What time is it? Comic-Con time!
That's how the panel began, as revealed outside of the panel room for the first time here, but don't worry, you don't have to leave your computer and walk away now.
Several of the cast and creators from Cartoon Network’s Adventure Time got together at San Diego Comic-Con to discuss Abrams Books’ new The Adventure Time Encyclopaedia: Inhabitants, Lore, Spells, and Ancient Crypt Warnings of the Land of Ooo Circa 19.56 B.G.E. - 501 A.G.E., Compiled by His Lowness, Hunson Abadeer, Lord of Evil (whew!), which just hit the New York Times bestseller list, in a rollicking panel with songs, animation, and even some Adventure Time secrets revealed.
The panel, hosted by Adventure Time headwriter Kent Osborne, featured Martin Olson, the author of the book, along with the voice of Marceline’s dad Hunson Abadeer on the show…
...along with being the real-life dad of real-life Marceline Olivia Olson, who was also present on the panel along with Adventure Time creator Pen Ward (“the only panel you’ll attend where Pen Ward is third-billed” quipped Osborne) and artist Rick “Dienzo” Blanco, designer Sean Tejaratchi, illustrators Tony Millionaire and Celeste Moreno, and Abrams editor Eric Klopfer.
Here’s some highlights from the panel!
-There was a completely insane/adorable/disturbing (insadorbing - we're coining it RIGHT HERE) video trailer for the book…
-So, how did the book come about? Ward declared that “Martin is the coolest person I’ve ever met in my entire life,” and when approached about doing an Adventure Time book, recommended the senior Olson.
-Ward also revealed he was a fan of Olson’s first book, The Encyclopaedia of Hell, which also featured many of the same illustrators as the Adventure Time book. “It’s so awesome!” declared Ward. “It looks like Hell, and has little secret links, and there’s Hell all over it!”
-The panel featured a “PowerPoint Presentation of Despair” with some information behind many of the scenes and illustrations in the book. Tony Millionaire revealed that his daughters influenced which characters showed up in his pictures (including cameos by the waving snail from the cartoon).
-The “Fries that Bind” piece of Marceline and Abadeer by Dienzo was based on a real photo of Martin and Olivia Olson, the latter of whom revealed she has a giant version of this in her room. It was further mentioned that you can get this on a T-shirt on Cartoon Network’s website.
-Olivia Olson wrote her own copy for Marceline in the book – “It’s her ripping on me, her actual dad, so it’s very insulting, and cathartic,” said Martin, who added that it’s her actual handwriting. =Later, Olivia showed a picture of her notes for the margins of the book that had “illegally” been posted on Twitter. “I had to pay a huge fine and was imprisoned for four months,” Martin said.
- A few pieces by artist Aisleen Romano given as a gift to Olivia were shown, including one of Marceline and her dad “trying to kill each other.” Apparently, it hangs in the Olsons’ living room.
-Pen Ward did a flip book for the corners of the book of Finn drawing the stylized PHIL FACE smiley face and opening the Nightosphere for the book, which has a suitably twisted payoff at the end.
-For no apparent reason, a cross-section of Godzilla’s anatomy found its way into the presentation.
-In a surprise appearance, Ice King’s voice Tom Kenny showed up to read excerpts from Ice King’s Fionna and Cake fanzine from the book. The randier-than-usual “Ice King” pointed out Kent Orborne’s name could be rearranged to spell “Tech Bonerson.”
-Audience Q&A time! The first girl in line had camped out since 2:30 the previous day to get in, and asked Olivia why, according to the book, Marceline doesn’t tell her dad about the bites on her neck. Olivia: “It’s embarrassing.” Martin: “Most girls don’t tell their dads about marks on their neck.” Olivia: “In real life, too!” Martin: (mock-annoyed) “GOD.”
-Will there be a real-life Enchiridion? Maybe!
-(POSSIBLE SPOILERS) One young fan claimed to have figured out that Simon Petrikov’s fiancée Betty is Princess Bubblegum from reading book, prompting this response from the panel: “The people from Cartoon Network would like to talk to you.” Kenny lapsed into Ice King to go, “Betty is Bubblegum?! Man, you think you know a chick!”
-How long did it take to make the book? It started with Martin and Eric Klopfer creating the content, which took about four months to outline, and a year to get together.
-Is Marceline’s musical empire threatened by “Bacon Pancakes?” “It’s a close second, but Marceline, she’s a true artist.” said Olivia. Kenny as Ice King offers to be Marceline’s drummer, though Olivia pointed out they already tried that once.
