The creators of "The Venture Bros.," one of the smartest and most beloved series on Cartoon Network's Adult Swim, hit the IGN Theater Stage on Friday afternoon to help kick off New York Comic Con 2012.
Doc Hammer and Jackson Publick, who also write many of the episodes and voice several of the show's characters, created a panel structure where they would invite on panelists one at a time, including cast members Paul Boocock and Mike Sinterniklaas, to show off micro-clips from the upcoming season of The Venture Bros. While there was obviously a structure to the presentation, the Venture Bros. panel felt very spontaneous and tangential, which was very reflective of the show's inherent humor.
For instance, the show began with a trailer called "Let's All Smoking," a parody of those "No Smoking" ads that would run before a movie. The trailer introduced Hammer, Publick and Sinterniklaas, but also promised the "Madame" puppet to appear with Boocock, as well as an appearance by Air Supply. Clearly, this panel would be about making audiences laugh; after all, the show's creators knew "The Venture Bros." hadn't seen episodes in two years, so this Comic Con panel would serve as a fan service for those dedicated viewers.
"After two years away, the Venture Bros. is back to make your life motherf*cking awesome," read the beginning of the Venture Bros. trailer.
Of course, the panelists kept to their word, as they all wore sunglasses throughout the whole panel and smoked e-cigarettes -- the only acceptable cigarettes to smoke indoors.
Everyone was waiting to hear the first words out of Doc Hammer's mouth. They were: "Those assholes over at Team Venture don't like to put out episodes frequently."
The conversation between Hammer, Boocock, Sinterniklaas and Publick -- who also goes by the pseudonym "Christopher McCullough" for his voiceover parts in "The Venture Bros." -- was very random and lighthearted.
"What've you been up to Mike?" Publick asked Sinterniklaas as soon as he walked onstage.
"Smoking, I've picked that up," Sinterniklaas replied, completely stonefaced.
When Paul Boocock was asked the same question when he entered the panel, he gave a similarly deadpan response.
"Oh lots of stuff," Boocock replied. "Family, therapy..."
They all drank Fresca, and talked about it profusely (for good reason, it's delicious). They also complained about the blue e-cigarettes.
"I really don't like the blue part of the 'Let's All Smoking,'" Publick said.
The banter continued. Doc Hammer pretended to not know what his own show was about, so Sinterniklaas spoke up.
"If you know nothing about the Venture Bros., let me tell you. It's about a boy named Dean," said Sinterniklaas, playing up the character he voices, the wimpy son of Dr. Thaddeus Venture.
"He's a man of action, and he always gets the girl," he joked.
At that point, Sinterniklaas introduced a clip where his character Dean would fight off a team of ninjas, "defeating them with his bare hands using his karate, and he makes off with the girl at the end." Of course, in the actual clip none of that happens -- his character is dared to walk into a spooky house, and reluctantly does so.
As soon as the clip ended, Hammer, a very fast-talking and charismatic character who wore his sunglasses during the entire panel, stuck to his "I-don't-know-what-my-own-hit-show's-about" character.
"That show looks like a lot of fun," Hammer raved. "First of all, I didn't know it was animated, the kids must love it. It must take years to do. I'm so sympathetic of anybody that makes animation, it must take so long."
After more dialogue between the panelists, including things we can't write about here (i.e. masturbating), Hammer and Publick finally, formally introduced the new season of "The Venture Bros." to their adoring fans.
"We just recently put together a 'Sizzle Reel,' which is a weird murky little music video," Hammer said. "Let's run the Season 5 Sizzle Reel!"
The lights dimmed and the audience cheered. What followed was a three-minute-long teaser trailer, which featured some of the show's most beloved characters over dramatic music. All of the major characters made the trailer, revealing likely storylines for Season 5. For instance, The Monarch, the sworn enemy of Dr. Venture and his family, is heard pumping his fists shouting, "I've finally beaten Dr. Venture!" There were bloody scenes, weird scenes (bodyguard Brock Samson having a strange bathroom moment) and plenty of action scenes with big set pieces: Everything a Venture Bros. fan could want.
Publick announced at the end that new Venture Bros. episodes were finally coming in early 2013, including a Halloween Special set to air on Oct. 28. The panelists ended with an audience Q&A, in which we all learned that Hammer's character is Shore Leave, the former OSI agent who was kicked out of the agency following a "don't ask, don't tell" debacle.
The Venture Bros. panel, overall, was just like the show: Very tangential, often random, but never not entertaining.