Marvel's M.O.D.O.K. stars reveal their characters at New York Comic Con
Marvel's M.O.D.O.K. contains a lot of firsts. It's the first time Marvel TV has waded into adult animation — and not only that, it's stop-motion animation. It's also the first time a Marvel show has focused on a supervillain rather than superheroes — and not only that, it's the silliest-looking supervillain of all time.
As originally designed by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, M.O.DO.K. (Mobile Organism Designed Only for Killing) is a gigantic floating head with little tiny arms and legs. The premise for Marvel's M.O.D.O.K., which stars Patton Oswalt as the titular menace, began with wondering what such a character's family life might be like. As a result, the show features three new characters never seen in the pages of Marvel comics: M.O.D.O.K.'s wife, Jodie (Aimee Garcia); his oddball son, Lou (Ben Schwartz); and his beloved daughter, Melissa (Melissa Fumero).
The show's New York Comic Con panel on Friday allowed Schwartz, Fumero, and Garcia to introduce their characters in a conversation with Oswalt and co-creator Jordan Blum. Schwartz, who said working on Robot Chicken years ago was one of his first Hollywood jobs and is now proud to have a stop-motion character of his own, described how Lou manages to be the odd one out even in such a strange family.
"Lou was invented in a lab and is the son of M.O.D.O.K., making him the second child," Schwartz said. "That accounts for why he's not like anyone else in the entire family. He's very out-there, kind of weird, his interests don't coincide with anyone else. He's so positive about stuff and really wants good things to happen that you root for him always. Even though he's weird and different, you want him to succeed."
Oswalt added, "He unabashedly loves what he loves, and that's what's so winning about him."
Melissa, by contrast, is no oddball. Not only does she look just like her father (making her his heir apparent) she's also the queen bee of her high school despite looking the way she does.
"Melissa is a glimpse of what M.O.D.O.K. might've been in high school," Fumero said. "She's definitely a queen bee, she definitely cares about being popular. She has daddy issues, to say the least. She wants to impress her father, she wants to be a supervillain like him, but at the end of the day she just wants him to love her. She's very sure of herself, but like most teenagers hides her insecurities and loves her family in her own way."
Blum added, "I love that she looks like that and everyone still wants to date her and be her. She's so confident and she rules that school, so no one's even questioning that she's a giant head in a hoverchair."
Fumero added that Melissa is "a testament to how confidence wins over looks every time," and Oswalt teased that in one episode Melissa and M.O.D.O.K. bond "in a very touching but evil way."
That makes Jodie the sane person in the family, but she's not just a housewife. As noted in one of the clips shown in the panel, she actually makes more money than her supervillain husband. On top of that, Garcia said her character has a trajectory all her own.
"She's unlike any animated wife character we've ever seen," Garcia said. "She goes from housewife to supervillain."
Oswalt added, "What I love is, you go on a supervillain journey, but that you don't realize until it's almost too late that it was it's a supervillain journey the whole time. In your mind this is your Eat Pray Love thing, and then it's like, 'Oh no, wait a minute, I didn't know I was going down this path…'"
Marvel's M.O.D.O.K. is still undated but coming soon to Hulu. Watch the panel above.