Meet The Artists of Adventure Time

Meet The Artists of Adventure Time

Marc Arsenault

Fionna and Cake Update!

As of Thursday, September 28, 2023, the new Max series Adventure Time: Fionna & Cake is now completely available to stream. When we first posted this article on some of the cartoonists who worked on Adventure Time a dozen years ago, we had no idea what lay ahead for that little dog and human. A quick look at the credits for Fionna & Cake reveals that much of the art and writing staff remains from 2020’s Adventure Time: Distant Lands series. Long time AT executive Adam Muto remains as the show runner as well. Adam showed up at the old Wow Cool shop one winter many years ago, and caused much confusion with casual mentions of certain artists. Some names that leap out at us from the voice cast are Donald Glover (Childish Gambino! Han Solo! Atlanta!), Marc Maron (WTF!) and Providence, RAV and Space Academy 123 comics artist Mickey Zacchilli.

The name that really grabbed us, is that of cartoonist and comic book colorist Jim Campbell, who has a long relationship with Alternative Comics as well as the much loved Over the Garden Wall. Jim Campbell’s comics on Wow Cool.

Apart from their work on AT:F&C, many of the creators behind the show have other lives and work. You might dig some of it.

Go give a look:

Haewon Lee | Jackie Files | Sonja von Marensdorff | Nicole Rodriguez | Iggy Craig | Anna Syvertsson | Kate Tsang | Hanna K. Nyström | Delfina Perez Adan

Of special note is Jagm, author of the epic Adventure Time Chronology.

More reading: Showrunner Adam Muto was recently interviewed by Avery Kaplan for The Beat.

In October 2011 a whole crew of comic book artists descended on APE, The Alternative Press Expo in San Francisco. I bring you a tour of the art crew among them that designed the mad world of Finn and Jake.

APE 2011 – The Alternative Press Expo – took place on October 1-2, 2011 at the Concourse in San Francisco. Five of the artists who work on Adventure Time with Finn & Jake were in attendance: Thomas Herpich, Andy Ristaino, Rebecca Sugar, Ian Jones-Quartey, and Jesse Moynihan. Another A.T. artist who was not in attendance was conspicious by the presence of his many works at the show – Canadian contributor Michael DeForge.

Table sign from the 2011 Alternative Press Expo – APE – in San Francisco, CA.

Thomas Herpich

Thomas Herpich is a character designer and storyboard artist for many Adventure Time episodes. He is also credited with writing six episodes so far, including “Her Parents”, a personal favorite. A graduate of the School of Visual Arts (SVA), Thomas has been getting his comics and illustration out there for about a decade. He’s done two solo books and appeared in Meathaüs and Nickelodeon Magazine.

Thomas created two books for Alternative Comics – Gongwanadon and Cusp. His latest book White Clay was published by AdHouse Books.

From the great collection of art by Adventure Time staff on the AT Wiki. | Herpich Brothers Blog | Interview on MeatHaüs | Interview on Vice

Andy Ristaino

Andy Ristaino is the lead character designer on Adventure Time with Finn & Jake. He also designs many of the title cards on the show. When not drawing crazy creatures for work he can be found drawing comics and playing the theremin. Two collections of his comics were published by SLG: The Babysitter and Escape from Dullsville. His work has also appeared in numerous anthologies, including Popgun, Meathaus, Nickelodeon Magazine, and Spectrum, and he has been featured in the magazines Coilhouse and Hi Fructose.

Andy’s blog Skronked! | Follow Andy on Twitter

Rebecca Sugar & Ian Jones-Quartey

I had no idea that a whole crew from Frederator Studios had made the trip up to APE. I stopped by the table specifically looking for Andy Ristaino, who I knew was there… somewhere. Each time I came by, he was nowhere to be seen. By the time I caught up with him it was nearly the end of the show on Sunday. I quickly discovered that the guy I talked to each time I’d visited was Thomas Herpich (I had him sign a copy of Cusp that I picked up at the show), and that they were with two other artists from the series. I managed to say hi to them and snap their picture. I had to run off a talk to someone else at the show then, and when I came back they had left. I imagine everyone thought I was just being rude.

Ian Jones-Quartey has also worked on The Venture Bros. as animation director. He recently worked as a storyboard artist on “Secret Mountain Fort Awesome” for Cartoon Network and is currently the Storyboard Supervisor on Adventure Time. He has also created the comics Tent Sale and Beta Temple. Beta Temple was sold out when I got to the table.

Beta Temple

Rebecca Sugar is a storyboard artist on Adventure Time and the creator of the graphic novel Pug Davis. She is credited with writing nine episodes of Adventure Time to date, including Susan Strong, which I’m watching right now. She has also composed many songs for the show. Her impressive animated short “Singles” is considered a bit of a classic.

Jesse Moynihan

I took two blurry photos of Jesse Moynihan. He is a writer and storyboard artist on Adventure Time. His newest book is Forming from Nobrow Press. His earlier books are also available from Wow Cool. Everything you need to know about Jesse can be found in this recent interview with the Comics Journal.

Michael DeForge

Michael DeForge was not present at APE 2011, but his presence was felt. As the headlines say, Michael DeForge is making the most exciting work in comics today. Michael is a character designer on Adventure Time. He has released four issues of his solo comic Lose through Koyama Press, co-edits the anthologies Root Rot and Thickness (adults only!), and has appeared in seemingly a hundred comics anthologies in just the last couple of years.

There have been several in-depth interviews with and profiles of the artist in recent days. Frank Santoro describes him as being at the vanguard of what he calls fusion comics along with Brandon Graham and Dash Shaw. Michael lives in Toronto, so he probably is celebrating Thanksgiving today. His work is well worth seeking out. A large selection of it is available direct from Wow Cool.

Michael DeForge Home Page | The King Trash Blog | Michael DeForge on What Things Do

Profile by Rob Clough on | Interview with Squidface & The Meddler | DTU Interview with Matt Seneca

Interview with Avoid The Future | Interview with Spraygraphic | Interview with the(excerpt)

Michael DeForge’s Cartoonist Diary for The Comics Journal

UPDATE: Notably absent from this list was Ron Russel, who does the painting on the amazing title cards for each episode. He has worked on many other classic shows including Futurama, Invader Zim and The Mighty B!

January 2019 Update: Adventure Time has been off our screens for a few months now… These are a few of the other artists and writers who worked on the show during its epic 10 season run who also made comic books:

Patrick McHale who went on to create Over The Garden Wall

Steve Wolfhard

Sam Alden

Aleks Sennwald

Luke Pearson

Kris Mukai

Laura Knetzger

Derek Ballard

Jillian Tamaki

Brandon Graham

Adventure Time with Finn & Jake aired Monday’s at 8pm/7pm Central on Cartoon Network.

More goodness: Adventure Time with Finn & Jake | Frederator Studios | Official YouTube | Adventure Time Wiki

AT creator Pendleton Ward’s Home Page | Get the Adventure Time DVD

Fred Seibert’s Adventure Time collection on flickr

Go make these papercraft cut and fold AT Characters. I made Beemo. Tonight, my son made Mr. Cupcake.

This Kidrobot figure of Puff Jake N Lil Finn is kind of awesome.

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