-A fan said that, “I never really cried more than after I saw ‘I Remember Youm” and talked about how it affected them. Martin revealed that “I was sobbing like a baby,” while Olivia revealed “I have known Tom since I was a little kid, and he actually doesn’t remember that he took care of me for like 200 years.” Kenny in turn revealed really has known Olivia since she was a child, and Martin revealed that Olivia sang on a wedding song for Kenny and his wife.
-Kenny then got serious in his praise of “I Remember You” and the writing on Adventure Time: “This really is a show unlike any other that I do voices on. They’re all fun in their own way….it really does take you in different directions. There’s not a joke in sight (in that episode). A woman upstairs was tearing up while she was talking to me about it yesterday, and I was tearing up hearing her talking about it.”
-Pen Ward revealed that during the making of “I Remember You,” “I cried four or five times, because I had to watch it over and over” as the story went from outline to storyboards to the final version. He took to referring to the editing room as, “Ehh, that’s the room I go and cry in.”
-Osborne, for that matter, can’t hear the theme to Cheers without crying after “Simon and Marcy.”
-A kid asked if episode where Pen and Jake take on an evil robot empire in the Land of Ooo, which got a :Maybe!” and a “The wheels are spinning.”
-Another fan asked who the gingerbread cookie seen for a split-second in the Adventure Time opening credits in the Candy Kingom scene is. Pen ward revealed it was show-runner Adam Muto, because ,“I like putting him in things because he gets really embarrassed about it.” (Fun fact: In the “Fionna and Cake” credits, that cookie is changed to look like former writer/storyboard artist Rebecca Sugar, while Ward, Osborne and Muto have all appeared in cookie-form in various Adventure Time episodes).
-A kid asked who wrote the Finn and Jake notes in the margins of the book. Martin Olson finally admitted, “we all contributed those” after doing a whole bit about “the real Finn and Jake” writing the notes. When the kid asked if Martin meant voice actors, Martin responded with, “You’re bummin’ me out, man.”
-Abrams is hoping the book will be translated into other languages and sold throughout Europe, “if you buy many, many, many copies.”
-Will we see Marceline’s mom…? ”Maaaayyyybeeeee.”
-Was there anything the show’s writers ever wished a character could do or say but couldn’t because they’re on Cartoon Network ? Kenny (as Ice King): “This is where my fan fiction comes into play!” Pen Ward likes non-swearing because “it’s nice.” “I like stuff that everyone can watch. Martin Olson: “They have to hold me back, I’m harsh.”
-Why does Princess Bubblegum have these cats around her palace? Pen Ward: “Maybe there is something terrible happening.” Ward also wondered why there were cats in Finn and Jake’s house in “BMO Noire:”“That was wacky.”
-Ward recalled how the Adventure Time pilot was just him working by himself for fun, and now the show is the product of many ideas by many different people, and has expanded from that initial idea: “Pen (later Finn) was a hero and Jake was a dog with magical stretching powers, and that was the gist. And then we just sat down and played D&D and came up with stuff, and that was it.”
-In the single most adorable moment of the panel, a kid asked about “Simon and Marcy” and if, when Marceline was stuck in the Post-Mushroom-War world with Simon Petrikov, did Hunson Abadeer ever miss her? Martin Olson, getting serious: “I’m sure that he did, very, very much.”
-Will there be an episode about the origins of Finn and how he came to be? Ward: “Yeaahhhhh – a little more maybe.”
-Or will there be an episode about the Mushroom War? Ward, once again: “Mmmmm, yeah maybe.” “The Mushroom War is heavy – we’re making this kid’s cartoon for everybody. It’s tough to dig into it, if you know what I mean.”
-Will we find out what happened to Lemongrab eating the other Lemongrab? There might be more with the Lemongrabs in the future, and “it will probably be sad.”
-And finally: Will the Ice King ever get his memory back? Ward: “Well, it’s in there somewhere!” Kenny (as Ice King): “Don’t ask me, I forgot the answer!”
That’s all for the panel – you can check out the Adventure Time Encyclopaedia here, here, here, here, here and here according to our friends at Abrams Books, and you can also check out Martin and Olivia Olson’s new CD, “The Father-Daughter Album of Unspeakable Beauty” here.
And keep reading Newsarama for our special interview with the Olsons about the book, working together, singing together, and much more!