John Kricfalusi (pron. "Kris-falusi") (born Michael John Kricfalusi), better known as John K., is an Emmy-nominated Canadian animator.
He is creator of The Ren & Stimpy Show and The Ripping Friends animated series, The Goddamn George Liquor Program, the first animated series made using Macromedia Flash, as well as the founder of animation studio Spümcø International. When Kricfalusi did not completely approve of one of his cartoons, he would credit himself as Raymond Spum. As of May 2008, this has only occurred in the Ren and Stimpy episode Nurse Stimpy.
Work with Ralph Bakshi
For many years, Kricfalusi drew low-end studio television cartoons (the best one in Kricfalusi’s opinion was the The Jetsons
revival) before being "rescued" around 1985 by director Ralph Bakshi
(whom Kricfalusi had worked for before during two brief periods in 1981 and 1983). Kricfalusi and Bakshi were going to make a film called Bobby’s Girl
, but that film fell through when Tristar
’s president stepped down. Kricfalusi’s first finished project was directing the animation for The Rolling Stones
’ 1986 music video of “Harlem Shuffle”
. Kricfalusi’s most famous project under Bakshi was Mighty Mouse: The New Adventures
, based on the classic Terrytoons
character. Kricfalusi directed eight of the twenty-six episodes and supervised the series. Kricfalusi also worked on another cartoon series at the time called Galaxy High
, providing character designs for some of the aliens in the series.
Ren & Stimpy
Kricfalusi founded his Spümcø International animation studio with partner Jim Smith
, creating the controversial Ren & Stimpy Show
. Spümcø sold the show to Nickelodeon
in 1988. Nickelodeon and Kricfalusi disagreed regarding the production, including the level of violence in the show as well as the fact that Kricfalusi continuously missed production deadlines with his series. Kricfalusi points specifically to the episode "Man's Best Friend
", which features a violent climax where Ren brutally assaults the character George Liquor
with an oar
, as being the turning point in his relationship with Nickelodeon. Nickelodeon fired Kricfalusi from production of the series in 1992, leaving the production of the series in the hands of Nickelodeon and Games Animation, who continued work on the series for three more seasons before the series was cancelled. Kricfalusi returned and worked on the series for unaired episodes.
Web-based cartoons, music videos, Hannah-Barbera cartoons, and The Ripping Friends
In 1996, John Kricfalusi created the first internet cartoon series using Macromedia Flash
, The Goddamn George Liquor Program.
He followed this with Weekend Pussy Hunt
, the second Flash cartoon.
Since then, Kricfalusi has worked on various projects including some web-based cartoons, Björk and Tenacious D music videos, some Yogi Bear cartoons (including Boo Boo and the Man, A Day in the Life of Ranger Smith and Boo Boo Runs Wild), two Jetsons cartoons (Father & Son Day and The Best Son), and the short-lived FOX Kids TV series The Ripping Friends.
The return of Ren & Stimpy
Most recently he has written, directed, and starred in a new Ren & Stimpy
show, entitled Ren and Stimpy Adult Party Cartoon
produced for Spike TV
, a network which has allowed the animator much more freedom to work with the lewd and bizarre themes that make his art distinctive. Most of the stories were based on fan ideas and original scripts that were rejected by Nickelodeon during the show's original run. However, John's inability to fulfill his deadlines for production of his cartoons resurfaced as only three of six episodes would see broadcast. This combined with negative critical reaction towards the new episodes, led to Spike TV cancelling the series. The revived series would ultimately be released on DVD
with the remaining (and ultimately completed) three episodes that never aired.
The Looney Tunes Golden Collection
Kricfalusi provides several audio commentaries in the Looney Tunes Golden Collection
(DVD sets of classic Warner Bros. Looney Tunes
and Merrie Melodies
cartoons) and appears in some of the bonus featurettes as well. Typically, Kricfalusi does commentary on the Bob Clampett
cartoons, whom Kricfalusi often praises for his fast-paced and nutty style. John refused to do any more commentaries after volume 3 because of artistic integrity. He disapproved of the method of restoration for the cartoons through DVNR (Digital Video Noise Reduction), which tends to erase parts of the artwork, and the oversaturation of the colors. However, he provided commentary on one cartoon on the fifth volume
: Buckaroo Bugs
On February 13 2006
Kricfalusi started his own weblog
, All Kinds of Stuff
, containing knowledge about animation history and frequent criticisms of modern animated shows.
In September 2006, his animated music video for “Weird Al” Yankovic’s “Close But No Cigar” from the album Straight Outta Lynwood was featured on the DVD side of the DualDisc album. The song is about a man who ends relationships with women who have one minor flaw he cannot get past. The video features John K’s animated cat, Cigarettes. He also animated a THX logo parody for Tenacious D’s movie The Pick of Destiny, as well as a music video for their song “Classico”. As of 2008, he is in development of a webtoon starring George Liquor. It will be sponsored by Pontiac Vibe. Also in 2006, he served as an art director for a segment for Class of 3000 entitled "Life Without Music."
Kricfalusi says his heroes are Bob Clampett
, Chuck Jones
, Frank Sinatra
and Kirk Douglas
. His Myspace
page also mentions Milt Gross
, Tex Avery
, Al Jolson
, Bing Crosby
, Dean Martin
, Don Martin
and Robert Ryan
Though widely praised for his work in the field of animation as far as mainstreaming more adult-themed content in animation, Kricfalusi has been subject to much criticism over the years by critics and colleages within the animation industry.
Criticism include complaints about Kricfalusi's work ethics, most notably his infamous inability to meet deadlines with regards to production of his various cartoons. He has also been criticized for his ego and for over-the-top self-promotion, most of which stems from his removal from "Ren and Stimpy". In the wake of his firing, Kricfalusi underwent a massive public relations campaign where he blamed Nickelodeon for his firing and proclaiming that the success of the show was the direct result of his creative genius.
Billy West, who worked with him on the earlys 1990s Ren & Stimpy series, has become one of Kricfalusi's most vocal critics. According to West, Kricfalusi made numerous attempts to convince West to quit Ren and Stimpy when he was fired from the series, under the logic that if West quit, that Nickelodeon would have no other choice but to hire him back and cave into his demands. West also has refuted Kricfalusi's longstanding claim that he was fired from his own series over issues involving content, citing that it was his chronic lateness in meeting contractually mandated deadlines for the completion of new episodes that ultimately caused Nickelodeon to fire him.
When the series was briefly revived by Spike TV, West refused to work with Kricfalusi on the new series.
On June 13, 2008, the Brooklyn based publishing company, PictureBox
, stated on their website that production for an art book about Kricfalusi has started. They say the release is planned for late 2009. Animation historian Amid Amidi sais this: "Next year, they’re [PictureBox is] releasing what is shaping up to be one of the must-have animation books of the year. And I’m not just saying this because I’m the editor of the project. This book is about one of the most influential figures in contemporary animation, and everybody involved is working hard to ensure that it turns out properly.
Interviews and Articles