- Guild of Calamitous Intent
caption = The Guild of Calamitous Intent logo
team_name = The Guild of Calamitous Intent
debut_ep = "
purpose = Organized super-crime group
team_status = Active
current_members = Sovereign (
Doctor Girlfriend The Monarch
Strangers (field operatives)
former_members = King Gorilla
Mister Monday (deceased)
Dr. Septipus (deceased)
White Noise (deceased)
Klaus Nomi(deceased) Iggy Pop(presumed deceased)
Manotaur (presumed deceased)
Members of the Original Guild
base = Unknown Location|
The Guild of Calamitous Intent is a fictional organization of
supervillains in the Adult Swimprogram " The Venture Bros.". The Guild was first mentioned in the season one episode " Home Insecurity", with its first major appearance being in " The Trial of the Monarch". According to Doc Hammer, the Guild was created specifically to allow the "super scientists" and "supervillains" in the Venture universe to co-exist for the Tag Sale – You're It!episode. [cite web |url=http://www.wizarduniverse.com/magazine/toyfare/002817276.cfm?page=2 |title=BROTHERS IN ARMS |accessdate=2007-01-04 |author=Tracey John |quote=The Guild of Calamitous Intent actually came from ‘Tag Sale.’ When Doc [Venture] was trying to get rid of his father’s miscellanea - who would want it? Basically the super scientists and the evil supervillains. But to get them in one place, you needed a governing body. You couldn’t have them agree for one moment to co-exist. So the Guild actually started as something to facilitate a ridiculous script idea.]
Venture Bros.series the Guild of Calamitous Intent is the largest organized labor group representing supervillains. Its direct competitors are The Peril Partnership and the Fraternity of Torment, both of which control less than a tenth of organized havoc to the Guild's overwhelming majority. In the episode Fallen Arches, a promotional video sent to the character Dr. Orpheusstates that the Guild was founded in 1910, and it is "the recognized leader in organized havoc". They credit their large numbers to the fact that they offer protection from authorities and benefits such as health and dental insuranceto all members, as well as access to henchmen and other technology to help villains commit crimes. In exchange, Guild members are required to follow a code of honor (see "Honor Code").
The Guild approves heroes, or teams of theme appropriate colleagues, to be assigned their very own certified super-villains. A "villain screening" may be scheduled to allow the hero to select a villain. Having a member of The Guild as your own "arch-enemy" is a highly sought after status symbol for some heroes in the Venture Brothers universe. In the episode
Fallen Arches, Doctor Venture becomes jealous of Doctor Orpheus's approval and seeks to entice villains waiting in line for the screening by salaciously washing his "giant walking eye" invention while shirtless. The Guild even assigns potential arch-enemies to its members, but do not approve killing them on the first day, as The Monarchdid to Dr. Dugong and possibly many others.
Because of their policy (referred to as "controlled costumed aggression"), the Guild of Calamitous Intent enjoys a level of popularity and acceptance in society and amongst law enforcement. They have even turned their popularity and "trustworthiness" into an official motto: "Hate You Can Trust". (
The Trial of the Monarch) They also, at least through the 80's, are generally thought to not exist by the general public, and even major intelligence organizations, due to being thought of by most people as "the bad guys from the old Rusty Venture TV show," as well as their covert agents keeping their existence from being found. ( The Invisible Hand of Fate)
The Original Guild
A flashback in ORB reveals that the Guild existed during the
Victorian Era, and had been "founded to protect and serve humanity's best, not to be a guild of calamitous intent." A cabal of Guild members, including Colonel Lloyd Venture, his body guard Eugen Sandow, Fantômas(an ancestor of Phantom Limb, as revealed in Phantom Limb's origin story), Aleister Crowley, Samuel Clemens, and Oscar Wilde, had devoted their lives to "perfect and protect" a mysterious artifact known as the Orb, which had been crafted over the centuries by Archimedes, Leonardo Da Vinci, Isaac Newton, and Galileoamong others. Colonel Venture's group eventually came into conflict with another faction of the Guild and had to flee with the Orb aboard an airshipwhile being pursued by Nikola Teslaand the Avon Ladies.
