io9 was lucky enough to run into mellifluous Venture Bros. creator Jackson Publick (second from the right) after the Adult Swim panel. Publick talked about The Thin White Duke and answered a stupidly obscure question only I care about.
First off, Publick and Doc Hammer (far right in the above photo) presented new VB footage at the Adult Swim panel. The clips included:
- A scene of Brock, Shore Leave, Sgt. Hatred, and Orpheus playing skins-versus-shirts football with Hank and Dean.
- Hatred and Brock bickering over Skittles.
- A dream sequence in which a teenage Rusty has a dream harem of women, including Dr. Girlfriend, Dr. Quymm, and Lindsay Wagner from The Bionic Woman.
Also, Doc and Publick fired off quips like "Nobody wants to have sex with the boys. That's why the show has legs!" There was also Doc's assessment that "True Blood is fucking awful. It's an awful show but you can't stop watching it!" After the panel, I had the chance to speak with Publick on the Comic-Con pavilion.
Now that Brock is back, there's definitely tension between Sergeant Hatred and Brock. From the clip shown at the Adult Swim panel, Brock gives Hatred only one Skittle when he asks for some of Brock's candy. That's harsh.
Hatred is very eager and he's jealous of the way the boys look up to Brock. He's a reformed villain, and you'll see this tension come up in the next half of the season.
Venture Brothers is very much a collage of pulp and science fiction properties. I know the show began as parody of Johnny Quest and The Hardy Boys, but what was the genesis of these pastiches?
When I wrote the pilot, I knew the show would be the home for a lot of stuff I like to goof on. I had been writing notes for these characters for years and it was a really half-assed idea for years and I didn't really think about it. One day I had a notebook full of crap I had never used for The Tick [Publick was a writer for both the series and comic book] and I thought of these other comics stories I wanted to do. And it dawned on me, "It all fits. We can do Batman. We can do James Bond. We can do the Godfather. We can make everything fit under this umbrella."
Has Adult Swim ever said to you, "This parody is playing it a little too close. Folks will get litigious?"
Adult Swim will sometimes say "You can't do that," but it's very rarely with characters or other pop cultural allusions. Sadly, it's stuff like, "You have to take the fake UPS logo off the fake UPS guy's hat." We did have a problem with the Batman outfit – we couldn't call him Batman when Hank was wearing it. We also have to be careful with David Bowie [the leader of the Guild of Calamitous Intent].
Did Bowie ever contact you about the show?
We have a very nervous legal department. They have to check everything. They're like, "This doesn't count as parody. You used him once, that's cool, but now you're bringing him back as a character and you're just cashing in on somebody else. Once is cool, but multiple times?" The same thing kind of happened with [Johnny Quest analogue] Action Johnny.
I wish to God he would [contact us]! We tried to get him about doing the voice the first time he appeared on the show. I got as far as his manager calling me when I was on vacation and we were doing post-production. It seems like a month after we spent him a package of stuff. It was like, "Alright, I have a package and you want him to do him to do a voice? Okay, I'll get it to him." And then…nothing.
One last totally left-field question that 0.001% of our readership will care about. You and I both went to Rutgers. Did you name the doomed henchman "Scott Hall" in the Season 3 episode "The Lepidopterists" after the total eyesore lecture hall on the Rutgers campus?
[laughs] Wow! No, I actually never thought of that.
Well, did you name him after Razor Ramon?