laura knetzger

Abstract (Adventure Time)

We return to this week of new Adventure Time episodes are actually the last 5 episodes of the eighth season of the series and they definitely did not disappoint!

Just for clarification, so if people don’t know is that these episodes were made to be still part of Season 8, but Cartoon Network decided to divide the seasons into smaller chunks to possibly make even number of episodes for home media releases, such as the Season 7 DVD, for example and we are now officially on the ninth and final season of the series. The actual Season 9 will have about 16 episodes, if you count the shorts as being episodes.

The division of the seasons did not affect how the episodes were made or how the story was told, but knowing how CN mishandles a lot of their shows, it’s not surprising in the slightest that the AT crew was not aware of this happening. Regardless, it should not affect your enjoyment of the series!

Let’s start this week of AT episodes, by talking about “Abstract”.

Continuing right after the big cliffhanger from the “Elements” miniseries, where Jake has changed into a new blue alien appearance, everyone is disturbed by his look, where Jake doesn’t seem to really notice a difference and or doesn’t seem to care too much.

Jake ends up having a dream about his brother “Jermaine” painting some abstract art which gets confused as he has hated abstract art.

After Jake awakes, he goes to look for his brother and finds his art studio and his abstract paintings.

Jake wants to rescue Jermaine from changing what he’s doing, but he tells him that change is always important on what you do on the inside and that you never stop changing who you become, even if Jermaine now likes to make both landscape and abstract painting.

Jake comes to accept this and returns back to his normal self and comes back home and comments to Finn that he looks the same, yet different!

After Elements, I wasn’t sure where Jake’s alien form would’ve gone with the show, if it was going to be a permanent change until the end or just something that’d take a few episodes, but even though some may find it was a bit rushed that Jake turned back so quickly, I think it made sense to the context of Jake’s character development.

Jake has never wanted to admit that he has changed throughout the course of the series and is always in denial of everything that happens around him.

I think this episode had a really good message that you should accept and embrace change as just being natural and something that just always happens and we never really stop changing.

One quote I find pretty meaningful to this philosophy is that you can never tell when an abstract is finished, just like we, are never considered complete, so I’m glad Adventure Time is still really embracing many good life lessons!

Not only was this episode meaningful, but a lot of good comedy and expressive animation! Jake’s dream, I believe were storyboarded by Graham Falk and you can just tell by his drawings that he knows how to make humorous and comedic expressions.

I believe the message that Adventure Time has always wanted to get across and this has shown true to the series, in general, is that “Everything stays, but still changes”, which to this day, is still one of my favourite songs and quotes I find so meaningful.

I liked the cameos of James and Bryce in this episode and I always think its cool how both Jermaine and Bryce are the same voices of Greg Universe and Marty from Steven Universe!

Jesse Moynihan was credited under the story for this episode and I couldn’t help but feel this was an idea that he always had for the show and never really made sense to place anywhere until now.

I recently found out that this was Laura Knetzger’s last board on the series and I will definitely miss her work on Adventure Time, as she brought out some amazing episodes, like Do No Harm and Winter Light from Elements.

All in all, this was a very solid Jake episode and a meaningful episode that gets much deeper every time I think about it!

Looking forward to seeing where Jake’s character arc goes in the final season.


A comiXologist recommends:
Sea Urchin

by: Eric Arroyo

Knetzger has honed her ability to express feelings and ideas beneath the skin. Her cartooning communicates depression and internal challenges in ways that highlight the empathic power of comics. While the earnest and pained laughs throughout the book gently guide the reader into sympathy, the work doesn’t act like a private diary to list one’s problems in. It pulls you into another person’s fears and insecurities, making them tangible. Knetzger’s abstract imagery is not used as a disruptive veil between author and reader; instead, it carries a specificity and intention that captures the immaterial sensations that a camera could never show you.

Laura’s drawings carry a raw honesty, with each line appearing precise and full of intention. I’m taken aback by how expressive and unpredictable her drawings are, iterating upon and transforming the iconic imagery that forms her style, while still being focused and clear above all else. From above, Knetzger’s pages can look loose and improvised, but her strength in communicating emotion comes from a marriage of directed, formal expertise with honest drawing.

Sea Urchin is a portal into another person’s pain, shared with a passionate sense of whimsy and a reminder that even if we never recover, we can still keep growing. Knetzger’s cartooning can help you understand and feel the burdens that other people carry into their everyday lives, and you may find some solace in seeing your own sea urchin reflected back at you.

Sea Urchin reminds me that I’m not alone, and I’d climb a mountain for that.

