Most people who view Pen Ward’s Adventure Time either passionately love it – or don’t get it at all. I’m in the camp that loves it, and I’m delighted Cartoon Network has gotten behind it. It’s practically the only animated series on the horizon I’m excited about (admittedly, I’m not that aware of most series currently in production). In fact, I think Invader Zim was the last show I felt had the potential to shake up the TV cartoon landscape as this does.
Adventure Time could be considered a perfectly skewed update/reimagining of Tom Terrific crossed with references to several early anime features… though Pen told me he hadn’t ever seen Tom Terrific nor any vintage anime for inspiration. Wherever he gets it from, Pen has the freshest vision in TV animation today — and it’ll be fascinatining to see how his cartoons fare with the general public.
His other short for the Random Cartoon series hasn’t gotten as much attention, but I think it’s equally good. The Bravest Warriors (co-directed with Randy Myers) proves (to me) that creator Ward isn’t a one-shot wonder. Warriors plays like his take on the Johnny Cypher-Captain Scarlet-Space Angel school of space cadet adventures (with a heart-felt dose of teen angst), but I bet he hasn’t seen those old cartoons either.