Warning: some strong language has overtaken this article with extreme prejudice. Proceed cautiously.
There’s no getting around the fact that fans of “The Venture Bros.” are a brutal, relentless and often rabid pack of animals. But they’re not all bad – without question, the hit Adult Swim series has an incredibly dedicated following as evidenced by the entirely filled-out panel at New York Comic Con. The fans were out in full force to talk about Brock and the brothers with creators/writers Jackson Publick (Hank Venture) and Doc Hammer (Dr. Girlfriend). Also joining them was surprise guest Michael Sinterniklaas (Dean Venture).
There was no new footage from the still developing fourth season, but they debuted a handful of deleted scenes featured on the season three DVD, scheduled for release on March 24. Rather than boasting the finished art style of a fully-crafted episode, the scrapped segments were essentially animated storyboards. The combination of cheesy black-and-white visuals and the familiar sadistic tone of the series made these deleted scenes even better than if they’d been fully animated. The best segment was from the episode “Home is Where the Hate Is,” in which one character describes his diorama of the battle of Waterloo pitting Julius Caesar against Lion-O from “Thundercats.”
Footage aside, the secret muse of the show was none other than music icon David Bowie. No, the rockstar never appeared at the panel, but his presence was felt as strongly as a Brock Samson kick to the teeth. The topic of Bowie came up numerous times throughout the hour, whether initiated by the fans or the creators themselves. Series writer Doc Hammer channeled the Bowie voodoo as the veritable host of the panel, going head-to-head in a battle of the wits with the audience.
Early in the questioning, one gentleman offered an olive branch to the “Venture Bros.” masterminds in the form of specially made Guild of Calamitous Intent messenger bags. Publick and Hammer accepted their bags graciously, but Sinterniklaas was empty-handed due to being a last minute guest. The plastic bag carrying the messenger bags was given to him instead, which he accepted with mild scorn.
When asked if they’d made any actual attempt to cast David Bowie as himself on the show, Publick revealed that they’d seriously contacted Bowie’s representatives, but have had little progress. Hammer added that he’d do anything to secure Bowie’s talents, including running “through glass and dog shit.”
A fan began to ask about the fate of Henchman 24 in last season’s finale, which Hammer instantly confirmed: “dead.”
“We had an argument about it,” Publick added over the audience groans, “And that was the end of it.”
“Brock quit!” Hammer shouted against the booing. “I don’t know why you guys don’t care about that!”
The topic quickly changed to H.E.L.P.eR.’s similarly lethal ending, which Hammer also confirmed as the character’s death. The fans were not happy to hear about this either, but Hammer bit back: “Don’t pretend like you guys like H.E.L.P.eR.”
Another Bowie question from another fan, this time asking the guys their favorite song of his. “I like his Christmas carol,” joked Sinterniklaas.
Hammer said that “Venture Bros.” occasionally loses humor “because we care so much about the character stuff. When you first start you go, ‘I’ve got this great joke, I’m gonna wedge it in there,’ and then you spend so much time with these two idiots that the joke disappears, and you have this big scene about nothing.”
Some of the night’s most passionate debate occurred when a fan asked if Brock Samson could beat God in a fight. “God kicks his ass,” Hammer said. “Brock versus anybody human? Brock wins. But magic powers, stuff like that, Brock loses.”
Then, Hammer reconsidered his position. “You know what? God’s all love. He doesn’t beat up Brock. So Brock sneaks up behind him and kicks his ass.”
The Brock versus God debate was followed by – you guessed it – another Bowie reference, this time from a fan trying to initiate the famous back-and-forth lyrics of “Magic Dance” from “Labyrinth.” The panelists did not take the bait.
A female fan was concerned about the ambiguity of Dr. Girlfriend’s character, but Hammer insisted that if the show loses that “lack of resolution, we lose Dr. Girlfriend. She is that weird, almost voice of reason in Crazy Town. Like, really, who would want to date the Monarch? If you lose her thrust, you lose our link to the Monarch.
“Or we can kill her,” he added as an alternative to fixing Girlfriend’s identity crisis. The inquiring fan was particularly devastated, not wanting to be the cause of yet another favorite character’s demise.
“No, no, it’s an excellent idea that you’re posing,” Hammer sarcastically reassured her.
When asked about a possible return of Henry Killinger, Hammer said there’s always an opening. Later on, Hammer detailed the genesis of the Killinger character while Publick repeated the entire story in the Killinger voice. Hammer recalled being initially unimpressed with the character but instantly bought the character’s selling point: “He has a murder bag.”
A young woman asked Sinterniklaas if he’d like to get a drink after the panel. Hammer took a census of the crowd, with the majority of the audience rooting for Sinterniklaas to accept the offer. The fan teased that Sinterniklaas could make it to second base, which prompted a confused reaction from Hammer.
“I don’t even know what second base is, anymore,” he said. “It’s very possibly just shaking hands.”
Another fan got booed off the microphone after repeatedly saying “Venture Rubbers” instead of “Venture Brothers,” even though he was genuinely trying to pronounce the title correctly. (Note: Please refer to the initial comment about rabid “Venture Bros.” fans.)
Regarding guest actors for the upcoming fourth season, the panelists confirmed that Kevin Conroy (“Batman: The Animated Series”) would contribute his vocal talents, as would Patton Oswalt (“Ratatouille”) and Seth Green (“Robot Chicken”).
Hammer commented that the next questioner moved like famous dance choreographer Bob Fosse. Since the majority of the audience didn’t get the reference, Hammer performed a hilarious, if not spot-on, impression of the Broadway icon to thunderous applause.
When asked if Hammer would ever “fuck Dr. Girlfriend,” Hammer quickly replied with “Oh yeah, twice.” When he realized that the word “fuck” meant “have sex with,” he revised his statement: “Oh, sex? Certainly not.”
The last question was posed by a fan dressed as Waldo, who first warned everyone in the room to avoid such a costume if they wanted any semblance of privacy at a public convention. He then asked the panelists what Dean and Hank Venture would get their doctorates in if they’d made it all the way through school.
Surprisingly avoiding an easy Bowie reference, Hammer replied: “Either fun, or Batman.”