SDCC 2011: The Aquabats Super Show Panel

A column article, Shot For Shot by: Matthew Z. Rios
The Aquabats might be the greatest band in the world. Can you name another group who’s been around for 17 years, clinging to the small masses that chant their name just to spread the good word of high-fives and pizza parties? For quite some time, The Aquabats’s main dream was to deliver a TV show for their dedicated fans but all they’ve been able to muster was a simple theme song. Over the years, the band occasionally played the theme to this "super show" at sporadic shows and even posted a partial pilot episode on YouTube. But the lack of updates over the years had us Aquacadets doubtful. But lo and behold, an announcement was made on their website proclaiming that our collective dream was coming true and that a show WAS indeed happening. So it’s no exaggeration that for followers of The Aquabats, this was the not-to-miss panel.

In order to make sure we made it, my chums and I sat through the panel beforehand about MTV’s new horror comedy "Death Valley" (which was actually pretty entertaining). Other peoples' dreams aside, the crowd was antsy. We began chanting for the band and throwing up our custom hand signs in the air. Finally, the band’s well-known Microsoft Power Point presentation started up on the screen. The short video highlighted their near 20 year history not only as a band, but also as hopeful TV show creators. Prior to this collaboration with the Hub Network, the 'Bats had cobbled together two different pilots. The first in the mid '90s apparently is so atrocious, even the band ignores its existence. The second was done in a tokusatsu Power Rangers style and looked really rockin'. The latest one was a combination of live action antics with the band and anime’ styled cartoons. The problem was, the Aquabats have always been plagued with terrible luck. Several companies were interested, but bad times ensued: executives involved were let go (unrelated) and even looky-loo networks were bought over. At the end, the intro of the show (and theme we had all memorized) was played and as the lights went up, out came the 'Bats.

Frontman MC Bat Commander (Christian Jacobs of Yo Gabba Gabba fame) elaborated on some of the funny facts throw out in the video. Each pilot was entirely constructed by the band, so each setback nearly bankrupted them. In fact, they assumed their 2005 album Charge would be their last. But fortunately for all in the room, the Hub Network (the collaborated effort of Hasbro and Discovery Kids) were excited to give the band the chance they so well-deserved. The Hub affiliate/moderator was pretty jazzed that this was finally happening, but wasn’t prepared for the intense cult following the band has. Whenever a specific phrase or suggestion was mentioned, the crowd jumped in an uproar, chanting and cheering.

Okay, enough geeking out by me; here come the specifics.
The Aquabats Super Show is in development and will begin shooting the week after Comic-Con. The first season will be made up of 12 episodes. The last pilot released will be the structural basis of the new show: part cartoon and part real-life adventures. During the Q&A, the audience was able to wrangle out a few more show specifics: bands that are a part of the Aquabats mythos, like the Sandfleas and Bad Credit, will be guest-appearing.

Another great addition will be the inclusion of the wide variety of villains in the band’s history. For those of you who don’t know, the band has created a large grouping of costumed super-villains that are fought on stage during breaks. The Bat Commander hinted at arch-enemies such as Powdered Milk Man and the Martian Girl making cameos in the show. The Commander also mentioned an inclusion of music videos (which the band is sorely lacking) and the possibility of other bands guest-starring. Facts aside, the band (and audience) was clamoring for an infinite amount of seasons as well as an action figure line, which had been mulled over by both the network and the band. Afterwards, high-gives were given out and 10 pairs of tickets to their next night’s show were awarded to those fans with the best questions.

So while not much was shown in the way of physical evidence, the planning and evolution of the program is already heavily underway and rapidly moving towards reality. This is the first, well deserved break that the little ska band from Orange County has been struggling so hard to achieve.

Matthew Z. Rios is an intrepid horror movie fan, a constant comic book connoisseur, steampunk enthusiast and collector of toys of any type. He has been in love with comics ever since the tender age of 4, when his dad gave him a copy of the Greatest Flash Stories Ever Told on Christmas and changed his life forever.

In college, Matthew majored in English and tossed in a screenwriting minor at the last second, which became his real passion. One day he hopes to write comic books, short features, or any type of creative media. Matthew is an active member in the tiki scene, which revolves around tropical drinks (the Zombie being his favorite). His favorite fictional/unobtainable crushes include Bettie Paige and She Hulk. On occasion, after several drinks, Matthew Z. Rios talks about himself in the third person. Matthew Rios was not drunk when he wrote this bio.

Matthew is also a writer for
Tiki Magazine and can be Facebooked. His infrequent and begrudging Tweets can be found at @tikisideburns.

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