Here at Comics Bulletin we have a long tradition of loving just about anything related to Adventure Time. Whether that's naming it one of the Ten Best Shows of 2012, one of our Top Ten Ends of the World, or just loving it in Nintendo 3DS format, in regular and/or gender–swapped comic book format, or on Blu-ray Complete Seasons all at one time; we just can't get enough. In fact, love of Adventure Time may be the Unified Field of CB, keeping us all hovering in SpaceTime together, vibrating at complimentary frequencies.
However, there is a tremor in the Force, and it centers on how Cartoon Network chooses to release the DVD collections. There is a loudly vocal segment of the fanbase that sees these thematically collected releases of 16 (or so) adventures a pop as a slap in the face. They want the entire seasons or nothing and aren't shy about complaining about it. And I'll admit, I see their point and was right alongside them for a while (I think Cartoon Network has heard them too, as the last two releases have included bonuses that help to sooth the wallet-pain).
But I changed my mind.
If I had to hazard a guess, I'd say that most of the loudest complainers are adults. Obsessive Completist Adults like me, who love to have it all, taking up proud spots on our shelves littered with our other obsessive trophies. These thematic collections aren't designed for us. These collections are for the kids out there or the less-obsessive fans who want to throw a disc in the player, sit back, and enjoy a group of cartoons organized around a familiar theme rather than wading through the ebb and flow of an entire season.
It's like listening to a playlist instead of cycling through your entire mp3 collection from start to finish.
And this playlist is all about relationships.
The sixteen adventures included on Jake the Dad span the yet-to-be-collected Seasons 4 and 5 (I mean, S5 is still running right now!) and in every single episode there's attention paid to boyfriend/girlfriend, parent/child, and/or long-lasting-friendship relationships. It's a nicely selected group of 15 minute-ish adventures that really demonstrate some of the strongest elements of the show.
I mean, when they can make me cry about Snow King's forgotten past, that's the good stuff right there.
Seriously, "Simon and Marcy" is one of my favorite cartoons ever; not just of Adventure Time. I'd say it was one of the most sublime experiences of heartache, loss, and forgiveness that I've ever seen animated. And it's not the punch-in-the-gut that Futurama's classic "Jurassic Bark" was. This is just beautifully sad, but hopeful and funny at the same time. The tears were from love, not sorrow.
Similarly, "Puhoy" riffs on the classic Star Trek TNG episode "The Inner Light" and Finn grows old, raises a family, and learns a little something about life before forgetting it all and slipping back into his old life. It's bittersweet and touching with Star Trek's Jonathan Frakes supplying the voice of adult Finn (plus there's a delicious uncredited cameo by Wallace Shawn).
Every adventure here is a knock-out, from the uncomfortably stalkery "Gotcha!" to the hard-boiled imagination of "BMO Noire." There are even serious existential explorations with "Sons of Mars" and "All the Little People" – both of which kind of creeped me out, but in a good way! Jake, Finn, BMO, Marceline, Flame Princess, and even Ice King all get moments to shine in this collection.
And as an added bonus, to compliment Jake Vs Me-Mow's Finn Hat, this time around the collection is packed with a Jake Hat! And it is awesome, if I do say so myself.
Yes, I am a 45 year old man. What of it?
This collection retails for $24.98 and goes on sale Tuesday, September 17 and there's no reason not to add it to your shelf. Even if you want to hold out for the collected seasons, everybody should get their paws on the Jake Hat.
Paul Brian McCoy is the writer of Mondo Marvel and a regular contributor/editor for Comics Bulletin. His first novel, The Unraveling: Damaged Inc. Book One is available at Amazon US & UK, along with his collection of short stories, Coffee, Sex, & Creation (US & UK). He recently contributed the 1989 chapter to The American Comic Book Chronicles: The 1980s (US & UK) and has kicked off Comics Bulletin Books with Mondo Marvel Volumes One (US & UK) and Two (US & UK). Paul is unnaturally preoccupied with zombie films, Asi
an cult cinema, and sci-fi television. He can also be found babbling on Twitter at @PBMcCoy.