Tag Archive | The Enchiridion

“The Enchiridion & Marcy’s Super Secret Scrapbook!!!” Review

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Release date: October 6, 2015

Created by: Martin & Olivia Olson

I’ve explored about half of Adventure Time’s expanded universe when it comes to literature. I’ve checked out a good chunk of the comics, Playing with Fire, Marceline Gone Adrift, Islands, The Art of Ooo, Adventure Time Encyclopaedia, The Official Adventure Time Cookbook, and so on. Many of these range in quality, with some really cool entries like The Art of Ooo and Islands, and some pretty lame additions like Encyclopaedia. There’s also the other graphic novels, which I haven’t check out yet, and then there’s also the Epic Tales From Adventure Time novel, which… well, has anyone actually read those? I’m really curious what their deal is.

But of all the AT literature I’ve checked out, nothing is as potent or lore heavy as The Enchiridion & Marcy’s Super Secret Scrapbook!!!, created by Martin Olson and Olivia Olson, the voice of Hunson Abadeer and Marceline respectively. Filled with actual excerpts from the show’s version of the Enchiridion, this book is practically a dream come true for most Adventure Time fans, including myself. And it’s the one piece of Adventure Time merch (aside from Art of Ooo) that feels like it’s specifically aimed at the teen/adult demographic, rather than children. To which I commend Martin Olson for his decision not to pander in the slightest.

The first part of the book is focused specifically on the Enchiridion side of things, with chapters like “Hero vs. Wizard: Which is Which?”, “Meet Your Sword”, and “How to Defeat Witches”. Most of these chapters are both elaborate and fun, touching on mythology with university level English skills, while also trying to be as silly and entertaining as possible. The book also manages to be as convoluted as possible. One thing I don’t really like about this portion of the book is that I think it ends up being a little too fanservice-y, as in there’s little nods to stuff going on within the show currently that really could have been left out all together (like the poster for Billy’s crack, or the inhabitants within Ooo). The book somewhat justifies itself by not really making any sense; it includes elements from the past, present, and future, and as a whole feels like one big paradoxical journey with no clear identifiers as to what time period it is actually deriving from, which adds to the fun, really. It truly feels like the book is real on its own, and the Olsons did their damndest to make it feel like a true hero’s handbook.

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The art all looks awesome, with fantasy renditions of wizards, heroes, Abraham Lincoln, fairies, swords, and so on. This book actually had twelve different illustrators: Tony Millionaire, Renee French, Mahendra Singh, Lily Nunenmacher, Emily Olson, Leah Tiscone, Anthony Vukojevish, Ricky Blanco, Celeste Moreno, Aisleen Romano, Dan Povenmire, and Sean Terjaratchi. I always feel somewhat mixed about different artists incorporating AT’s different style into their own style, but here it really works. The drawings are very reminiscent of renaissance artwork, and it looks really cool and overall fits the tone of the book.

There’s also commentary from the main cast throughout, which is… fine. It’s perfectly serviceable, I just feel as though I was always so engulfed by what was going on within the actual book that the commentary never struck me as being nearly as interesting and the content itself. But whatevs, it’s cute and has some decent back-and-forths between Finn, Jake, and the Ice King.

Surprisingly enough, while the Enchiridion stuff is great on its own, the scrapbook portion might be even better. I’m serious guys, this shit is some powerful stuff. I picked up this book expecting the scrapbook portion to be nothing but silly, lighthearted material to weigh out the Enchiridion portion, but by GOD is it dark. It’s a nearly complete history of Marceline’s time with Simon and her transition as a vampire after the Great Mushroom War, and while I think it gives us a little more than I needed to know about Marcy’s past history, it’s not canon, so you can kind of take everything with a grain of salt if you’d like. But some of the material is so unbelievably good that I wouldn’t mind adopting any of it into my belief system. The first half of the scrapbook is written by Simon, which is by far some of the most heartwrenching material in the entire universe of Adventure Time. We view Simon’s literal deterioration as the book goes on, as his handwriting and constructive thinking goes from professional and intelligent to messy and haywire in a short amount of time. It’s some of the most effective writing for Simon’s character I’ve ever seen, and while it touches on the Alzheimer’s allegories a bit, the way they characterize the crown in this book is closer to addiction than anything. The novel goes into great detail about how much Simon doesn’t want to put on the crown anymore, but he can’t resist the power and the energy it gives him to survive amongst the disasters occurring around him.

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Not only that, but Simon’s fears of losing Marcy are touched on in great detail. The book notes that Simon fears losing Marcy because she is all he has left after Betty departed, and Simon’s paranoia is shown in clear detail. I honestly think it’s pretty terrific how much of Simon and Marceline’s thoughts we get in this book. We get to see how some of their daily adventures play out, but it’s mostly a platform to show just how Simon and Marceline are feeling each day. It’s admittedly pretty emotional, and significantly less goofy than the Enchiridion portion, but justifiably so. It’s also filled with an equal amount of lore that still leaves me questioning its contents and analyzing how it fits into the world. For instance, Simon mentions “God” twice. I remember the first time I read the words “God help me” in this book; my mind was blown! What this implies about the world of AT as a whole could imply so many things; is there actually a God? Is he related to Glob? Was the concept of God generally lost in translation following the apocalypse? It really raises so many questions and I love how it’s never really touched on outside of a few mentionings.

