NYCC 2020: ‘M.O.D.O.K.’ Gets Ready For Suburbia And His Wife’s New Business
by Erik Amaya
M.O.D.O.K. is just like us. He has a family, trouble at work, and even gets diarrhea sometimes.
Bringing the villain down to our world is the mission statement of M.O.D.O.K. — the upcoming Hulu animated series from executive producer Jordan Blum and Patton Oswalt. During their New York Comic Con Metaverse panel, the pair made it plain that while M.O.D.O.K. is still a Marvel supervillain engaged in ending the effectiveness of the Avengers, he’s also just a guy.
Oswalt plays the Mental Organism Designed Only for Killing. And as the series begins, his company, Advanced Idea Mechanics, is in dire straights. It forces him to sell the business and become an employee of Austin Van Der Sleet (Beck Bennett) and a rival, once again, to Monica Rappaccini (Wendi McLendon-Covey). And when he’s not facing an AIM he no longer controls, his home life in New Jersey still leaves him stressed out. His wife, Jodie (Aimee Garcia), starts her own business and is quite successful. Meanwhile, their children represent the spectrum of Jersey kids — daughter Melissa or “M.E.L.I.S.S.A.” (Melissa Fumero) is the queen bee of her high school and a would-be supervillain while test tube son Lou (Ben Schwartz) is just a beacon of positivity.
“I really have to say Jordan and Patton created this woman who’s really unapologetic and she has a trajectory,” Garcia said of Jodie. “It’s refreshing to have this woman who, later in life, says ‘this is not going to work for me’ and stands up to her husband. She’s starting to blossom as this pendant woman.” Nevertheless, there is a love between Jodie and M.O.D.O.K. … even if they are having trouble rekindling it. Meanwhile, her business will lead her to a sort of “villain’s journey” and catches the attention of a superhero — which does not sit well with M.O.D.O.K.
Fumero thought Melissa represents ” a glimpse of what M.O.D.O.K. would’ve been like in high school.” Nevertheless, she still has daddy issues and “she just wants him to love her.” At the same time, she wants to follow in his footsteps and become a supervillain in her own right. Oswalt, meanwhile, encouraged viewers to determine what “M.E.L.I.S.S.A.” stands for.
“Everyone wants to date her or be her,” added Blum. “No one cares she’s in a hoverchair.”
Lou’s enthusiasm may come from his origins. “He’s invented in a lab,” Schwartz said. “I think that accounts for why he’s not like anyone else in the family. His interests don’t coincide with anyone else in the family. He’s so happy and excited. He’s into magic and Judaism.”
Other cast members include Sam Richardson as Gary and John Daly as the Super Adaptoid.
A huge geek, Patton was amazed at how many Marvel characters the company let them use across the season. “It’s an animated satire,” Blum added. “It’s an attitude like Into the Spider-Verse or LEGO Batman and Marvel was okay with that.” A lot of the z-listers the pair pulled into the show have a certain comedy to them and Blum thought they’d fit well.
“We picked up a couple of characters and objects that I wonder if Marvel knew they had them,” Oswalt said. “We had a lot of fun digging deep.” Both confirmed there is “X-Stuff” in the series. Although, they were vague on any more details.
The series utilizes stop-motion animation, so M.O.D.O.K., his family, friends, and world, are built with tiny puppets. Oswalt mentioned his amazement at the work Stoopid Buddy Stoodios, the gang behind Robot Chicken, put into the show. Blum mentioned the company even figured out a way to create hand-held photography, which was clear to see in the clips screened during the panel.
Garcia, though, felt the comedy and the animation style is ultimately in service of some really well-developed characters. “You forget they’re puppets or supervillains who are trying to destroy the world,” she said.
M.O.D.O.K. comes to Hulu “soon.”