAY the point of this is that I love Optimus Prime and he is on Team Autobots so that’s where I am. As for how it influenced my writing, it influenced me to write that previous paragraph! That’s something!
dinosaurs—go—rawr: Are you going to add any characters? if so you should add one named Jazzmyn who can be Marceline’s sister who plays the drums :)
Ryan: I have not considered the name “Jazzmyn” before but I like that it implies Mr. and Mrs. The Vampire Queen named their first child Marceline and their second child Jazzmyn because they really wanted her to be big into jazz. Does Jazzmyn play the drums because she feels like it’s what her parents wanted? Or does she actually REALLY love drums, but then wonders if her parents had named her Fancy-Dancy Darceline she’d be big into dancing instead? How does she really know who she is and who she was meant to be??
cottonbook: How did you like writing in the style of the TV show, but adjusted for the comic? Do you think you were able to keep true to its spirit?
Ryan: I think so! I only finished I line when I could read it and hear it in the voices from the show - that was how I knew it was solid.
Before I mentioned things that comics can do that television can’t, but I also sat down and tried to figure out the things that you can do in animation that you can’t do in comics. One of the big ones is singing: the show has some great, amazing songs on it, and I wanted to have something similar to that, but obviously I couldn’t put in a thing that says “EDITORS’S NOTE: Go to this URL and listen to the MP3 that loads, and then start reading the first panel!”
Actually that might be fun.
Anyway you’ll see in issue three how I figured out how to translate the songs of the show into the silent medium comics without needing you to play an MP3!
nimblefingers: Is there going to be plenty of LSP? I would happily marry that blob.
Ryan: There is plenty of LSP action, yes! I love her and I was actually worried about writing her, because she’s so awesome! But once you get yourself in the LSP headspace her voice comes naturally. I said before I tried to hear the voices from the show in my lines, but here’s a secret: every one of her lines of dialogue in the comic I’ve actually said, out loud, in my best LSP impression voice. I wanted to make sure they sounded right! It’s one of the reasons I write alone, because it would be super embarrassing to be in a coffee shop or something and suddenly say “Oh my GLOB Finn, you don’t even KNOW” and have everyone stare at me.
Anonyymous: Who is better to write, Finn or Jake?
Ryan: I honestly consider them to be a team! I love Jake’s laziness, and it’s easy to think “Okay, I myself am also lazy, so what would I do in this situation”? But you combine that with his amazing stretchy powers and it makes for some really fun writing / problem solving. Finn’s heroism is absolutely central to him, which makes writing him lots of fun too, and the combination of these two dudes is terrific. I would not want to write one without the other! They need each other to be their best.
Anonymous #2: A lot of the panels are great visual gags. How hard is it to write these descriptions so the artists can follow what you mean? How much freedom do you give the artists to do what they want with those descriptions?
Ryan: We tried to mirror the show’s production format, where the writers do scripts but then the storyboard artists also contribute their own ideas. The artists and I went back and forth and some of the best things you see in the comic are a result of Braden and Shelli coming up with brilliance. I actually think I have the easier job, because I can write things like “in this panel, we see Jake transforming, and you can make it as disgusting as possible. This is super ultimate awesome gross.” (that is an actual line from the script) and then they take those few words and NAIL IT. And then I get to look at the gross panel and say “Hah hah, amazing, this is way grosser than I imagined while writing and it’s PERFECT.”
So I try to give them a lot of wiggle room to go nuts with things, and if they have a great idea I didn’t think of, we incorporate it!
Thanks, Ryan. Thanks, BOOM! Thanks, everyone who submitted a question. Now everyone sprint to your local comic book shop and buy your copy of Adventure Time #01. (You can always buy one through BOOM!, too.)