In the lead-up to the excitement of the January 31 premiere of the new season of The Venture Bros, there came the sad news of icon David Bowie’s death, putting a damper on things for show creators Jackson Publick, Doc Hammer and fans alike. For those of you who don’t know, David Bowie had a huge influence on the writing of the show, not only appearing as a major character, but also inspiring show plots and new characters based on The Thin White Duke’s music and iconic personage. The show boasted “The Action Man” and “Major Tom,” robotic attack creatures named “The Diamond Dogs,” and in one episode they verbatim used the lyrics from “Space Oddity” when Jonas Venture Sr.’s experimental rocket ship crashed:
I love how they end the scene with someone saying, “Ashes to Ashes,” cramming in as much Bowie as possible.
In a touching interview with Spinoff Online, Doc Hammer shared this reaction:
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?
This is not the first time a beloved cultural icon has continued to live on past death in the animated show, providing some level of comfort, love, and a bittersweet brilliance to the viewers. Publick and Jackson introduced us to the incredibly uncannily spot-on Venture Bros. universe version of Hunter S. Thompson in the form of the character “Hunter Gathers.” Hunter Gathers first appeared in the July 2006 episode “Assassinanny 911.” The HST analogue character aired after Thompson’s February 2005 death.
These witty homages that seamlessly pervade the Venture universe make the show something special, something to be celebrated, and I for one am, in a melancholy way, looking forward to seeing both David Bowie (aka “The Sovereign) and Hunter S. Thompson (aka “Colonel Hunter Gathers”) appear on my TV screen starting January 31st and running through to the end of season 6 this spring.
We may not have them in life anymore, but they live on in many ways: their writing, their music, and the impact they had on so many millions of people. And one more way to see them still live on in one manner is by watching one of the smartest, funniest, satirical television shows made in the last decade.
You can read the entire interview of Publick’s and Hammer’s reaction and discussion on Bowie’s passing at the provided link: