|The Venture Bros. character|
"The Terrible Secret of Turtle Bay"
"All This and Gargantua-2"
|Occupation||Supervillain, president of Impossible Industries|
Sally Impossible (ex-wife) |
Rocket Impossible (son)
Cody (former brother in-law)
Genius intellect, indestructible elastic body
The Revenge Society
The Boys Brigade
Dr. Phineas Phage (Guild archenemy)
Dr. Thaddeus "Rusty" Venture (turned Sally Impossible against him, thereby causing a host of misfortunes)
Dr. Jonas Venture, Jr. (ex-wife's new boyfriend; now deceased)
While his specific age is unclear, Professor Impossible appears to be in his fifties. In his youth, he had been a member of Jonas Venture's Boys Brigade with Hamilton Fantomas. Richard appears in a flashback to 1969 in Now Museum-Now You Don't where he is seen as an grown man (though possibly only in his late teens). He was addressed as "Dickie", and seemed to function as the official photographer/reporter for Team Venture.
As a young man, his incredible genius was recognized by the US government - during the Vietnam War the military funded his research, as revealed in Ice Station - Impossible! He invented the Goliath Serum, a substance that could convert the composition of anything exposed to it into a highly volatile explosive; however, when Hank Venture was afflicted by it, it failed before reaching its final stage.
Sometime prior to the series, Professor Impossible was involved in an accident that exposed him to cosmic radiation. As a result, his body became elastic and completely indestructible, capable of stretching near-infinitely and rendering him immune to many normal pain sources.
During the 1980s he was a professor at State University, but was fired; a voiced animatic for The Invisible Hand of Fate reveals that this was due to an affair he had with a student, his future (now ex-) wife Sally.  He was Doctor Venture's professor at the school, but has admitted to giving Venture a passing grade out of sympathy for the death of his father.
His first appearance in the series came in its pilot, The Terrible Secret of Turtle Bay, however, he was merely an unnamed dignitary briefly seen at the United Nations.
In Ice Station - Impossible! he invites Doctor Venture , Billy Quizboy and Pete White to participate in a Think Tank at his Arctic base. However, when Venture discovers Sally and her relatives Ned and Cody, Professor Impossible drops him in the frozen wastelands to die, only for him to be rescued by Brock Samson. Later, while analyzing a urine sample supposedly provided by Dr. Venture for drug testing, Impossible is stunned to discover that Venture is pregnant; however, this is not actually the case, as the sample had been replaced by Sally with some of her own urine.
Professor Impossible appears again in Twenty Years to Midnight. By now, his son Rocket has been born, but he has doubts that he is Rocket's biological father, furthering his clear paranoia and distrust of those around himself. He arrogantly assumes the right to assemble Jonas Venture Sr.'s greatest invention, having found the missing piece in the basement of One Impossible Plaza, but is thwarted when his body is bolted to a wall and then tied to the end of a departing subway train. At the end of this episode, Sally leaves him for Jonas Junior.
His estrangement and ultimate divorce from Sally marks a turning point in Professor Impossible's character. By the time he next appears, in Now Museum-Now You Don't, he is no longer the brilliant, overconfident scientist of the past. Since the collapse of his marriage Professor Impossible has become drunk, bitter and unkempt, and spends his time at Jonas Jr.'s party making poor attempts to get Sally back before finally making a pair of halfhearted suicide attempts; the second of these attempts results in him unwittingly saving the lives of Jonas Jr., Sally, and many others by swallowing an explosion and containing it within his body.
After the party, Professor Impossible retreated to his headquarters in New York City and hid in depression from the public for a long period of time. He finally reappears, however, in Pomp & Circuitry, when Phantom Limb discovers him. Limb, who has sought his friend from the Boys Brigade for help forming a new team of supervillains, finds him unshaven and filthy, now calling his office "the germ-free zone" and storing his urine in jars. Impossible believes he has nothing of worth to offer his friend, but he changes his mind after witnessing Phantom Limb fight off his Guild-appointed archenemy, Dr. Phineas Phage. Using his powers, Professor Impossible smuggles Phantom Limb into State University to allow him to recover the blueprints for his Limb Augmentation Apparatus. Later, after helping Phantom Limb regenerate his deadly invisible appendages, Professor Impossible fully converts himself into a formal villain, creating a new costume for himself and suggesting he adopt the name "Professor Incorrigible" as his villain name.