The Guild members had different ideas about what to do with the Orb -- Colonel Venture and Oscar Wilde both wanted to use it "for the good of mankind," while Fantômas argued that the Guild should be the ones to "decide what is best for mankind." When Crowley tried to seize the Orb for himself, Fantômas and Colonel Venture put aside their differences to throw him out (literally) and then agreed to use the Orb against Tesla. However, before Colonel Venture could figure out how to work the Orb, Sandow murdered him, believing it for the best of humanity that the Orb remain unused.
Some members of this Guild parallel the characters of the present day, Colonel Venture and Sandow being Dr. Venture and Brock, and Fantômas being the Phantom Limb.How this early version of the Guild eventually came to be an organization of mass villainy remains unrevealed.
The Guild is run by The Sovereign. Should something happen to The Sovereign to prevent him from fulfilling his duties the next highest ranking member takes over the title and duties of Sovereign.
The Sovereign usually appears to fellow Guild members over a "tele-screen" as a heavily distorted and red tinted image with a modulated voice.
At of the end of the second season, the current Sovereign was revealed to be musician
David Bowie, who in the Venture Bros. universe is a shape-shifting super villain.
The Council of 13
A group of super-villains whose actual position in the Guild's hierarchy is unknown, though they seem to be high up. They seem to act as judges within the Guild, and were seen judging the Monarch and Dr. Girlfriend, providing video footage that was secretly recorded by the Guild for evidence. They quite literally move as a group, are only seen in shadow, and constantly argue with each other. They presided over the marriage ceremony of Dr. Girlfriend and the Monarch with the Soverign acting as a priest.
One of the silhouettes appears to be that of Bugs Bunny dressed up as Julius Caesar. A different member bears an extreme resemblance to Prince Fleaswallow from the PaRappa the Rapper video game series. Another bears resemblance to the Wild Fop. One has the distinctive wheezy, raspy voice of Baron Silas Greenback,
DangerMouse's archenemy. Two other members bear a resemblance to The Sewer Urchin and Die Fledermaus from the Tick cartoon series. Some other members of the council have resemblences to villains in the video in the Episode "Fallen Arches"
Phantom Limb was a high-ranking Guild operative, having achieved his lofty position through years of service inside the Guild. Limb was powerful enough within the Guild that he was able to seize command following the apparent assassination of the Sovereign, David Bowie.
Phantom Limb's rank within the Guild was such that his home (which appears to be identical to the
Frank Lloyd Wright Ennis House) would occasionally serve as a secondary base (Base "B") of operations for the Guild. Phantom Limb had free rein over the resources of the Guild.
After Dr. Girlfriend dumped him to accept the Monarch's marriage proposal, Phantom Limb and a group of loyal "Strangers" attacked the ceremony. In the midst of the ambush, it was revealed that the true objective of the attack was to kill the Sovereign,
David Bowie, who was attending. With the Sovereign apparently dead, Phantom Limb assumed command of the Guild and moved to completely wipe out the Monarch's henchmen. However, Bowie used his transformation powers to fake his death and, after transforming back to human form, brings down Phantom Limb's aircraft. Following the crash, Bowie casually reconfirmed his position as the Sovereign and declared that his traitorous former subordinate was now the Guild's archenemy. It appears that Phantom Limb's appearance may now be more than superficial, as at least two invisible body parts were detected at the crash site.
Watch and Ward
The Sovereign is personally aided by two assistants, Watch and Ward. They oversee the Guild's various
espionageprograms serving as a link between Sovereign and his number two. Despite their position with the Sovereign, they are extremely deferential to his number two. They also serve to assist recruitment and assigning of supervillain identities.
The two characters are based upon show creators
Doc Hammerand Jackson Publick, both visually and in their dialogue, the bulk of which is taken from casual, everyday interaction between the two creators.
Besides its vast membership of supervillains, the Guild employs its own henchmen, called "Strangers". Strangers are the main field operatives of the organization. Currently they consist of a fleet of
cyborgsspecially trained in espionageand assassination, who dress in black, fur-lined trench coats and wide-brimmed fedoras. Strangers in previous eras had similar uniforms, albeit modified to fit the style of the times. It is unknown when the cybernetic enhancements were introduced.
