BOOK REVIEW: ADVENTURE TIME: THE ORIGINAL CARTOON TITLE CARDS / AUTHOR: PENDLETON WARD / PUBLISHER: TITAN BOOKS / RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW
Title cards have become something of a lost art in recent years. This is partly because, unlike in the heyday of the Looney Tunes cartoons (which had some stunning title cards), cartoons are made for TV now, rather than short films designed to be screened in cinemas. Series in the 90’s like Animaniacs and (in particular) Batman: The Animated Series brought back title cards that were unique to each cartoon and it’s something that Adventure Time has picked up again with each story they tell.
This book collects all of the title cards from the first two seasons of Adventure Time, along with artist commentary and concept designs. Each double page spread features the finished title card along with a couple of smaller versions of the early stages of the art (or in some cases a completely different take on the card), a brief paragraph about the piece and usually one line of commentary and a quote from the episode.
The cards draw their inspiration from everything from classic sci-fi movies and adventure stories to noir and vintage horror movie posters. The paragraphs about each card are entertaining to read and offer some insight, but they aren’t exactly in depth. But then this is a book about the pictures and what stunning pictures the majority of them are. Both my 5-year-old son and myself spent ages pouring over the pictures without having read a single word about them.
This is the best kind of art book. It’s the kind you keep coming back to, spending a good chunk of time looking at. You can open it on a random page and get engrossed by both the finished art and the work that lovingly went into creating it. It’s great that Titan have seen the merit in turning these cards into a beautifully presented art book that will appeal to both fans (of all ages) of the show and fans of the art of the title card as well.
Roll on volume two!