Wednesday, March 12, 2008


Jonny Quest

I was lucky enough to spend a few days last week at the second annual Clockwork Storybook writers retreat, along with Mark Finn, Matt Sturges, Bill Willingham, and Bill Williams. The conversation, as it so often does, turned time and again to The Venture Bros, and from there to Jonny Quest.

Now, as you're probably aware, Jonny Quest had the greatest opening credits (and closing credits, for that matter) in the history of television.

In the mid-90s, the cartoon series Freakazoid did a parody of Jonny Quest, complete with opening credits: Toby Danger.

And finally society progressed to the point that it was ready for The Venture Bros, which at its heart is just "Jonny Quest grew up wrong."

Last year, I saw the following interstitial short, "Jonny Quest: Time is Running Out," on Cartoon Network, and immediately wished (a) this game had been real and (b) I'd had it as a kid.

In amongst all the Venture Bros and Jonny Quest talk, Willingham told us about his own never realized plans for a "grown-up Jonny Quest" comic, and it's a shame it never came about. I've toyed with the formula a bit (arguably there's more of Jonny in J.B. Carmody in Cybermancy Incorporated than any other heroic model).

I think they've tried to relaunch the character a time or two in recent years, but I haven't found the will to check them out. There's just something about Jonny Quest in cyberspace, or whatever it was, that just sits wrong with me.

I remember reading an issue of Starlog back in the 80's that featured an interview with Fred Dekker, the co-writer and director of THE MONSTER SQUAD. He said that his dream project was to do a live action Jonny Quest movie --set in 1960s, with Ken Adam type sets, etc. Sadly, it never came to be.

I agree with you, Chris, in regards to the updates of Jonny Quest. So pointless. But have you ever heard The Reverend Horton Heat's version of the Jonny Quest theme? It's on a compilation called "Saturday Morning Cartoons" that features various artists performing the songs from the cartoons we all remember childhood. (It's got The Ramones singing the "Spider-Man" theme!)

Anyway, the Rev's take on Jonny Quest managed to recapture all the excitement I felt as a child hearing the Jonny Quest theme and conjure it anew for me as an adult. You can find the video on YouTube here:

I have indeed heard that Rev Horton Heat cover, though I'd forgotten all about it. When Sturges and I were rooomates back in the 90s, he bought the CD of the cartoon theme-song covers compilation, and I bought the VHS of the videos.

I think he got the better end of that deal, since at least the CD wasn't interrupted throughout by Drew Barrymore making non-sequiturs.
Yeah, I almost didn't post the link as the song is a little underwhelming heard that way.
I was never interested in updating JONNY QUEST or doing it in live action until I saw Neil McDonough in TIN MAN. As I was watching McDonough, I realized I was looking at Race Bannon...
That's funny. Watching BAND OF BROTHERS, I started imagining McDonough starring in a Doc Savage movie...
Mmmm. Okay, I can see both of those, now that you mention it.
You haven't missed a thing by not catching any of the updated versions of JQ. The originals are still the best.

I think they're available on DVD in a boxed set.
Jonny Quest was and still is my favorite cartoon from when I was a kid and Venture Brothers has been the only worthy successor to the throne. The two JQ re-births (or more aptly, abortions) pretty much sucked.

I don't know if you ever saw this, but this was the bumper I did for Austin Books' video entry for the Eisners last year. Hmmmm, I wonder what my influence was for it...
Jason, that thing is awesome!
Mucho Garcia.
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