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Venture Brothers design question

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Venture Brothers design question

First of all, I want to say that I love The Venture Brothers in a way I didn't think I was still capable of. While I like Harvey Birdman a hell of a lot for just being consistently funny, I think TVB has more depth in terms of the characters and the world they inhabit, and actually works really well as an action show. But enough fan-boy gushy stuff.

What I'm really curious about is the origins of its character and background designs. Though I know the premise is a take-off of Johnny Quest and there's a similar quality about some of the backgrounds, I'm pleased to say it doesn't have Quest's painfully rotoscoped look. In fact, it has a really nice level of caricature that lets the characters express a sometimes complex mix of emotions and it has an over-all pleasing line style. -It's weird to be saying this about a modern TV show.

I've read a lot on line about the show's retro style, and it certainly looks that way. But who, exactly, are they taking off on? In a lot of ways, what the show's doing is a crystallization of a lot of vague ideas that have been drifting around in my head for the last few years. And it's a style I think I can get, despite limited ability as a character animator. It seems to be a caricature of things I love, though I'm having trouble nailing it all down. And I always like to try to trace things like this back to the source material.

I'm seeing some of Krigstein's EC comics, and Toth's comic and animation work. And it looks like Dan Clowes was looking over some of the same people's shoulders. But I was just wondering what the more cartoon-savvy were seeing in the show's design.

If anyone's interested, I posted this question over at Jackson Publick's blog, and he answered fairly quickly. His answer was kind of specific to my question, so I'll post that, too.

I'm very curious about the character design on your show. Of what I'm familiar with, I'd say it reminds me the most of Toth-- both his Hanna-Barbera and his earlier comic book work. There might also be some Ditko-- beyond the Dr Strange/Orpheus connection. And some Krigstein. And, I guess, the whole 50s/graphic thing. Or maybe I'm projecting. Just curious who you look at.

Toth was a big influence from the start, yes, mostly because of his contributions to the Hanna Barbera canon, which we're of course parodying. And because he's just awesome. When we started designing characters for the pilot, my own drawing style was heavily influenced by Daniel Clowes (particularly his early stuff--which does have a touch of Krigstein and Kurtzman) but we've sort of drifted away from that level of stylization as the demands for realism and expression have dictated.