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‘The Venture Bros.’ Creators Beautifully Eulogize David Bowie


The loss of rock icon David Bowie is felt not only by those fortunate enough to know him, but also by untold masses who have been affected by his art for nearly 50 years.

In a strange coincidence, SPINOFF was scheduled to speak today with two Bowie fans whose appreciation runs so deep they folded him into the rich mythos of their genre-bending animated series, “The Venture Bros.” There, Bowie’s songs inspired the creation of Major Tom, as well as the doomed pilot’s final words. But most notably, Bowie himself became a character on the show as the favored form of the shape-shifting supervillain The Sovereign.

We’ll bring you the full interview with Jackson Publick and Doc Hammer closer to the premiere of Season 6, but today we wanted to present their eloquent thoughts on Bowie.

SPINOFF: Today the world learned that David Bowie has passed. Would you two care to share your reactions to that?

Jackson Publick: Sadness. Doc is more eloquent about it than I am. I’m just sad and I feel stupid saying anything about David Bowie, because nothing I’ll ever do can touch him.

Doc Hammer: I guess the one thing that I’ve been pacifying myself with is that there is a living version of Bowie that we can’t touch. You know what I mean?



Doc Hammer: He’s more than a human being; he’s this thing that we’ve all had since childhood. None of us got to call him up and have lunch with him and stuff. And that hasn’t changed. That will never change. The music and what he did to style and our hearts is untouchable. There’s so much of David Bowie that lives in us that never goes away. I think his influence that is immortality. He lives in anybody who has a fucking idea about culture. At least we have that, and we always have that. He gave that to all of us.

So, no he won’t be adding to that anymore. But I am forever filled with so much Bowie that — I’m honestly stymied. I’ve been stymied since I found out. I just don’t know what to do with the information. And I’ve been fully aware of it that we’re not always going to live in a world with Bowie. It was kind of obvious that he wasn’t doing well for a long time, but it’s stymieing. Losing Leonard Nimoy and David Bowie were huge events in my life. It really is that kind of loss of the father that I chose. You know? These people raised me. I would be a different person without them being in the world. So, it’s hard. It’s hard. But I can pacify myself knowing that what he’s done is there. He will be affecting lives of people who have never heard his name, will eventually learn his name and have their lives changed by David Bowie. Still.

Thank you. I appreciate you sharing that because it’s been a weird day for a large portion of the world, just taking in that information. I agree with you. It doesn’t feel real yet.

Doc Hammer: I don’t know if it will ever feel real because his influence is so much larger than we could understand. Like, I’m saying, some 14-year-old next year is going to find out about David Bowie, and his world is going to change just like ours did. And we never got to sit with David Bowie and have him as a man affect our lives. We just had his deeds and the promise of Bowie.

Jackson Publick: He’s also so much bigger than life that he’s bigger than death, you know?

Yeah. I completely agree. I said today, “How do we grieve for the immortal?” He feels grander than that.

Jackson Publick: Yeah.

Doc Hammer: Yeah. He’ll be affecting us for a very long time to come. He’s part of the pantheon, you know? Ultimately, I feel bad for his kids and Iman, and the people who knew him, and had the luck to have them touch their personal lives. I didn’t have that luck. I just had–what he did affected me deeply. And that’s still out there. That’s still affecting me and it always will.

“The Venture Bros.” Season 6 premieres Sunday, Jan. 31, at midnight ET/PT on Adult Swim.


  • Liam

    Does this mean that the Sovereign is dead or just in a new form?

  • JasonMBryant

    The Sovereign was revealed awhile ago to not actually be David Bowie. He was a shape shifter who knew Bowie and took his form.

    Also, the most recent appearance of him in the show was as a bird being shot out of the sky. Death isn’t always certain on Venture Brothers, but the character looked pretty dead.

  • Joseph D. Schmied

    Ugh, that means all my autograph albums mean nothing.

  • musolf815

    I don’t know how canon it is but in the Season 5 recap they just put up 21 says the bird was Sovereign.

    Also hope Jackson and Doc are doing alright, Bowie’s passing has been really rough on some of my friends and I know how important he was to Hammer and Publick.

  • Liam

    I know that the Sovereign isn’t really David Bowie and that he may or may not be dead. I figured they could use Bowie’s death as a way of saying that the Sovereign is dead and won’t have to come up with a new look for him.

  • Ashleigh McSidhe

    Doc, Jackson – thank you. You say pretty much what I’m feeling as well.

  • Avery

    Klaus Nomi has been dead for 30 years and that didn’t stop him from making an appearance. Also, the Guild has long-dead rockers the Big Bopper and Buddy Holly as Dragoon and Red Mantle, respectively.

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  • Charlie Owens

    So am I the only person that liked “Tin Machine”?

  • Lizzietish81

    Thanks Doc

  • Harry Underwood

    Did Bowie ever learn of the Venture Bros. animating him so well?

  • Charlie Owens

    I vaguely remember reading a story where the VB guys asked Bowie to voice the Sovereign and he basically said “Yeah, no.”

  • Trevor Skies

    Sadly, within the same year of him passing on the voicework he accepted another role instead….for a voice on Spongebob…in episode “Atlantis SquarePantis” :-(

  • Jono Major

    Maybe it was because it was an actual depiction of him. I’ve heard of other cases where artists are uncomfortable with it. Devin Townsend didn’t want Pickles to be in his likeness on Metalocalypse because he didn’t want to be depicted as someone who kills people. Who knows why, though?

  • Jono Major

    I was seriously waiting for some sort of sendoff in light of recent events. It was pretty unceremonious, though. But funny. Of course, I’m sure they had that part finished well before Bowie’s death.