[Read Sea Urchin on comiXology]

Eric Alexander Arroyo is a Brooklyn-based cartoonist and a Digital Editor at comiXology. He’s probably drawing giant robots and listening to ABBA.

“Elements” Parts III & IV (Adventure Time)

Winter Light

So Ice King decides to make a plan to rescue Betty from the Ice Kingdom with Finn and Jake in this episode.

The visuals of the Ice Kingdom were really pretty to look at and the music sung by the Ice Foxes was really unsettling and soothing.

I liked that we saw the return of Carroll, the cloud that gave Finn advice of not using revenge against Martin in Season 6’s The Tower, but instead had turned into an ice cloud and became much more angry and isolated, while letting Patience know about Finn, Jake and Ice King’s entrance into the dome.

Although I was expecting Patience St. Pim to have a larger role in this miniseries, I felt her (lack of a better word) coldness and depressed behavior made sense, as this is the wish she wanted, but instead of having the other elements be her friend, she ended up making them disappear into their elemental forms of the 4 sections of Ooo.

Patience realized there was nothing she could do, so she kept locked away in her ice dome with now only having the Choose Goose be her friend.

I do wonder if Patience will get another role near the end of the series.

The team rescues Betty and mentions that the only possible way to fix this spell is to use the Enchiridion, which Finn managed to snag another copy of the last time he was in Farmworld in Season 7’s Crossover.

I think this happened off-screen, if I’m correct.

My absolute favourite joke of this episode was when Ice King gives Finn and Jake sweaters he knitted and Jake swaps his for Finn to wear, while Ice King FREAKS OUT over seeing how Finn is wearing a Finn sweater, only to say that “Oh, I get it. The top one’s fake.” Simon is still not exactly in the best mental state yet, unfortunately.

I appreciate that Finn is also starting to remember his sword training from Rattleballs and I hope he gets even stronger, by the end of the series!

All in all, a solid episode with great visuals and setting up the plan to fix Ooo.


Although Ice King and Betty are thinking of ways to fix Patience’s spell, Finn gets way too tense in order for them to fix Ooo, while Jake decides to calm him down and tuck him in a cloud, while they float away stranded in the sky and talking about their problems, playing pretend barber and having a chance to breathe since coming back to Ooo, which this is literally a “breather episode.”

While some might call this the filler of the miniseries, this is honestly one of my favourites of the batch.

Supposedly, Patrick McHale, the creator of Over the Garden Wall, pitched an episode way back when he was working on the show’s first season of Finn and Jake being stuck on a cloud, talking about themselves and their lives, etc.

I’m glad the idea made it into this miniseries, as it’s the very definition of what makes Adventure Time special, charming and meaningful!

We learn that even though Jake is just trying to support Finn, he doesn’t show his insecurities and concerns about what’s happening.

The episode had a lot of great humour and expressions to go with it, especially being boarded by Kent Osborne and Graham Falk, as this was their first episode together.

It’s great to see how far Finn and Jake have come in terms of their relationship and character development, especially with Finn not fighting the cloud lard and talking to it.

One of my hopes in the series finale is that Finn and Jake end up opening a barber shop, but anything could go, at this point.

The episode ends with Betty revealing that they need to use the jewels from the elementals crowns to fix Ooo, as the next episodes will focus on the team retrieving them, similar to how Marceline had to defeat each vampire to retrieve her powers in Stakes.

Looking forward to where that goes, as this episode was quite the lovely breather we needed.

Episodes Review: ‘Elements’ (S09E2–09)
  • Airdate: April 24–27, 2017
  • Story by: Ashly Burch, Adam Muto, Kent Osborne, Jack Pendarvis
  • Storyboarded by: Sam Alden, Polly Guo, Seo Kim, Somvilay Xayaphone, Laura Knetzger, Steve Wolfhard, Graham Falk, Kent Osborne, Hanna K. Nyström, Aleks Sennwald
  • Directed by: Elizabeth Ito, Cole Sanchez (supervising), Sandra Lee (art)

As with Islands, instead of doing a recap of the entire miniseries, I’m going to jump right into what I have to say about the 8 episodes that aired this week.

Whereas Islands went for a more serious and philosophical stance, Elements went the opposite route, emphasizing humor throughout. There are a lot of great character moments, funny bits of dialogue, and goofy fare that you’d only find in an Adventure Time episode. The miniseries’ second episode, “Bespoken For” is perhaps the best example of this fun blend, allowing the Ice King to tell his side of a pretty wacky story. In fact, the Ice King is on grand display in this miniseries, and the show really lets his amiable goofball side shine.