In Any Which Way But Zeus Professor Impossible appears as a member of The Revenge Society, his new villainous team led by Phantom Limb. He and Limb attend an OSI-called meeting to discuss a rash of abductions of heroes and villains.
The Revenge Society continues its rise in Bright Lights, Dean City, where Professor Impossible helps Phantom Limb recruit new villains to expand the team. It is discovered that he has been holding Sally's brother Cody in a scientific tank and torturing him, forcing him to provide limitless clean energy for Impossible Industries through his never ending flaming body.
In All This and Gargantua-2, Impossible's abilities have improved tremendously thanks to the training of Dr. Henry Killinger, as he now has the ability to shape-shift by contorting his rubbery body. He assists his Revenge Society comrades in taking over Gargantua-2, though when the space station is pelted with asteroids, he flees the station at the request of his ex-wife Sally, not because she wanted him back, but simply because she didn't want their son to lose his father. He later appears at the funeral for Jonas Venture Jr seated beside Sally, indicating that he may have given up being a supervillain.
Richard Impossible starts out as a cold, egotistical man with few redeeming qualities aside from his intellect. A notable aspect of his personality at this time is his fanatic devotion to science - even when his son has disappeared, he is more concerned about activating Jonas Venture's invention. This disregard for human life further manifests in his willingness to kill others to accomplish his goals if necessary. Ironically, when first offered the chance to become Phantom Limb's teammate, he rejects it, saying to Limb, "You're all... evil... I could never be a bad guy." This suggests a level of unawareness of his actions, especially at the fact that he uses his ex-brother in law as the sole power source for his company, while keeping Cody awake causes him severe pain, an action Phantom Limb states eliminates any worry that Richard could not be evil.
His divorce from Sally changed Professor Impossible greatly. These events exaggerate his existing paranoia and jealousy, causing him to go insane with shame and guilt. His destroyed marriage also greatly reduced the immense confidence he once had, and after the events in season 3, he went through a period of depression, feeling utterly hopeless after Sally left him. This ultimately drives him to fill the void in his life by becoming a supervillain. Though he is more successful in life than Dr. Venture his confidence has been shown to be far more fragile than Venture’s.
Powers and Abilities
Professor Impossible's primary strength is his elastic body. He is capable of stretching and contorting himself to unbelievable degrees, possessing the ability to alter things such as his height and the size of his hands at will. This ability allows him to do almost anything without significant harm, from swallowing the blast of a bomb to actually absorbing a fully-grown man and carrying him around. After undergoing months of training by Dr. Henry Killinger, Richard gained the ability shape-shift by contorting his rubbery body to take on the form of anyone he chooses.
Another one of his strengths is his vast intellect. Professor Impossible can be seen as a more-competent Doctor Venture; the two both own large scientific businesses, but Impossible Industries is far more successful than Venture Industries ever was. Ironically, however, following the collapse of his marriage Professor Impossible becomes even more of a failure than Venture. Though this is due to depression rather than incompetence.
- He is a parody of Reed Richards/Mr. Fantastic of the Fantastic Four, and also has some traits of Howard Hughes.
- Professor Impossible is the only character on the show to have been portrayed by four different voice actors:
- Peter McCulloch voiced Professor Impossible in the pilot episode The Terrible Secret of Turtle Bay, when the character was simply called "Solar-powered Car Scientist".
- Stephen Colbert voiced Professor Impossible for the first two season of the show, appearing in the episodes Ice Station - Impossible! and Twenty Years to Midnight. He returned once more after Season 5 to voice the character in the special All This and Gargantua-2.
- Christopher McCulloch voiced Professor Impossible for the Season 3 episode Now Museum-Now You Don't.
- Bill Hader voiced Professor Impossible for Season 4, appearing in the episodes Pomp and Circuitry, Any Which Way But Zeus', and' Bright Lights, Dean City.