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Why Did the Creator of Adventure Time Walk Away?

(Image: Pendleton Ward)

Cartoonist Pendleton Ward came to California to make his dreams come true. It hard going. For a while, it looked like he might become homeless.

Then came Adventure Time. Ward's cartoon is wildly successful, with 14 million weekly viewers, along with video games, comic books, and hundreds of items of merchandise. Adventure Time made Ward the head of a vast entertainment empire. Now he's walking away.

Pendleton Ward is now just a writer and storyboard artist on the show that he invented. Why? Neil Strauss of Rolling Stone investigated. Ward explained to Strauss that running a show is simply contrary to his personality:

It's not that Ward is ungrateful. It's that helming a hit series generating top-10 games in app stores, comics that have collectively sold hundreds of thousands of copies, and nearly a thousand individual items of merchandise is just not part of his DNA. He would far prefer to be at home with the lights off and the curtains closed, playing a video game and eating pizza. […]

Recently, Ward signed up for improv classes because he thought they would be a fun distraction. But, it turns out, all they did was make him even more uncomfortable. "I didn't think that I had a bunch of walls until I started taking that class and then I was like, 'Whoa, this is forcing me to get out of my comfort zone,'" he says. "I realized I love my comfort zone. I spent a long time building my comfort zone. It's precious to me, and I love it and I want it.

-via Jeremy Barker

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