Ever since a friend first introduced me to the Cartoon Network show Adventure Timea few months ago I've been hooked, taking many pains in my cable-less life to catch the new episodes every week. Lately, however, I've been a bit disheartened by the show. When scouring the animated cast for a character to honor in our Pop Pedestal series I realized, somewhat tardily, that all the female characters I found awesome were princesses and queens that merely provided the catalyzing events for the adventures in each episode. Lumpy Space Princess, Princess Bubblegum, and Marceline the Vampire Queen (among others) provide protagonists Finn the human and Jake the dog with adventures to carry out on their behalf, whether it be saving a damsel in distress or acquiring some sort of valuable prize to bring back, but are hardly ever invited along. That's why I was over the top excited to discover Natazilla, the Tumblr of Natasha Allegri, a character designer for the show and all around awesome artist.
The site features some great illustrations Allegri works on in her spare time as well as hilarious comics about life with her beloved cat Pancake. Her newest reimaginings of the Garfield comics especially got me chuckling. What really captured my heart, however, were the gender-swapping illustrations and comics of Adventure Time's Jake and Finn redesigned as Cake and Fionna, the female cat and human adventuring team we've been waiting for all this time! (I've been waiting, at least.) She takes Finn's outfit and tailors it to Fionna's curvy female body type while changing Finn's trademark hat to have longer ears and show a bit of the blond hair that Finn keeps so well hidden. Jake, on the other hand, undergoes both a sex and species change as he is turned into Cake the cat. The transformations don't just stop there. Marceline the Vampire Queen is turned into Marshall Lee, Princess Bubblegum becomes Prince Gumball, and the Ice King becomes (you guessed it) the Ice Queen. On her decision to redesign the characters, Allegri writes:
The genderbend stuff I did at first wasn't for work, so I got to do whatever the fuck I wanted to do, and I didn't feel like drawing every single Adventure Time character, I just wanted to draw the ones I wanted, and how I wanted. And I wanted to draw a cute, chubby girl in a bunny hat, and a super sexy ice queen, because why not? I wasn't getting paid to do it, so I did whatever I felt like doing at the time.
I was happy enough to see this Tumblr answering my prayers for a feminist vision of one of my favorite cartoons, but when I saw on the Adventure Time Art blog that there is an upcoming Fionna and Cake episode planned my animated series-loving heart nearly exploded (which is a good thing, I think). And it turns out I'm not the only one who is excited. Allegri's gender-swapping Adventure Time illustrations have inspired a legion of followers at Deviant Art to make Fionna and Cake versions of their own. Obviously, I can't wait until Adventure Time with Fionna and Cake comes on the air. Girls and cats can go on fantastical adventures, too! But until that as yet unnanounced air date arrives I'll have to pacify myself with Natasha Allegri's wonderful blog. Enjoy.