Adventure Time is one of those rare golden needles that appears amid the haystack of derivative committee-approved TV content perhaps once every generation. What seemed at first like just another animated show for young kids, involving a boy and his talking dog having all sorts of adventures in a fairytale land, quickly revealed itself into a rich and sophisticated story that captivated a more mature audience; a narrative in which the author (Pendleton Ward) not only poured in his personal demons and psychological crises, but also his deep interest in esotericism and ritual magic –something he further explored in his most recent collaboration with comedian Duuncan Trussell in their Netflix series The Midnight Gospel.
But what happens when the magic jumps off from your TV screen into the real world?
In the AT universe there is an evil realm of perennial darkness aptly named the Nightosphere, ruled by the demon Hunson Abadeer. The way to enter this diabolical kingdom is following these three, simple steps:
First draw a happy face (also known as the ‘Phil’ face) on a surface.
Douse the face with some bug milk.
Chant, “Maloso vobiscum et cum spiritum!”
And voilá: instaportal to the Nightosphere.
Which is exactly what Arturo, Tomás’s son tried to do, because I guess nothing solves the COVID lockdown drag better than a quick escapade to a (more) hellish dimension…
Here is a photo of Arturo’s drawing of the ‘Phil face’, which he proceeded to douse with water and milk before reciting the Latin spell, which roughly translates to “Evil be with you and with your spirit.” Once the incantation was done, our would-be Nightosphere pilgrim dried his cartoon sigil and hung it in his bedroom.
His father initially giggled at his son’s gullible temerity; but the laughs quickly dried out when, just a few days later, Tomás Hijo received an email sent by none other than Martin Olson, the voice actor who interpreted Hunson Abadeer on Adventure Time(!) –here’s an interesting unrelated trivia: the actor who interprets Marceline, the teenage vampire who is Hunson’s daughter and one of the main characters in AT, is Martin’s own daughter Olivia.
Turns out Martin, aside from his work as a professional voice actor, is also a writer and was looking to see if Tomás would be willing to create some illustrations for an upcoming book project. The theme of the book: Hell.
Arturo was delighted that his AT had ‘worked’ and Martin found the anecdote amusing. Not so for Tomás, who has given a dire warning to his sorcering son: No. More. Spells.
I guess it’s a good thing you can’t just get bug milk at just any Spanish supermarket, and the portal was ‘watered down’ with regular cow juice.
With the current popularization of ‘synchronicities’, the term coined by Carl Jung to denote ‘meaningful coincidences’, there is an ever increasing tendency to seek a deeper importance in what most likely are just trivial occurrences that happen to us all during our daily lives. But this Adventure Time anecdote does seem to go beyond your average meaningless chance encounter, due to both the timing and the direct intention injected onto it. To Tomás Hijo, the experience further cemented onto him the conviction that (a) Magic *is* real, and (b) that Adventure Time is one of the greatest creations in human history.
As for myself, it also goes to show that Art is one of the most potent –and underestimated—magical disciplines in the world; and if we are to ever turn this Nightosphere we are currently trapped in, into something more pleasant and joyful place to dwell –like Princess Bubblegum’s Candy Kingdom or Gumbaldia—then we’d better start using this Magic more adequately, instead of just letting greed and multinational companies drown us with their corporate sigils, the way Grant Morrison warned us all those years in the 2000 Disinfocon.