The second half of the book is basically how Marceline learns to cope after Simon departs and how she transitions into a vampire hunter. It’s slightly less interesting than the Simon parts, but still pretty great. It touches on Marceline’s emotional vulnerability after Simon leaves, and just how alone in the world she truly feels. Again, I feel as though I would have no problem accepting any of this as canon, despite the fact that some bits contradict the actual show. For instance, Marceline details herself meeting Schwabl in her endeavors, and that Schwabl was originally a rust color. During Marceline’s transition into vampirism, she sucks the red from Schwabl’s fur and is deeply ashamed of herself for doing so. Yet, in the Stakes miniseries, Schwabl is white the entire time. I think I’m more disappointed because the idea of Marceline sucking the color from Schwabl’s fur is a pretty neat concept, especially because it touches on Marceline’s struggle as a vampire and how it affects the people around her. But regardless, it doesn’t put a damper on the intentions at all, the and the Marceline portions are still tremendously well done.

The artwork in Marcy’s Scrapbook ranges from cute to aesthetically pleasing doodles. It’s really cool how they touched on Marceline’s drawing and art skills developing more and more throughout her teen years.

So overall, this is a terrific read. It’s so rewarding for fans who really into the show that this book doesn’t talk down or pander to the audience. Martin and Olivia Olsen clearly understand what an impact Adventure Time has had on older audiences, and it’s nice that they created something almost entirely for that demographic. If you haven’t checked it out, yet please do. It’s a must read for any diehard AT fan out there.

See you all this upcoming week for the first of the Summer of Season Six reviews!

 

“The Enchiridion!” Review

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^ Feel like it’s worth mentioning that this title card originally depicted Finn stabbing Jake with a knife and Jake’s guts scattered everywhere. Yeesh.

Original Airdate: April 19, 2010

Written & Storyboarded by: Pendleton Ward, Patrick McHale & Adam Muto

I mentioned in my review of “Slumber Party Panic” that I thought a different season one episode held the distinction of being a better “premiere” type episode for the series. “The Enchiridion” is that episode, which is no surprise, seeing how it was the first episode of AT ever produced.

The episode starts off with one big dance party. I distinctly remember this being the first clip of “Adventure Time” I had ever seen, as they had this first scene in promos. A prototype version of Cinnamon Bun who sounds more like Chet takes a tumble into Princess Bubblegum’s castle, causing her to fall. Finn saves her, and she declares him a hero. PB says she’d like to show Finn something, and it’s none other than the Enchiridion, a hero’s handbook that is only bestowed upon the most righteous of adventurers. On a side note, if y’all haven’t checked out the actual Enchiridion book written by Martin Olsen, I’d do so asap. It’s seriously amazing.

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So Finn and Jake head over to Mount Cragdor and meet a cute little guy called the Key-per, who rambles on about a riddle to open the door. Naturally, Finn just uses the big key on the top of his head to get through. In their travels, Finn and Jake save a group of Gnomes stuck in a lava pit, and to show their appreciation, the Gnomes blow up a bunch of old ladies. Only seems appropriate. Finn feels guilty for the death of these elderly women and runs off, while Jake scolds the gnomes and puts those sick little bastards back in the lava pit. As Finn wistfully stares at a lake, Jake joins him and gives advice about being truly righteous and how the old ladies were most likely just illusions. Finn feels rejuvenated, only for Jake to get gobbled up by some giant Ogre. This Ogre is awesome! He’s got animals all tied up to his arms and legs. Why? Who the hell knows? He just does! Also, he sounds exactly like modern day Cinnamon Bun. I guess Dee Bradley Baker didn’t want to do the same voice in one episode? Finn, enraged by the Ogre who ate his best friend, steals his giant dollar bill and uses it to hang-glide in the air and deliver a roundhouse kick to the Ogre’s gut, causing him to vomit up Jake. The two fly off and the Ogre cries about his stolen dollar, to which Finn returns it to him via paper airplane. Why does an Ogre who ties animals to his arms and legs need a dollar bill in the first place? I don’t know, he just does!!

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Finn and Jake finally enter a tower where a Dark Magician resides, and Finn must defeat an evil heart beast before continuing. Finn defeats it, and his final task is to slay an ant. Not an evil ant, just neutral. Finn refuses to kill the ant and kicks the Magician in the boingloins, defeating him. The Key-per then enters the room in a little devil costume, declaring that Finn has succeeded in his trials, but Finn kicks him down as well in a state of over-stimulation. The Key-per sadly states he was wearing the devil costume because he was getting ready for bed. Dude, it’s broad daylight out. Outside, Finn is greeted by Mannish Man the Minotaur and the old ladies. Hey, I guess it was an illusion after all! Finn is rewarded the Enchiridion and the first chapter he looks at is “How to Kiss a Princess.” Hasn’t helped me in real life.

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This episode is pure unadulterated fun. Pen Ward, Adam Muto and Pat McHale, arguably the driving forces of AT’s beginning, wrote and storyboarded “The Enchiridion”, and it’s clear that their vision of the show heavily influenced the tone and story this episode. It mixes Ward’s silliness and charm with McHale’s whimsy and folklore with Muto’s genuine and strong character depictions. As I mentioned above, there are a lot of small, nice details throughout. The Ogre is just riddled with scars and iconic imagery that I really wouldn’t mind an entire backstory episode devoted to this one-off character. In addition, I really like how this is Finn’s first big step into being an adventurer. I love his devotion to being as righteous as he possibly can, and that even killing a measly ant is considered unjust in the eyes of our hero. This episode is also a big step in the general tone of the show. While the past couple episodes have had more of a focus on absurdity and humor, this one definitely ups the fantasy element of the show that we hadn’t really seen yet, and it’s a totally enjoyable journey throughout. This is the ideal season one episode: charming, funny, fast-paced and imaginative. Little did we know at the time that the Enchiridion would have a bigger role in the main story that we never could’ve imagined…