See more photos in Shannon Cottrell's gallery, "The Venture Bros. @ San Diego Comic-Con 2011."
Adult Swim's cult hit The Venture Bros. was back at San Diego Comic-Con this year. Friday's panel featured show masterminds Jackson Publick and Doc Hammer along with James Urbaniak, the voice of Dr. Rusty Venture, dressed like it was 1991 and ready to premiere a new music video from band-within-the-show Shallow Gravy. That night, a party Quality Social in San Diego's Gaslamp Quarter featured a set from Flying Lotus and a Venture Bros. costume contest. The following day, Publick and Hammer worked Adult Swim's ice cream truck.
This was our third year covering The Venture Bros. at SDCC and, during that time, we've seen this show that's filled with superscience, supervillains and pop culture references become more popular. We've also learned a few things. With Hammer and Urbaniak slated to appear at Dragon*Con in Atlanta on Labor Day Weekend, we thought we might share a few of these convention do's and don'ts for fans of the series.
Do: Make sure you are completely caught up on the series before you go to a panel.
This is the most important piece of convention advice we can share with fans of any series. There are no spoiler alerts at panels. People will talk about what happened to Brock and Molotov at the end of Season 4 because it's a major point of discussion. Prepare yourself.
Don't: Ask questions about Kim.
Kim appeared in one episode back in Season 2, "Victor. Echo. November." She was friends with Triana Orpheus, headed out on a double-date with the Hank and Dean Venture and toyed with the idea of becoming supervillain. Despite her relatively minor part in the show, people continually ask about Kim at panels. Our assumption is that the Kim questions are at least partially responsible for the big reveal of the character's fate at the end of Season 4. Still people ask about Kim. We do, however, think that more people should cosplay Kim. She has a cool outfit.
Do: Cosplay an obscure character.
A lot of people cosplay the Ventures, the Monarch, Dr. Girlfriend and Dr. Orpheus and his daughter, Triana. Occasionally, we'll see Brock and Mol, but, let's be honest, those are really difficult characters to cosplay. Try dressing up as an obscure character instead. This year, in San Diego, one person dressed as Plug Face, a character who has turned up in a couple episodes. Plug Face got a shout-out at Friday's panel and was the talk amongst impressed fans at the party later that night. Anybody willing to try Mommy Longlegs next?
Don't: Try to score spoilers during Comic-Con panels.
"All questions about what will happen in the show will be answered in the show" is a phrase that Doc Hammer repeated in various ways throughout Friday's panel. They won't tell you what will happen with S.P.H.I.N.X. or the Monarch and Doctor Girlfriend. Don't ask.
Do: Make friends with other Venture Bros. fans.
After three Comic-Cons covering The Venture Bros., we've managed to meet and befriend a handful of people within the fan community. The best thing about the fans we met is that we have things in common other than the show. We tend to listen to the same bands, read the same comics and share a similar sense of humor.
Don't: Get annoyed with the lines.
I have a thing for retro-looking lunchboxes. It's part of being a product of the '90s. That said, there was only one thing at Comic-Con that I had to get this year, the limited edition Jonas Venture and young Rusty Venture action figures in a Rusty Venture lunchbox. I stood in line for about an hour at the Entertainment Earth booth. Granted, that's probably not nearly as long as the line for some other SDCC exclusives, but it was long enough where it could have been aggravating experience. The payoff, lunchbox #882 out of 1500, was great though. This is a show where the exclusives, panels and parties are, much like the start of a new season, is well worth the wait, so don't stress over the lines.
Do: Brush up on your music references.
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The Venture Bros. is a show filled with pop culture references, and a lot of those are based on music. There are the obvious references, like the many nods to David Bowie or Dr. Venture's recitation of the lyrics to "Jessie's Girl" at the wedding of The Monarch and Dr. Girlfriend. Then there are the lesser-known ones, the occasional reference to people like Nik Fiend or Lydia Lunch. At Friday's panel, Doc Hammer pointed out that the Shallow Gravy video they had just premiered featured a Joy Division reference (specifically, it's the video for "Atmosphere") and that Pete White's hair was inspired in part by the style Human League founder Phil Oakey wore in the '80s.
Don't: Get upset as the show gets more and more popular.
There was a time when we thought we were nearly alone in our fascination with The Venture Bros. Then we went to our first Comic-Con panel and were, admittedly, a bit shocked by how many people were there. Over the past three years, we've seen the popularity grow and now it's one of the series that we hear discussed most frequently at conventions. It's only a matter of time before even our non-nightowl friends will be trying to play catch-up on the show. Let's just embrace the fact that The Venture Bros. isn't our secret anymore.
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