Another strong part about Elements is the sheer number of characters that we revisit. Marceline. Lemongrab. Fern. Flame Princess. Cinnamon Bun. Elder Plops. Party Pat. They’re all in this miniseries, as are many more. And what is more, they all have decently sized parts. In the commentary for “It Came from the Nightosphere”, Adam Muto noted that the episode included many characters who had appeared throughout season one to really emphasize the scope of Hunson Abadeer’s doings. At the same time, that episode also made the audience see how truly huge Ooo actually is. Due to the sheer amount of characters in this miniseries, Elements does something similar, allowing us to tour the sprawling lands that a boy and his dog (and by extension, ourselves) have roamed through for almost eight seasons now.

On the production side of things, everything is pretty grand. The background artists conjured up some truly beautiful element-infested set pieces, and the character designers went all out, ensuring that those who befell the slime elemental are noticeably goopy, and those who were tainted by candy are sacchrine to the point of horrifying. In fact, the candyfized denizens of Ooo are some of my favorite designs that the show has ever produced. In regards to the storyboarders, everyone turns in consistently solid work. There are no duds, but at the same time there are no real standouts, with the exception of Graham Falk and Kent Osbornes work on “Cloudy” (discussed later). I’d argue this is a good thing, since a miniseries should be a consistent whole. In fact, Islands struggled a bit because it was sprinkled with some really, really good episodes, which were surrounded by episodes that either were not quite there, or detoured from the main plot.

So, as you can see, there was a lot to love about this miniseries. At the same time, there were a few elements of the miniseries that felt kind of deus ex machina-y. Finn magically have the Farmworld Enchiridion came out of nowhere, and while this plot development is not something that makes or breaks the reality of the series, it would have at least been nice for the show to have established that Finn snatched the book after the climax of “Crossover”. In a similar way, having LSP be the ‘anti-elemental’ was not unreasonable, but it was set up in the quickest, most out-of-left-field way. The show should’ve made why LSP was unaffected a central mystery to be solved.

The miniseries also struggled at times with how it characterized the main players, with perhaps the worst offender being Betty. The episodes featuring her that led up to this have suggested that she’s a bit off her rocker, but near the end of Elements, she was downright mean to Finn and outright hateful to Ice King. Her behavior left a rather sour taste in my mouth, and so when she was zapped to Mars, presumably to pay for her magical meddling, I really wasn’t that saddened. After all, she very nearly did destroy Ooo due to some selfish desire. I only wish that the show would have placed her in a more empathetic positions—after all, losing a loved one is really hard, but it doesn’t justify treating others like total jerks.

Patience St. Pim also suffered in terms of characterization. In season 7′s “Elemental”, she was defeated and understandably angry. Then, earlier this season, she seemed to be setting up some diabolical master plan. Both episodes suggest she is crazy-powerful and about to unleash something really bad upon Ooo. In Elements, however, we learn that her plan was simply to super-charge the other elemental gals with magic, but that this ultimately backfired. Wah wah. Patience makes an appearance in “Winter Light”, largely to mope about how her plan backfired, and then she pretty much disappears from the miniseries’ plot. Frankly, this is disappointing. To put it more bluntly, she’s a wasted villain, emasculated for seemingly no good reason. Why did not the show use her as the main problem to be overcome?

But ultimately, my biggest complaint, if you can really call it that, is that the Elements miniseries was not much different from Adventure Time’s usual fare. In fact, this miniseries was almost like they took a normal, 11-minute episode and stretched it until it was 8 times its original size. Stakes used that extra time to delve into Marceline’s backstory and explore the psyches of her adversaries, and Islands made us of this extra time to explore Finn’s backstory in detail. Elements, on the other hand, drags out a “collect the gems” plot for the last half of its run. This means that the excitement promised by the first few episodes is largely evaporated when Finn et al. set out to find yet another gem. In other words, I’m not quite sure why the crew felt it necessary to tell this story in a miniseries format.

What all of this means is that Elements isn’t bad—honestly, far from it—but that it rather isn’t that amazing, either. I’d consider it, in terms of tone and plot, to sit among other ‘standard’ Adventure Time episodes that succeed at telling a fun story, but are nonetheless not on the same level as “Simon & Marcy”, “Min & Marty”, or “Evergreen”.

But let’s talk about “Cloudy”.

