From Strip To Script – Adventure Time: 'The Manbabe's Lament'

By Josh Hechinger

Welcome to From Strip to Script, where I take a page of finished comic art and try to derive a script from it, to see what I can learn from the exercise.

The new Mad Max is getting rave reviews, or at least word of mouth, so I thought I might take a look at my favorite post-apocalyptic comic.

Unfortunately, Buronson and Hara Tetsuo's Fist of the North Star isn't available legally at the moment. Tragic.

So, I thought I'd look at my other favorite post-apocalyptic comic, Adventure Time. Specifically, this page from the zine issue, which evokes Fist of the North Star insofar as…they…both have sand in them? And…and dudes flexing impressively? And, like, Lumpy Space Princess kind of looks like how dudes look in Fist of the North Star right before they explode?

Okay, so that's all a stretch, but at least the comic (by Ryan North (writer) and Carey Pietsch (art)) is good.


Upper gutter: title, etc.

– TITLE                                         The Manbabe's Lament:

*A Lumpin' Romance Comic*

Y'all are gonna love this * by Lumpy Space Princess

P1. BRAD, in shades, is walking along the beach when he notices LSP, lounging around: chair, umbrella, tiny drink, cute swimsuit, the works.

– NARRATION                               One day a babe named Miss Laura Spencer Petersworth was on Hottie Beach! Invite only, suckers!!

– NARRATION                               Ahhh! Look at her swimsuit, it's too perfect!!!

P2. BRAD raises his sunglasses, gasping.

– BRAD                                          Uhhh, whoah!

P3. BRAD comes up to LSP'S chair, smiling. She regards him warily.

– BRAD                                          Girl, you fill out that swimsuit like a bowl of lumpy chowder!

– LSP                                             I bet you say that to all the babes!!

P4. BRAD leans in eagerly, even as LSP arches an eyebrow and holds up a hand to slow BRAD'S roll.

– BRAD                                          No dude, honest. I want to date you like whoah!

– LSP                                             Hold off, mister – I don't even know your name!

P5. BRAD gives a cocky girn and flexes for the camera, showing off his tiny, lumpy biceps.

– BRAD                                          It's Coolmuscles

P6. BRAD continues to flex s a blushing, goggle-eyed LSP pokes his biceps.

– BRAD                                          My parents named me that when they saw how I was born with neat muscles

– SFX                                             POKE

P7. Wide. BRAD and LSP, holding hands in front of the ocean.

– LSP                                             Okay

– LSP                                             We can date now

P8. Still wide, but closer in as we go from day to night, and LSP is slapping BRAD right across the face.

– NARRATION                               But then- DRAMA!!

– SFX                                             WHAP

– BRAD                                          Ow!

So, What'd We Learn?

– The density of the page, eight panels plus some gutter business, really gives it a kind of rapid-fire-patter feel. And too, most of the panels have a complete thought to them (meaning the characters aren't interrupting each other, or really splitting an action or line across two panels) also gives it a speedy back-and-forth quality.

– This is another comic that plays fast and loose and ungrammatically with punctuation, occasionally dropping periods and commas to create a breathlessly spoken-word effect, but also throwing in extra exclamation points here and there to emphasize a certain higher pitch.

– Lumps and Brad are both basically just shapes with dots and lines for faces? There's some fun facial cartooning that can clearly be done off such a simple template, but it also puts an extra burden on the dialogue to sell the characters' voices without the benefit of a whole lot of nuance to the faces those voices are coming out of.

– Those last two panels come across the most like a piece of animation, to me. If there was a camera, it'd be slowwwly pulling back in P7, before smashing into the zoom and scenery change in P8. It's a great example of pulling a technique from a different medium into a comic, without feeling like a collection of screenshots or a particularly stiff storyboard.

Philly-based comic writer Josh Hechinger [] is a Cancer, and his blood type is A+. You can find him being a loquacious dope on Twitter, and read his comic collaborations on Comixology.

About Hannah Means Shannon

Editor-in-Chief at Bleeding Cool. Independent comics scholar and former English Professor. Writing books on magic in the works of Alan Moore and the early works of Neil Gaiman.

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