INTERVIEW: Gail Simone Guides 'Blockbuster Update' of Red Sonja, Vampirella and Dejah Thoris
“We are drunk!” Doc Hammer announced as he sat down with his Venture Bros. co-creator Jackson Publick for a press event at New York Comic Con to promote the upcoming fifth season of the Adult Swim series. Sporting aviator sunglasses, they were both dressed in suits with untied bow ties draped around their necks.
“We got into a small fight,” Publick added.
“By a small fight, he means we fought 10 men,” Hammer corrected.
At first they pretended to be unfamiliar with what a press conference was, asking reporters to let them know how to proceed.
Publick and Hammer were asked how they’ve handled continuity in The Venture Bros., considering that most outlandish shows are canceled before they have to worry about making plots fit together.
“If we got canceled then somebody would have ripped us off,” Hammer replied. “So there would be a much better [Venture Bros.] show on TV. You really should have prayed that we got canceled, because somebody would have taken the idea and did something much better with it with a bigger budget.”
Publick added that while they do care about continuity, it’s not a major concern.
What are some of the episodes in the fifth season like? “Oh, my Hod, they’re all terrible,” Hammer said. “They’re all crazy-stupid. The craziest premise of the next season is –”
“The one that we made up on the spot at the last press conference,” Publick interrupted.
The pair then came up with an episode right there, dubbing it a “crazy Liam Neeson action picture.” In it, Neeson plays an ex-special forces agent who fights to protect his 14-year-old child bride.
“Also, vampires ride wolves,” Publick added.
The plot follows Neeson’s character as his plane crashes and he’s forced to use his dead special-forces friends to create a fighting suit made out of their bones.
“They are being picked off by Draculas who ride wolves,” Hammer said. “He takes the corpses that they’ve been eating and makes a suit made out of bones.”
“He makes weapons out of the commemorative shot glasses that he’s been buying at every airport for his child bride,” Publick said.
There’s a sex scene of “Liam Neeson just driving into his child bride. … It would be the best scene ever.”
The tagline for the movie would be “Bone up!”
They then went over the spinoff episode, which would involve the adventures of his child bride as she copes with having been raped by Liam Neeson. The tagline for the spinoff would be, “I was sold to Liam Neeson, and then he drove into me for half an hour.”
Neeson, however, has only signed off to be in the flashback scenes for the spinoff, which reveals he learned to make bone suits in the military, where he was admonished for his strange practice.
Moving on, Hammer said that dubbed versions of The Venture Bros. are “fucking awesome.”
“I saw a Venture Bros. that was dubbed in Spanish and they shanked Dr. Girlfriend, which I thought, easy voice to do. But they got a guy who sounds just like Dr. Venture but speaks Spanish,” Hammer said. “It’s like a voice you can’t do, it’s James Urbaniak’s speaking voice. So, I was amazed by it.”
Who would they pit against the Elephant Man, in a scenario similar to their famous battle between Anne Frank and Hellen Keller? “A beautiful woman,” Hammer said. “He would just be crippled by it.”
He revealed his dream job would be to work for Pixar, where they “just massage your shoulders and give you money.”
Guest stars are not finalized for this season, as they haven’t finished writing it. Anyone who would make their show look cool would be considered, though.
“[Publick] has to proofread scripts after I write them because I’m massively dyslexic and probably retarded,” Hammer said, addressing his writing process. “They’re a mess.”
Publick said he was into comic books when he was younger and began writing then. “[Writing] never seemed like not a thing to do.”
Hammer then went off course a bit and admitted, “I’ve never seen a vagina.”
Publick whispered in his hear, though, and Hammer announced, “Oh, never mind! I’ve seen a vagina, I was way off base. I’ve seen many of those.”
Many view Publick and Hammer’s show as a surrealist updating of Johnny Quest and wonder how reverent the creators are about the original.
“That’s what bummed me out about Johnny Quest,” Publick said.
Ot was like a genre that never caught on. But for us, it overlapped all the other genres. … I miss that kind of enthusiasm. ‘Go science!'”
He then lamented how hard is to remain topical on the show. He gave the film Iron Man as an example. If they wanted to write an Iron Man joke into the show, it’d take two years until it finally aired and by then, Iron Man 2 would be out and people would think they were making fun of that movie instead.
“We were playing around with a Thor thing and then they made a Thor movie,” Hammer added. “If we do Aquaman, nobody’s ever gonna make a fucking Aquaman movie.”
