As The Venture Bros. return to TV, a new book explores Adult Swim series’ art and evolution

After a typically excruciating wait, The Venture Bros. is finally back for a new season — its seventh, and definitely not last — this weekend. (You can actually watch the first episode, “The Venture Bros. & The Curse of the Haunted Problem,” right now).

With such long hiatuses, and breakneck action and character development, it can be a real struggle to remember what happened in previous seasons, let alone all the complex relationships and plots. Adult Swim’s almost-daily marathon leading up to the premiere has helped, and naturally the internet has your back — but sometimes you just need more. That’s why Dark Horse has released Go Team Venture! The Art and Making of the Venture Bros.! 

The Venture Bros. Go Team Venture book

The new book is the product of writer and podcaster Ken Plume’s conversations with Venture Bros. creators Jackson Publick and Doc Hammer about the creation of the series itself as well as every single episode through Season 6. They take you from the earliest sketches of Hank and Dean Venture scribbled in a notebook to pitching the series to Cartoon Network’s Adult Swim — after abandoning the original idea for a comic book — then recount learning the ins and outs of animation. It also includes character designs for each season, storyboards, painted backgrounds, and behind-the-scenes recollections.

More than just an art book — though it’s packed with never-before-seen artwork and original sketches — the 376-page, 9-by-12-inch hardcover is a true deep dive into the series’ origins and development over six seasons and beyond, with a foreward by comedian Patton Oswalt and a brief glimpse into Season 7. It’s available now retailing for $39.99, and we got a peek inside thanks to a Dark Horse preview.

For as much territory as it covers, Go Team Venture! is a quick and engrossing read in addition to being a lavish game room/coffee table showpiece.

One of the most striking tales is the evolution of The Venture Bros.’ background painting style, from fully rendered “gauche” environments straight out of the 1960s and ’70s to a more delineated, Darwyn Cooke comic book style as the first season chugged along. “And it didn’t work,” Publick recounts, due to the resulting chunky black lines that animators didn’t know what to do with, so a conscious decision was made to go back to strong painters on the backgrounds — leading to a stabilizing of the show’s style going into Season 3.

Another intriguing transformation in the series jumped out at me in the book’s character chronicles. Gravelly voiced and the true brains behind Venture foe The Monarch, Dr. Girlfriend was originally meant to “float” between villains. The concept was she would be a “professional Number Two” to different arch-criminals, which gives the “Dr. Girlfriend” name a bit more meaning. Now, of course, we know that her heart belongs to The Monarch, and she’s known as Dr. Mrs. The Monarch — a key figure in the Guild of Calamitous Intent, finally getting the recognition she deserves outside her husband’s shadow.

That barely scratches the surface! There’s a lot to explore, making this book a must-have for any fan of The Venture Bros.

Go Team Venture ends with a small taste of what Season 7 will look like:

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