Who do you call in the Land of Ooo if you’re having problems? Usually, it’s “Adventure Time” stars Finn and Jake, but if you’re Princess Bubblegum — well, you still probably call Finn and Jake. Why? Because your royal security force, known as The Banana Guard, isn’t exactly the most efficient — or even vaguely competent — military organization around.
But Root Beer Guy wants to change all that. A fan of detective novels, Root Beer Guy earned the rank of Captain in the Guard after investigating a case that seemed to involve Finn and Jake kidnapping Princess Bubblegum. Since solving that mystery, he’s been trying to turn this rag tag group into the elite protectors the Candy Kingdom deserves.
Luckily for RBG, he’s got a pretty heavy hitter in his corner, “Adventure Time” head writer Kent Osborne, who’s teaming up with co-writer Dylan Haggerty and artist Mad Rupert (“Regular Show: Skips”) for a six-issue BOOM! Studios miniseries titled “Adventure Time: Banana Guard Academy.” CBR News spoke with Osborne about the history of Root Beer Guy, the influence of “Police Academy” and making the transition from working on an animated series to a comic book.
CBR News: You’re the first person from the “Adventure Time” staff to transfer over to the comic book side of things at BOOM! What made you decide to make that jump?
Kent Osborne: Actually, I’m the second! Behind [“Adventure Time with Fionna and Cake” writer/artist and “Bee and Puppycat” creator] Natasha [Allegri].
I’m the Buzz Aldrin of the staff. People smile, but nobody’s impressed. The thing that made me decide to make the jump was probably the big bag with the dollar sign on the side. [Laughs] Later, I was disappointed to discover the bag filled only with expired coupons. But it’s a pretty nice bag.
Is there something about “Banana Guard Academy” that makes it work better as a comic rather than an episode of “Adventure Time?”
Hmm, that’s a good question. When BOOM! first told me that the story could be about anything, I immediately thought, “I wanna know what Banana Guard training is like!” And then I realized that this could also serve as an excellent opportunity to revisit all the wonderful “Police Academy” movies of my youth. So then I told [“Adventure Time” creator] Pen Ward about it and he was like, “Jeez, raise the bar a little…” And I was like, “Huh?”
I think what Pen was trying to say is, this will make an amazing comic.Â
Root Beer Guy can be seen in the opening credits of the show, apearing here and there before becoming captain of the Banana Guard. Can you talk about the behind-the-scenes evolution of the character?Â
Pen had always wanted to spend an episode following around a background character, and we kind of explored that a little, here and there — “Thank You,” “BMO Noir,” etc. But then Adam Muto wrote a really awesome premise featuring a Candy Kingdom everyman, a regular Joe, and his life is turned upside down when he witnesses a mysterious crime. Adam says he picked Root Beer Guy simply because he liked the design.
Anyway, by then Jack Pendarvis had joined the staff as a writer and he was the final piece of the puzzle! He made Root Beer Guy an aspiring writer and gave him a voice. Literally! And from there Graham Faulk did an amazing storyboard. Wait, I guess Graham is the final piece of the puzzle. Anyway, the rest is Banana Guard history!
What other familiar faces can fans expect to see in “Banana Guard Academy” as Root Beer Guy goes about bringing in some new recruits?
Aw, isn’t that a spoiler? Don’t you wanna be surprised? Although — well, now I feel like I’m building it up too much. People are gonna open the comic and go, “Oh, there’s that guy, what a shocker, thanks for not ruining this moment.”
That being said: Gumdrop Lass. #spoiled
Is there a specific threat Root Beer Guy sees in the offing or is he just trying to beef up his team?
He’s just trying to beef up his team. #spoiled
Did you have any difficulties adjusting to the different format, pacing or structure of comics coming from the world of animation?
Yes! It’s very hard. I’m so used to storyboarding for animation, I have to keep reminding myself that the comic panels won’t eventually be moving. I asked my buddy Dylan Haggerty to help with the series, because he’s got some comic experience, and he and I have a great time working together. We’ll beat out the story with broad strokes, and then I’ll do really rough thumbnails to make sure it’s all flowing. Then, he’ll take those thumbnails and write out the script and then the script gets sent to Mad Rupert.
What’s it been like, working on the book with Mad Rupert?
It’s been great! I look forward to meeting her one day! [Laughs] We haven’t met yet. I believe she’s still working on the first issue. Do you know her? Can you put us in touch? We follow each other on Twitter. She tweeted a panel last week, and I favorited it. [Laughs]
But seriously, so far the collaboration has been just her taking the scripts and running with ’em. Dylan likes to put little notes in there, challenging her to have fun with certain panels. We’re looking forward to seeing that stuff the most.
“Adventure Time: Banana Guard Academy” #1 by Kent Osborne, Dylan Haggerty, Mad Rupert and BOOM! Studios debuts on July 9.