With the release of Boom!'s Adventure Time comic just around the corner, we thought we'd speak to one of the folks bringing the book to presses: Braden Lamb, the illustrator and colorist whose work has adorned other Boom! titles like Duck Tales and Muppet Snow White. Lamb discusses some of the challenges of bringing Adventure Time to life on the page, his own appreciation for the animated series on which it's based, and what's next for his work.
MTV Geek: How did you come to this project? How familiar with the show were you when you came on board?
Braden Lamb: Basically, I did sketch covers for DuckTales at Boom's booth at San Diego Comic Con, an editor liked what she saw, and started sending some drawing work my way. Much love to Shannon for giving me this chance.
"Dungeon" was the first episode of the show I saw. It started out kind of fun and quirky, like a hazy memory of someone's first D&D session, and then it took a quick left turn into nightmare territory. That got me interested, and I keep coming back for more surprises. I still haven't seen every episode of Adventure Time yet, but it's got such a strong feel and aesthetic, it's easy to follow in these creators' footsteps.
Geek: What drew you to the material?
Lamb: It’s just so aggressively inventive! Every episode has some new character, monster, location, item, or something that's fun to look at. I loved the inventiveness of Flapjack and Chowder, and I was sad to see those shows go, but Adventure Time is an eminently worthy successor.
Geek: I understand the book is going to be strictly on-model with the series. Were there any particular challenges this posed?
Lamb: It's a little tough to abide by certain rules at first, but I honestly enjoy figuring out why someone decided to draw a particular way.
The thing is, not everything on the show is on-model all the time, either. Finn will pull a weird face on occasion, or someone will turn into a monster. It's a bit of a guessing game on my part to see how far off-model I can go and still make it feel like the show, but luckily Pendleton Ward is on hand to keep me in line.
Geek: Kind of to the same point, are there any advantages or disadvantages to working on licensed titles like this where you have a very set way for the characters and world to look?
Lamb: It's mostly advantages. If I'm drawing something that has appeared on the show before, some other creative person has already come up with something that looks cool. If I'm drawing something new, I get to play around and find something that appeals to me (and hopefully to Pen and everyone else).
Geek: How familiar are you with the audience that’s cropped up around the show? Any concerns about meeting their expectations for Finn and Jake’s adventures?
Lamb: The illustrators and animators I went to school with LOVE the show. So I'm nervous about getting it right, not just for the kids watching, and the folks of the internet, but for my friends. But don't worry, folks, Shelli and I are all over this. We're going to knock it out of the park.
Geek: What do you feel is essential to getting the look and feel right for the world of Ooo?
Lamb: It's a style of illustration that's become pretty ubiquitous. It's come about naturally, but it's all over the place. It's sort of a matured version of kids' doodles. Keep it simple, silly, and noodly, and give it some essential tweak you've never seen before.
Geek: You’ve worked with Boom! on a couple of titles. Could you tell us about what it’s been like working with their team?
Lamb: Boom! has had all these great properties to work with, and I feel very lucky to be involved in them, even just a little. I remember coloring the Darkwing/DuckTales crossover and suddenly geeking out over the fact that I was creatively involved with Darkwing Duck, one of my favorite cartoons as a kid. Deadlines can be a beast sometimes, but that's part of the business I wanted to be in.
Geek: What kind of illustration work do you have coming up on the horizon? What else are you working on?
Lamb: Shelli and I did an Ice Age comic for Boom! that should be out before Adventure Time. We also did a little self-published comic called The Potter's Pet. It's a fable I wrote for young people of a creative nature. You can get it at our tiny but steadily growing store.
I did colors for a couple books by my friends. Broxo, by Zack Giallongo, and Teen Boat by Dave Roman and John Green. They'll be out later this year, and will be exciting and hilarious, respectively.
And of course there's a bunch of my own projects I'll be hoping to do something with this year. Trolls, rocket boots, Mayan astronauts, time-traveling museums, etc.
Adventure Time will be on shelves in February from Boom!