Adventure Time – The Original Cartoon Title Cards (vol. 2) – Book Review

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I received an advance copy of the Adventure Time Original Cartoon Title Cards book (volume 2) from Titan Books in exchange for an honest review, and it’s out today! Read on to find out how excited I am about this book…

Adventure Time’s adorably weird and wonderful post-apocalyptic world has captured the hearts of fans worldwide.

Featuring all the title cards from seasons 3 and 4 of the show, plus early sketches, creator commentary, and exclusive insights into the vast and varied inspirations behind the art, the second volume of Adventure Time: The Original Cartoon Title Cards is an absolute must-have for every fan.

So back in September of 2014, Titan Books published the first volume of the Adventure Time Title Cards books. I saw it and was really looking forward to reading it, but unfortunately forgot to pick it up. Fast-forward to my birthday in February, and a friend of mine who seems to know me very well bought it for me as a present, and boy was I elated. Perfect gift.

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The first volume focuses on the first two seasons of the book, and the new one out today covers season three and four. They follow the same format – two pages per episode, one page printed with the title card for each episode, the other with a sketch or early version of the title card, and an explanation of its design, as well as a strange out of context quote that only makes sense if you’ve seen the episode.

“Wait, wait, wait Amy. Hold up” I hear you saying. “What’s a title card? What’s Adventure Time? …”

Oh yes, sorry! I’ll rewind a little bit. So if you’ve not heard of Adventure Time yet, I’m not sure where you’ve been… Adventure Time is a ‘children’s’ cartoon, shown on Cartoon Network in the UK, which has been running since 2010. It’s about a young boy called Finn and his dog, Jake. It’s funny, endearing, original, and most definitely not just for children – adults all around the world have come to love it too. A bit like Disney, it’s fun for all ages. I’ve been watching Adventure Time for about four years or so now, and something which has always intrigued me has been the title cards.

As the books explain in more detail, each episode is preceded by a hand painted ‘title card’, a glimpse of what’s to come in the episode, and they don’t stay on screen for very long so you may sometimes struggle to get a good look at them. These books remedy that, you have all the time in the world to enjoy the title cards for what they really are – another form of art, and another medium of telling the stories that Pendleton Ward and his team of writers spin in this show. They’re beautiful, sometimes haunting, and often stray from the very distinct, cheery, recognisable drawing style that Adventure Time usually uses. These books collect them all in one place for your perusal, quite handy! You can have a look at some of the season 3 & 4 title cards in this Buzzfeed article, but I’d suggest picking the book up so that you can flip through, enjoy the explanations, and see them all.

2These books have helped me re-live episodes I’ve not seen in a couple of years, and compelled me at times to go back and pick out my favourite ones to watch again. My niece, who watched it as a baby simply because the colours fascinated her, is getting to an age now where she might start to appreciate the story line too, and I’m itching to get back, so I’ll have to begin it all again and experience it once more, this time understanding the intentions behind the title cards at the beginning!

To be honest, I was worried that the second volume, being in the same format as the first, would get a bit boring and samey. Why should you spend the extra money to read another one? Thankfully, my fears were assuaged when I realised that the second is just as interesting and insightful into the process of creating the title cards and the show as a whole. The humour is still there, and there’s also a sense of growing creativity. There are some new artists in seasons 3 & 4, and you can definitely see how they all brought something extra to the designs.

3Since reading the first volume thoroughly when I received it, I have flicked through and enjoyed it a few times since: the art is sublime and worth going back to again and again. I definitely expect to feel the same about volume 2, and the title cards of season 3 and 4. Both volumes of the Adventure Time Title Cards books are beautiful, the quality of the paper and printing makes it easy to justify the price, and make a nice addition to a collection.

The thing about having interests like Adventure Time, something rather nerdy or geeky so to speak, is that it does take you back to feeling as excited as a child, while appreciating the art as an adult. As a child you want to collect everything to do with your favourite things, and this urge seems to have carried through to adulthood. There’s a massive amount of merchandise around for Adventure Time, from clothing, figures, Pop Vinyl, plushes, the comic series, and more, as well as handmade, non-official merchandise that’s always hanging around the internet. If you’re into collecting things and into Adventure Time, this is a no-brainer. Not only are they gorgeous, they enhance your enjoyment of the show. Who can say no?

My verdict on this not so traditional book is: buy it if you are a fan, and if you’ve ever been curious about the title card. I’d also suggest it as a present for someone who loves the show, old or young. I received the first one as a gift and have benefited from this present many times over! I’d definitely recommend gifting them as a pair, and starting off their new collection.

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My personal rating: 5/5. It upholds the high standard I’ve come to expect from Adventure Time merchandise, and from Titan Books. It met all expectations and I don’t think I could have asked for anything more.

Buy from: Amazon/Book Depository/Your Local Indie Book Store 🙂 priced £14.99

Add it to your Goodreads shelves here!

Pages: 92 (Hardcover)

Publishers: Titan Books

Publication Date: 7th August 2015 (today!)

So are you an Adventure Time fan, or do you think you might like to watch it? Have you read the first Title Card book or planning on picking these volumes up? Let me know in the comments below!

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