I know that my above rantings might sound like I hated this miniseries, and I didn’t. In fact, I absolutely adored the fourth episode, “Cloudy”. Based on a scrapped first season plot, this episode places Finn and Jake on a cloud for 11 minutes and just lets them be. They give each other imaginary haircuts, talk about their feelings, and try to hold their bladder. It’s cute and relaxing, and it really affirms why I love these two characters. Ultimately, the episode doesn’t have much to do with the Elements miniseries, although it does serve as a sort of interlude, allowing the episodes to shift from the creepy-drama of the preceding three episodes, into the more find-the-jewels mode of the final three. It’s a respite and a pivot, and in that regard it works wonders.

It’s also a delightful episode on its own, even viewed outside of the miniseries. Were I to have never seen Elements, I’m pretty sure I could’ve still enjoyed “Cloudy”.

Mushroom War Evidence: Nothing.

Final Grade:

Elements was Adventure Time’s final foray into the art of the miniseries, and I think it was a decent note to end on. It could’ve been better (as my review makes clear), but it was ultimately a fun trip. In terms of how I’d rank this among the other miniseries, it goes:

Stakes > Islands > Elements

Ultimately, I liked all of the miniseries in their own ways, but I only felt that Stakes really knocked it out of the park consistently. But then again, I love Marceline more than most of the other characters, so what do I know?

Czap Books Fall/Winter 2015 Schedule

Bug Boys: Volume 1
Laura Knetzger

Bug Boys: Volume 1 follows the adventures of two young beetles, Rhino-B and Stag-B, in their home of Bug Village and beyond. Along the way, they meet new bug friends, face their fears, and see their friendship grow stronger while they grow as individuals. Bug Boys is a truly all-ages comic - appealing to kids and adults alike. Knetzger perfectly captures the emotions of growing up with the right touch of candor, affection and light-heartedness. Including a brand new twelfth issue, this collection will contain every issue of Bug Boys to date - some in print for the first time.

“Bug Boys gives me what I missed from the best all-ages books: warmth and friendship up against danger and high stakes, and a vibrant imagination at play. Burrow in.” – Annie Mok, Rookie Mag

“Bug Boys is a true delight.” – Kris Mukai, Commuter

"I love the Bug Boys comic because it vibrates with the pulse of life. It is a joy to marvel at the vital living soul that these drawings possess. Bug Boys forever!” – James Kochalka, American Elf and Johnny Boo

"Knetzger is a great cartoonist. I enjoy how she spaces words on the page. It’s breezy and bold, like a combination of comics and picture books. Bug Boys reminds me of how much fun it is to go camping and climb trees. Let’s all go do that after we read this book.” – Dash Shaw, Bodyworld and New School

About the Author
Laura Knetzger is the author of numerous mini-comics, including Sea Urchin. She has been self-publishing Bug Boys for four years. Her illustration work has been featured by the Society of Illustrators, Buzzfeed, and ComicsAlliance. She graduated from School of VIsual Arts in 2012.

Bug Boys: Volume 1 - Laura Knetzger
Publication Date: September 19, 2015
Details: 5.5” x 8.5” softcover, 360 pages, B/W
ISBN: 978-0-9906874-2-9
Price: $12.99 USD
All Ages


** “Abstract” will be airing earlier as it premieres on the CN app on July 14th. **

ABSTRACT - July 17th *on television*
Storyboarded - Graham Falk & Laura Knetzger
KETCHUP - July 18th
Storyboarded - Seo Kim & Somvilay Xayaphone
Guest animators: Lindsay & Alex Small-Butera
Storyboarded - Aleks Sennwald & Hanna K Nyström
WHISPERS - July 20th
Storyboarded - Polly Guo & Sam Alden
Storyboarded - Tom Herpich & Steve Wolfhard

We thank this information to ATNEWS

SPX 2014 Roundup!

Some books and zines and thangs I got this last weekend:

Maleficium by Sabin Cauldron (self-published), Isometric Tuna #2 by Shawn Eisenach (self-published), Megahex by Simon Hanselmann (Fantagraphics), King-Cat Classix by John Porcellino (Drawn & Quarterly), New Comics 4 by Patrick Kyle (self-published/Mothers Books), Emotional Distance 4: Man is Wolf by Zach Mason (self-published), Flowering Vine by Laura Knetzger (self-published), Woke up Lik This & Itchy Trigger by Mr. Freibert (self-published), COOL DOG stickers & patch by Mickey Z, Sex Fantasy by Sophia Foster-Dimino (self-published), Study Group Magazine #3D edited by Zack Soto, WEIRD #5 edited by Mr. Freibert, Comics Workbook #s 2-5 edited by Zach Mason & Andrew White, Don’t Eat it & Man-Bits by Jack Reese (self-published)


