You Can Thank Flapjack For Cartoons Like Adventure Time, Gravity Falls & More

The history of television is fascinating because you can trace lines between almost any modern show and one of the classics, as crews move from one show to another, bringing their past work and their influences with them. This applies to both live-action and animation. In the latter, many animators who start as writers or storyboard artists in one show end up creating their own series years later, bringing colleagues along with them, who then go on to create their own shows in return. Take "Dexter's Laboratory" launching the career of not just Genndy Tartakovsky, but also Craig McCracken, Rob Renzetti, Butch Hartman, and Seth MacFarlane, each going on to make a popular show (for his part, MacFarlane created a seemingly unstoppable phenomenon in the form of "Family Guy").

What "Dexter's Laboratory" did in the '90s, "The Marvelous Misadventures of Flapjack" did in the late 2000s. This is a show that helped launch several animation careers, with plenty of writers and storyboard artists going on to do big shows of their own. There's Pendleton Ward, who went on to create "Adventure Time"; J.G. Quintel, who later created "The Regular Show"; Alex Hirsch, who created "Gravity Falls"; and Patrick McHale, who created "Over the Garden Wall."

This impact was even acknowledged in an episode of "Adventure Time: Fionna and Cake," where Flapjack is revealed to be a universe within the larger "Adventure Time" universe, a sort of predecessor to the cartoon.

The legacy of Flapjack

A big part of the lasting legacy of "Flapjack" simply came down to its talented crew of writers and artists. Talking to Buzzfeed, creator Thurop Van Orman said the storyboard crew was the show's own target audience. "It was, like, a bunch of buddies making stuff that made each other laugh," he said. Even if the show was in conflict with the network over a "no weird" rule Van Orman immediately broke, the writers cared most of all about making a fun cartoon.

"I learned that from Thurop, how to create a fun factory," said Ward, later the creator of "Adventure Time" on Cartoon Network. "You're having conversations more, and not dictating things."

"Adventure Time" later took over the "Flapjack" mantle, becoming arguably the most influential cartoon of the 2010s and itself launching several careers. It also helped that the cartoon shared a lot of the same crew as "Flapjack," carrying on its legacy, its aesthetic, and sense of humor. Its veterans include storyboard artist Pete Browngardt, who went on to create "Uncle Grandpa"; Skyler Page, a storyboard artist who later created "Clarence"; supervising director Elizabeth Ito, who later made "City of Ghosts"; Julia Pott, a storyline writer and later creator of "Summer Camp Island"; and also Rebecca Sugar, a storyboard artist who went on to create the hugely acclaimed "Steven Universe." The ripple effects are massive, and animation lovers have "Flapjack" to thank for some of their favorite modern shows.