Jordan Blum, the creator and showrunner of Marvel’s animated series M.O.D.O.K. for Hulu, is one of the rare Marvel comic fans so dedicated that he was a little disappointed when the announced “Captain America: Serpent Society” film ended up being a joke-y cover-up title for Captain America: Civil War.
“I was probably the one person who was let down,” Blum tells Den of Geek. “I love the Civil War story, but I was like ‘Yes, finally, the Serpent Society! Number one Serpent Society fan over here.’”
Blum comes across his Marvel fandom honestly. The writer’s father learned English from reading Marvel comics to a young Jordan in his crib. There are pictures of Blum as a child in a high chair holding his first Captain America comic issues. Over the years, Blum has developed and maintained his passion for Marvel comics, and the character of M.O.D.O.K. in particular.
“I really remember the Iron Man cartoon in the ‘90s, and they made a toy of (M.O.D.OK.) in that Jack Kirby design. It’s unforgettable and it’s incredible. It makes him so unique,” he says.
Now, as the consummate Marvel fan and shepherd of Marvel’s M.O.D.O.K. on, Blum feels compelled to make a bold claim.
“I would argue that we have the most Easter eggs out of any Marvel thing ever. I know because I wrote them all down. I didn’t count them, but it’s like a six page document, if that tells you anything.”
All Marvel TV series and movies are expected to bring a certain amount of Easter eggs to the pop culture table. The interconnectedness of the Marvel universe is a big part of the franchise’s appeal. Marvel’s M.O.D.O.K., however, could have been forgiven for going easier on its reference obligations.
That’s because M.O.D.O.K. is a very atypical effort from Marvel Studios. Centering on the titular, big-headed supervillain (played by Patton Oswalt, who co-created the show alongside Blum), M.O.D.O.K. isn’t technically a part of the ongoing Marvel Cinematic Universe on Disney+ in shows like WandaVision, The Falcon and The Winter Soldier, and Loki. As a stop-motion animated workplace family comedy, M.O.D.O.K. is a bit of an odd duck in the Marvel storytelling world…which is fitting as one of the show’s sister series on Hulu was set to be Howard the Duck before Marvel declined to move forward with it.
M.O.D.O.K. was intended to be one part of a larger “The Offenders” storytelling universe featuring offbeat characters like Hit Monkey, Tigra, Dazzler, and the aforementioned Howard. M.O.D.O.K. is now the last Marvel show standing on the streamer, disconnected from the MCU at large and abandoned by its Offenders’ peers. No one would blame the show for focusing on developing its own tone rather than shouting out other Marvel fare. But as consummate comic book fans, Blum and Oswalt can’t help but embrace the passion of other comic book fans.
“We were able to put some stuff in the background that rewards the comic fans,” Blum says. “There’s graffiti for the Yancy Street Gang on the subway. There’s a whole pawn shop filled with Marvel weapons and relics and things that, if you’re a fan you’ll recognize, to anyone else they’re just set dressing.”
The Easter egg hunt has already begun in earnest even before the series premieres, with Twitter users examining the show’s trailer frame by frame and finding references to everything from Brute Force to Willie Lumpkin.
For those who plan to continue the Easter egg hunt once all 10 episodes premiere on May 21, Oswalt has some sage advice.
“Just look at the shelves and walls. That’s all I’ll say.”
Of course, not all Easter eggs and references in the show will be carefully hidden. Some Marvel B, C, and Z-listers of note will turn out in prominent roles.
“I had to put Master Pandemonium in there,” Blum says. “That one’s pretty shameless, but I’ll own it.”
Marvel’s M.O.D.O.K. premieres all 10 episodes Friday, May 21 on Hulu.