BOOM! Studios' Adventure Time titles has revisited old episodes and explored new territory, but this week's new one-shot Adventure Time: The Four Castle is taking adventurers Finn and Jake on a quest that isn't quite as heroic as it seems.
Writer Josh Trujillo and art by Adventure Time artists Zachary Sterling and Phil Murphy have filled The Four Castles will everything the cartoon franchise's fans have come to expect, with songs, all your favorite characters, and the what the makings of a lifelong friendship are all about.
Newsarama chatted with Trujillo briefly about the ins and outs of the OGN, and joining the Adventure Time family.
Newsarama: Okay, Josh, this is your first time writing for Adventure Time, tell us where we might have seen your work before?
Josh Trujillo: I'm probably best known for my self-published romance series Love Machines, and for editing a tabletop gaming anthology called Death Saves: Fallen Heroes of the Kitchen Table. Beyond that, I've had shorts featured in various anthologies and I even had a short story in Archaia's The Reason For Dragons with artist Ben Bishop.
Nrama: The Four Castles feels like an old school Dungeons & Dragons campaign, but set in the Adventure Time universe. This isn’t just a normal dungeon crawler, though - tell us a little bit about what exactly is going on here.
Trujillo: Finn and Jake are approached by the enigmatic Guildmaster! She has asked them to be a part of the Heroes Guild of the Manyverse, but to gain entry into the guild they have to recover magical artifacts from four different castles in Ooo.
Some of these castles are familiar to Adventure Time fans, but others we're seeing for the very first time! You can definitely see my influences as a gamer in the way that the quests unfold!
Nrama: There’s a lot going on with these characters, it almost like an Adventure Time mega episode. You even have Marceline sing a song, there’s LSP... just everything a fan could want. As an Adventure Time fan yourself, was there a mental checklist you made of stuff that you had to do with these characters?
Trujillo: I know everyone has their personal favorites they're looking for, so it was important for me to include as many characters as I could. After all, it wouldn't be Adventure Time without at least a little Lumpy Space Princess!
As for the songs, yeah! Adventure Time has such a great tradition of music behind it, I thought it was only natural to include some original tunes in this "mega episode." It was a lot of fun coming up with songs for Marceline—and Guildmaster—to use during Finn and Jake's mission.
Nrama: Coming onto such a beloved franchise, were you intimidated at first? Did working with Zachary Sterling and Phil Murphy help ease things a bit?
Trujillo: Adventure Time is one of those special shows with a huge following and a very devoted fan base, so there is definitely pressure! However, KaBOOM! and Cartoon Network were very enthusiastic about this story which was a huge vote of confidence. I'm also able to work with incredibly talented artists, colorists, and letterers at KaBOOM! who put the whole thing to life.
Nrama: There seems to be this thing about Finn where he has to constantly prove himself to the world and his friends. Why do you think that is?
Trujillo: I think Finn gets misread a lot as being dumb, when he's actually pretty smart and responsible for his age. We've seen him grow up so much on the show, and he's had to learn some lessons the hard way. The thing we like most about Finn is his optimism and his resilience. The challenge as a writer is to come up with new obstacles for him to overcome, and not all of those obstacles are physical ones.
Nrama: Talk to us about what's going on with Finn and Jake's relationship here. They've grown as a team, but also somewhat grown apart. Where are they right now?
Trujillo: Jake's relationship with Lady Rainicorn is taking up a lot of his time, and it's starting to cut into his adventuring with Finn. When they're offered a chance to join the Heroes Guild, Jake isn't sure he wants to but knows that this is a good opportunity for his buddy.
Nrama: What do you think it is about the Adventure Time world that resonates so well with fans?
Trujillo: Even though they're a green pygmy elephant or a penguin or a computer, I find the Adventure Time characters so real! It makes me nostalgic for the stories we would all tell as kids, but it also has such a modern sensibility to it. There's also this dense, wondrous mythology that is so rewarding for longtime fans.
It's been a huge honor to get to write for one of my favorite shows, and send them on a story of my very own!