Fionna and Cake have only appeared in just two episodes across “Adventure Time’s” five seasons, but the duo’s popularity is undeniable. The gender-swapped versions of lead characters Finn and Jake have inspired multitudes of cosplayers and a seemingly endless stream of fan art. The duo’s next appearance won’t be on television, however. They’re making their next stop at comics shops everywhere this January when BOOM! Studios launches the six-issue “Adventure Time: Fionna and Cake” miniseries via its all-ages kaboom! imprint. The series is written and illustrated by Natasha Allegri, who also works as a storyboard revisionist for the hit Cartoon Network animated series, and also designed the girl adventurer and her dress-designing sidekick cat. Comic Book Resources spoke to Allegri about her plans for the series and the origins of Fionna the human and Cake the cat.
“It began as an Internet thing. I used to go on this online forum and people would tell me what they would want drawn — and someone had said something about gender-bending,” Allegri told CBR News, referring to the phenomenon of interpreting well-known characters as the opposite sex. “And then I thought the characters were so fun and cute that I kept drawing them. I sent it to Frederator [the show’s production company] — and I think from there, it was on the ‘Adventure Time’ blog — and from there it became its own thing.”
Allegri couldn’t believe when she heard that the characters would be featured in the Season 3 episode, “Fionna and Cake.” Although she designed the gender-flipped characters, Allegri gives to credit for their popularity to the multi-talented Rebecca Sugar, who co-wrote the duo’s debut episode.
Allegri has been blown away by the reception the characters continue to receive. When the artist makes her yearly visit to Comic-Con International she is always on the the lookout for Fionna cosplayers. “They’re all amazing and it’s so cool,” she said. “I try to take as many as photos as I can and I send them to my dad.”
When she heard plans were in motion to bring the characters to comics, Allegri was immediately interested in being involved. “[‘Adventure Time’ creator Pendleton Ward] told me they were going to do something with Fionna and Cake, and right away, I was like, ‘Please let me do it,'” said Allegri.
The artist, who has been hooked on comics since she first read “Garfield” in elementary school, also cites “Sailor Moon,” Rumiko Takahashi’s “Rumic Theater” and “Mermaid Saga” as big influences. “Comics are my first love. I wanted to do comics initially when I was in school and then I strayed into animation somehow,” Allegri explained, adding that she appreciates the change of pace involved in breaking down stories into sequential form instead of being forced to “show everything” like in animation.
On the comic book adventures ahead for Fionna and Cake, Allegri said the six-issue storyline introduces Flame Prince, the gender-bent version of Flame Princess. “[Fionna’s] trying to help him rescue his family from the Ice Queen,” said Allegri. “I guess major themes are going to be the importance of having a home or somewhere you belong with your family.”
While she only has six issues with which to work, Allegri promises to explore the gender-bent “Adventure Time” universe and tell some smaller stories. “I want to do a whole issue just about Lumpy Space Prince being really ridiculous. Lumpy Space Prince has never really had a personality before,” she said. “You’re going to see more about Gumball, and his hobbies — and some new information about Cake and why she’s so good at sewing and making dresses.”
One obvious perk of the series is the ability to spend more time in the gender-bent Land of Ooo. “I get to do as much girl stuff as I want, which is fun,” Allegri told CBR. “I get to put sparkles all over the pages and make it look really nice. I want it to be kind of like Sailor Moon-esque,” she said, adding that the series is also influenced by some classic fairy tales.
While she’s handling both the writing and art duties, Allegri praised everyone involved in the book’s creation from letterer Britt Wilson to each of the artists providing variant covers. “I think all together it’s going to be something really unique.”
“Adventure Time: Fionna and Cake” #1 is on sale in January.