It started as an obscure block of mature-themed programming on a kids network, but Adult Swim has been one of the more popular television panels at Comic-Con International in San Diego. Despite being in one of the larger meeting rooms at the San Diego Convention Center on Friday, the panel, featuring the talent behind genre favorites “Metalocalypse,” “The Venture Bros.” and “Robot Chicken,” once again was brimming to capacity and had to turn fans away.
Venture Bros. creators Jackson Publick and Doc Hammer treated fans to clips from the upcoming season’s hour-long season finale. As would be expected, the audience was delivered a strong dose of strangeness as they viewed a game touch football with new tenants at the Venture compound – reformed pedophile Major Hatred and the gaytastic Shoreleave. Highlights include the use of tackling during touch football, and the morality of the decision to share one’s Skittles.
The clips conclude with an apparent dream sequence in which Master Billy Quizboy visits an idealized fantasy world of Dr. Venture, shown as his idealized state – as his 12 year old “Rusty” character with a menagerie of female characters from the show available for amorous activities. Billy comments that he should come there more often but Rusty proclaims the harem is for him, not Billy. Even old school genre icon Lindsey Wagner (“The Bionic Woman”). The clip show ended with the infamous blood spatter transitioning into the familiar “Venture Bros.” title card.
Representing “Robot Chicken” were series creator/producers Seth Green and Matt Senreich and co-head writer Tom Root. Seth Green started by discussing new toys from the show, including the Mad Scientist from the shows opening credits – but it was Green’s announcement of the Humping Robot character’s action figure that threw the crowd into uproarious laughter. Green went on to describe the figure’s “humping motion” feature, explaining that you can, for example, connect the robot’s hands to your coffee mug and by pressing a button, will activate the humping motion upon your “cup of joe.”
Another promotional release for the show is Gummy Bear, a five pound replica of the show character, made from a candy presumably similar to the Gummi Bear chews. When asked by a fan shouting out from the audience if Gummy Bear has a “humping action” feature, Green replied it didn’t, but it probably had the ability to “impede the eater of the Gummy Bear from humping.”
“We’re whores,” Senreich interjected in regards to the new promotional releases. Green agreed, but noted they do it for “cool stuff, stuff that you want! Ever since 50 Cent made $100 million off Vitamin Water, I feel different about selling out.”
The creators also revealed some bits on the upcoming season. New guest voices include Kevin Bacon and newlyweds Megan Fox and Brian Austin Green. Seth’s take: “Yeah, Megan Fox is hot, and Brian Green has amazing abs. I felt his abs.”
They also announced a new Star Wars parody, “Star Wars, Episode 3” and said that the season would debut on January 5th, 2011. To whet the fans’ appetites, this was followed by clip montage that included a spoof implying Toby Maguire and Jake Gyllenhaal were indistinguishable from each other, and a graphic sexual allusion between a hotdog and mustard. A highlight was a parody of the street talking robots of “Transformers 2,” but this time done as Arabs. When the topic of a “Robot Chicken” crossover with “The Venture Bros.,” Doc Hammer cut in “we talked about that, but all my ideas were shot down. All your ideas were that they all hump!”
Referring to the possibility it would be greenlit for production, Brendan Small (creator of “Metalocalypse”) said “Write it up, we’ll take a look at it.” Matt Senreich then asked Doc Hammer what he thought the percentage of likelihood was for the crossover.
Hammer: “It’s good.”
The audience laughed, but it seemed the conversation was more facetious than otherwise.
Brendan Small discussed what to expect from the new season of “Metalocalypse.” “In the '70s, a lot of bands like Kiss had members who would do solo albums while still members of the band.” Some upcoming episodes thusly will explore the characters individually. And with that, they opened up the floor to questions from the audience.
The first question was from a woman who noted that “Since your show has a recurring theme of abuse, will Hank and Dean ever have consensual sex?”
Hammer replied by asking her if she would volunteer.
“In a minute!” she hastily replied.
“Oh, he’d be calling you non-stop, driving by your house constantly on his BMX bike (stalking you).”
Then came a con staple: a very young fan asking a vague, overly general question (yet endearing to the less jaded) to Seth Green: “What’s it like making ‘Robot Chicken?’” “It’s like running a marathon in flip flops,” Green said.
Regarding the rivalry between “Robot Chicken” and “Family Guy,” Green commented that he had talked to the other Seth – Seth McFarlane, creator of “Family Guy,” when both shows were preparing their respective "Star Wars" parodies and that McFarlane told him he thought they both were doing a similar joke on both shows. Seth said “Well… I don’t care if you don’t care,” “I don’t care” McFarlane sheepishly agreed and both jokes were included in each show.
“The Venture Bros.” creators chimed in “we won’t do a 'Star Wars' episode, 'Robot Chicken' has that covered.” But demonstrating their affinity for the property, both Hammer and Publick did their voice impressions of Obi Wan Kenobi. Hammer’s version was a drunk Obi Wan, and Publick’s a more traditional reading of “These aren’t the droids your looking for.” And in a non-sequitur, Hammer revealed with pride that “Saturday Night Live” actor Bill Hader would be guest starring in the upcoming season.
The panel ended with Brendan Small of “Metalocalypse,” who was asked to do some of his voices. Small hesitated at first, but reeled off a succession of at least a dozen voices. When the final fan asked his question – another for “Metalocalypse,” Small said “All the questions go to 'Robot Chicken,' but I get the final one!” When asked if a character making a brief appearance in flashback scene would appear again or be explained further, Small replied “I can’t answer that. We’ve always said, the only way we’d tell the origin of the band… if there was ever a Metalocalypse movie, that would be the origin of Dethklock.” But sadly for the questioner, currently there are no plans for a movie based on the show.