It’s a sad Monday in October for fans of Adventure Time. For my Canadian brethren it is a time of celebration, of Thanksgiving, even. In the United States it’s the time of the quasi-holiday celebrating Christopher Columbus (Indigenous Peoples Day in some regions). I qualify to commemorate either of those (Being descended from Canadian natives), instead, I will be growling at the lack of postal services and a new episode of Adventure Time. So, to make up for this lack in some small way, mostly courtesy of my experiences at APE in San Francisco this past weekend, I bring you a tour of the art crew that designs 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 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.
From the great collection of art by Adventure Time staff on the AT Wiki.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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!
Adventure Time with Finn & Jake airs Monday’s at 8pm/7pm Central on Cartoon Network.
Go make these papercraft cut and fold AT Characters. I made Beemo. Tonight, my son made Mr. Cupcake.