Here’s what you need to know about MODOK!
What Is MODOK About?
Hulu’s stop-motion animated series follows MODOK — the Mental Organism Designed Only for Killing (voiced by Oswalt) — as he suffers a midlife crisis after being ousted from his villainous organization A.I.M.
Not only does MODOK hate all the other Marvel superheroes, but he also loathes his rival supervillains because he thinks he should be the alpha supreme among them instead of being a D-lister. “It’s just double-barreled resentment every episode,” Oswalt said.
“He really wants to have his amazing ominous entrances and they’re always undercut by something mundane everyday. And that’s what drives him crazy.”
At home, MODOK struggles with his teenage kids Lou (Ben Schwartz) and Melissa (Melissa Fumero), while his wife, Jodie (Aimee Garcia), is more interested in her mommy blog than in him. MODOK must also contend with the workplace machinations of his fellow mad scientist Monica Rappaccini (Wendi McLendon-Covey) now that A.I.M. is owned by tech firm GRUMBL.
The show’s co-creator/writer/executive producer, Jordan Blum, says the series aims (no pun intended) to “honor” the ludicrous Marvel character’s roots while putting a funny spin on it for a mainstream audience.“This was born out of our love for Stan Lee and Jack Kirby who created MODOK and we wanted to honor that while still finding a comedic slant on the character and his world and kind of expand that beyond the comics,” Blum said.
“Again, see what are the mundane moments of trying to run an evil organization. Or how does a giant floating toilet relate to his rebellious children or his wife? That’s what we wanted to explore. And I think what we did was, it’s fun and it’s action-packed and it’s very much a Marvel project but I think no one’s expecting this show about this monstrous, megalomaniacal supervillain to have hopefully a ton of heart [or] to be way more relatable than you think he’d be just from seeing him.”
Oswalt added, “Yeah, these are really cold, hard times. We wanted to give people a show where they could come away from it and go, ‘We are all giant floating toilets.’ You know, that kind of thing to give people some optimism and hope.”
MODOK’s Voice Cast
In addition to Patton Oswalt as MODOK, the show stars Aimee Garcia as his wife Jodie and Ben Schwartz and Melissa Fumero as his kids Lou and Melissa, respectively. The voice cast includes SNL’s Beck Bennett as GRUMBL boss Austin Van Der Sleet, Jon Daly as MODOK’s android crony Super-Adaptoid, and Sam Richardson as MODOK’s flunky Gary.
Schwartz described teenage Lou as happy, excited, weird, and different and not like his other family members, so the audience will want to see him succeed. Ben, it was revealed, was created in a lab. “He’s so into building and magic and Judaism,” Schwartz exclaimed.
Fumero said Melissa — who looks like her giant floating head dad and yet is the most popular girl at her high school, basically the leader of her school’s “Heathers” — has daddy issues and wants to become a supervillain like MODOK, “but at the end of the day she just wants him to love her.”
As for Jodie, who runs a successful mommy blog, Garcia revealed, “I personally get to go on a villainous journey and catch the attention of a superhero which does not fare well with MODOK. … She’s unlike any animated wife we’ve ever seen where she goes from housewife to supervillain.”
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MODOK’s Marvel Comics References and Easter Eggs
In addition to MODOK, the Hulu series also includes Marvel Comics villains Monica Rappaccini and the Super-Adaptoid, who Blum described as “an artist who wants to express himself and hates that he’s enslaved to MODOK.”
MODOK’s makers are taking a page from Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse and The LEGO Batman Movie where everything from the canon counts and they’re pulling in whatever they need.
“Marvel was great about giving us a lot of the toys [to play with],” said Blum. “A-listers and D-listers and people you’d have to dig deep into the Marvel Handbook to even find existed and all those characters, there’s so much comedy built into them. And using them in these big sci-fi stories that are grounded by these very human relationship stories between family or co-worker or whatnot. Mixing all that together, it was a blast.”
“We dig up a couple of characters and a couple of objects and even I’m wondering if Marvel knew they had them,” said Oswalt. “We had a lot of fun digging deep.”
Blum specifically cited Mark Gruenwald’s Captain America run as a source of where they pulled characters and references from: “That’s the fun that we’re having. That we’re pushing the boundaries of what the Marvel Universe is and having a lot of fun with the toy box.”
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MODOK’s Animation Style
The show’s stop-motion animation is done by Stoopid Buddy, the company behind Robot Chicken, SuperMansion, and Crossing Swords.
The Stoopid Buddy crew shoots MODOK hand-held on their phones and the data is then sent to a motion-control rig. “It’s real hand-held photography even though it’s frame-by-frame,” Blum explained.
The humor evident in this stop-motion animation style will be on display in the show’s fifth episode. As Blum revealed, “There’s a Mad Scientist-off fight in Episode 5 that’s insane. I’ve never seen anything like it.”
MODOK Release Date
So when does iMODOK come out? That remains unclear as Marvel TV and Hulu have yet to announce an official premiere date for the series.
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