What separates the Guild from most fictional villainous organizations is the complex Honor Code that its members abide by. The code was partially conceived as a set of rules and outlined in the Guild of Calamitous Intent's official handbook and has since been expanded over the years with the signing of various treaties between major heroes, such as Jonas Venture Sr., and unspoken "
gentlemen's agreements" forged with various law enforcement organizations. These involve the Guild providing resources such as new police cruisers to local precincts, and banning its members from harming local cops under any circumstances, in exchange for the police turning a blind eye to the crimes committed by Guild members.
Following the Honor Code is required by all Guild members as a condition to join the group. While some members willingly follow these rules and don't question them, others see the rules as a bothersome formality that must be followed so as to ensure that they can still receive the Guild's very generous health and dental plans as well as a level of immunity from local law enforcement groups.
The code of conduct is complex; among the rules enforced are:
*Villains and their henchmen are severely limited in their choice of weapons, according to the severity of their situation and their target. (
*Crimes such as
rapeand sexual assaultare forbidden and result in expulsion from the Guild
*In the case of some crimes the Guild will allow the member to continue as a member of the Guild but suffer a penalties under law, such as restraining orders against members who engage in inappropriate behavior (
Sergeant Hatredbeing a noteworthy example).
*Any hero who is associated with the Guild through its "Arch-Nemesis Assignment Program" will be paired off with a villain of approximately equal power and inclination, and this is often decided via an interview process.
*Local law enforcement officers are off-limits and can not be harmed under any circumstances. (
The Trial of the Monarch). In turn, they seem content to occupy themselves with "regular crimes" and not "super-crimes."
*Conflicts may not take place on any hallowed ground.
*"If protagonist aggression exceeds Level 8, the antagonist, in case of survival or escape, is granted Extended Vengeance. This includes Guild sanctioned immediate relatives." (
Furthermore, all Guild members are required to follow and honor all treaties signed with the super-hero community, a number of which were negotiated personally by Jonas Venture Sr. These include treaties banning Guild members from attacking heroes on holidays. Another treaty, "Rusty's Law" states that a Guild member must allow a hero and their children to leave their custody in the event that the hero's child becomes injured during the hostage situation to receive medical treatment (though apparently, the hostages are then required to voluntarily return to their captor's custody once the injury has been treated).
Breaking these rules and/or acts that leave the Guild no choice but to abandon a member can result in expulsion and revocation of any form of immunity from law enforcement. In one particular case, King Gorilla was abandoned by the Guild after he dismembered and sodomized (in that order)
Mötley Crüemember Vince Neilon national television (though King Gorilla protests that he "only sodomized half of him"); Phantom Limb claimed that there was virtually nothing the Guild could do to have him avoid imprisonment.
The Guild's rules, regulations, code, and treaties lead it to function far differently than one would expect a criminal organization to do. Most Guild actions involving violence seem to involve villain-on-hero conflict - regular civilians are left alone, or at worse knocked out harmlessly with such things as paralytic agents (
The Trial of the Monarch). The exception to this are those associated with heroes - for instance, it appears kidnapping the Venture Brothers is almost a constant.
In the episode
The Lepidopterists, Jonas Venture Juniorquestions Brock on the advisability of playing along with these rules. Brock points out that without the code of conduct, "You are looking at a bunch of pissed off nutbags with rayguns and giant, I don't know, a giant octopus/tank with laser eyes." This suggests the Guild's code structure acts as a way to control and direct the aggressiveness of Guild members - and also prevent them from conflict in an age of super-science, super-heroes and super-agents like OSI. It has also been suggested that the Guild's rules do as much to hinder super scientists and heroes as they do villains. The extended dual format of Guild sanctioned arching is an extreme drain on the time and energy of protagonists, and without these distractions they would presumably have time to be a much greater influence on the world at large. Thanks to the Guild, the activities of super humans and super scientist; both good and evil; are kept among themselves, while the general status quo for ordinary people remains largely unaffected.
In many ways Supervillainy in the 21st century of the Venture Brothers setting is more akin to something extremely distasteful than outright condemned morally.
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