Shout outs:

Shout out to G.W. Duncanson for giving me a ride to and from Baltimore & Bethesda, shout outs to Noel Freibert, Conor Steschulte, & Harris Smith for sharing their table spaces with me, shout outs to Zach Mason & his wife/partner Laura for letting me crash on their floor and scritch their cat and eat their food, shout out to Drew Miller for helping me carry my heavy ass box of books into and out of the venue and generally helping me keep my own sanity, shout out to sitting next to Ben Katchor and Charles Burns during the Ignatz Awards and overhearing all of their grumpy retorts throughout the entire ceremony, shout out to Cathy G. Johnson’s thank you speech (*shout out to solidarity), shout out to Sam Alden’s thank you speech, shout out to Paul Karasik for just existing, shout out to missing Simon Hanselmann’s wedding ceremony because I really had to pee, shout out to $9 Coronas, shout out to Pho, and last but not least, shout out to everyone and anyone I met and spoke with for the first time, to anyone making or supporting kewl comix, and to anyone who bought (and or enjoyed) my books!!! Bethesda sucks!!!


Title cards designed by Michael DeForge, Laura Knetzger, Charmaine Verhagen, Sam Alden, James Baxter, and Aleks Sennwald

painted by Joy Ang

Adventure Time: Season 8 arrives this week!

5 NIGHTS of new episodes premiering at 7:45/6:45c (except for Two Swords which airs at 7:30/6:30c) on Cartoon Network.


TWO SWORDS - January 23rd

written/storyboarded by Tom Herpich & Steve Wolfhard


DO NO HARM - January 23rd

written/storyboarded by Laura Knetzger & Emily Partridge


WHEELS - January 24th

written/storyboarded by Graham Falk & Charmaine Verhagen



written/storyboarded by Pendleton Ward & Sam Alden


HORSE AND BALL - January 26th

written/storyboarded by Seo Kim & Somvilay Xayaphone



written/storyboarded by Hanna K Nyström & Aleks Sennwald


Bug Boys – Enter the charming world of two beetle buddies as they explore life together

Bug Boys
by Laura Knetzger
Czap Books
2015, 360 pages, 5.5 x 8.5 x 1.25 inches (paperback)
$13 Buy a copy on Amazon

Laura Knetzger’s Bug Boys collection is one of the sweetest, most charming and thoughtful comics I have read in ages. This 360-page paperback collects all of her self-published Bug Boys comics. Most of the book is in simple but confidently rendered line drawings with one story in color and another making effective use of some spot color.

Bug Boys chronicles the adventures of two coming-of-age beetles, Stag-B and Rhino-B. The two live in a mushroom in Bug Village, a mushroom patch populated by bugs of various species. The stories deal with domestic conflicts, the nature of friendship, war, facing fears of the unknown, and the process of becoming an adult, among other substantive issues. All of this is dealt with in an incredibly charming, kid-friendly way. The book manages to make points about these issues while never feeling preachy. And the whole indie pub production possesses a lovely aura of enchantment and wonder.

Within such unpretentious art and child-like storytelling, Knetzger does an impressive job of creating a world that feels fully realized. In the course of the book, we learn about the origins of Bug Village, their beliefs and rituals, their relationship with the Giants (humans) and other species, and really fun details about a bug’s life (e.g. the bugs use dogs as public transpo, hopping on and off, and they sneak peeks at human books and then re-write them from a bug POV).

Bug Boys is a book that you could confidently share with a child (I bet lots of kids would adore these characters and adventures). But there is also an emotional depth and intelligence at work here that adults can appreciate. This book is marked as Volume 1. I look forward to Volume 2 and hope we’ll be hearing a lot more about Laura Knetzger in the future. – Gareth Branwyn

November 20, 2015

maré odomo kindly lent me all the issues of laura knetzger’s terrific Bug Boys comic!

its about two adorable bug friends having funkyy little adventures. the cartooning is crisp and cute as hell, and oh man i love their fussy temperments. it’s almost Nancy-esque, the way these two react to stuff with tears and tantrums. but its always back to chill by the end

i especially like when issue 2 flipped the script and showed the bug boys in hideous reality vision. Then in issue 7 the bug boys had a fight that almost made me cry, it was pretty fucked up. Oh and number 4 (the beach issue!) had a cool one-page tangent with a dog that i loved. heck i loved it all tho A+ maximum bugitude