“Entourage did a whole season of Aquaman,” Publick corrected.
“How do you know about Entourage?” Hammer demanded, causing reporters to burst into laughter.
“I watched this season,” Publick replied.
“You watch Entourage?'” Hammer shouted back.
Publick said he can’t help himself and always thinks, “These people are horrible! What’s gonna happen?”
“Do you watch Sex and the City, too?” Hammer asked.
“I did see the movie,” Publick said, causing Hammer to lose it once again. “You don’t have HBO and I do. When you have HBO you just see stuff!”
Hammer then admitted to having his own weakness: America’s Next Top Model.
He revealed that while there are no plans to reboot The Venture Bros., he had thought about it. “You would do what every reboot basically is, which is make it slightly darker, take out all the musical numbers and Doc would be oiled and muscular,” Hammer said. “He’d be super fucking handsome.
“Dr. Venture has to fight a mechanized Dr. Venture. ‘Cause that’s how they do these fucking things, they have to fight a version of themselves, basically. … That’s how we would do the reboot, and it wouldn’t be funny at all.”
Moving on, Publick said that being renewed for seasons 5 and 6 so far in advance “gives us a sense that we can make longer arcs.”
Hammer said he and Publick have built a special relationship over the course of the previous four seasons. “If I say, ‘Can you, on your way to the base, bring me a pack of cigarettes or something?’ he just brings it and I don’t pay him. And then, when I bring something, he doesn’t pay me. That’s a great relationship.”
Someone asked if the Rusty Venture cartoon, a show within the show inspired by the childhood adventures of Dr. Venture, would ever get its own episode.
“I would love to do an entire episode of that. It’ll probably never happen, but absolutely,” Hammer said. “Any of these hypotheticals like ‘Would you do it?’ or spinoffs, then [the answer is] yeah. We love writing these characters. You can’t come up with a dumb enough idea.”
If they were free of legal restrictions or censorship, Hammer said the show would use more songs and pop-culture material they wouldn’t have to pay to license. “I would make a lot more fist-fucking jokes, just tons of fist-fucking jokes,” he said. “A constant barrage of the ugliness of getting fisted.”
Publick said a lot of their restrictions on what they can do have been lifted because of Family Guy. They reason that if a network show that airs at 8 p.m. can make a joke, there’s no reason a show on a cable network at 11 p.m. can’t make jokes about similar material.
Jackson said that while he thought they would be able to make it to a fifth season, he never imagined it would take them a decade to get there. He did admit he thought they might end the show after seasons 3 and 4, though, citing a lack of ideas. However, he think’s they’re now writing some of their best material.
“All great things appear as crap when they originally air,” Hammer added. “People watch it and go ‘Oh, they ruined the show’ and then you go back and watch it and go ‘Wow, that was the best season ever.'”
“Right now, people think Season 4 sucks,” Publick said. “These people used to think Season 3 sucked and now think Season 4 is the best.”
They said they’ve discussed turning the show into a comic book, but there are no plans at the moment. “Wait until we get canceled and then clog the market with crap, that’s when you do that,” Hammer said.
If not a comic book, would they be interested in expanding the show into a movie?
“If somebody wants to make a movie and they come running at us with money shooting out of their ears and an actual plan then we’ll discuss it,” Hammer said. “For us to just jump into a movie is probably not a good idea right now, but we wouldn’t say no. Movies are great, but nobody wants to make a crappy movie.”
In Season 4, Dr. Girlfriend and Henchman 21 kissed. Are there plans to follow up on it in Season 5?
“It has resonance, yes, absolutely,” Hammer said.
“If we can figure out a way to [explore it] without fisting,” Publick added. “I don’t know, that’s hard once you take the fisting out.”
“It’s not romantic anymore,” Hammer finished.
He continued, “Everything that happened on the show really happened, and we’re going to move forward as if these events occurred. Except until JR wakes up.”
Hammer’s dream gig would be to write a Doctor Strange movie, and said he was offended when he wasn’t contacted by Marvel to help write the screenplay making the rounds.
“I’ve got notebooks and notebooks of stuff on Doctor Strange,” he said. “I’ve been making that pitch since I was 8 years old. I can walk into a room and go ‘Are you ready for the greatest Doctor Strange movie ever made?’ and they’ll go ‘We’ve never even made a Doctor Strange movie.”
“You could have watched it seven times and every single time it would of been a different movie,” Hammer added. “It [would have been] the Mad Libs of film.”