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Creator / John Kricfalusi

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John K with his two most famous creations.

"Everybody's ugly in real life. You just have to look close. Look inside anybody's nose."
John K, "Film Threat #7".

Michael John Kricfalusi (pronounced as kris-fa-LOO-see, born September 9, 1955), also known as John K., is a well-known Canadian animator and sex offender, the creator of such series as The Ren & Stimpy Show and The Ripping Friends. He worked on Mighty Mouse: The New Adventures with his friend and mentor Ralph Bakshi, as well as the very short lived revival of Beany and Cecil, with the offspring of his hero and mentor Bob Clampett. He has also dabbled in webtooning with "The George Liquor Show" and "Weekend Pussy Hunt", being a pioneer of Flash-based cartoons. He was the founder of the now-defunct animation studio Spümcø.John K is a fan of “classic” cartoons from The Golden Age of Animation, such as Looney Tunes. He is a controversial figure in animation history, with some seeing him as the man who brought back “cartoony” cartoons to television, while others see him as Small Name, Big Ego. (This is not the place to debate either of those things.)


He formerly maintained a blog, John K. Stuff, wherein he posts information on classic cartoons and practical knowledge for aspiring animators. There is also a more distilled version with advice and lessons on cartooning and animation, John K Curriculum. Note that both are home to John K’s notoriously controversial opinions regarding animation, including his belief that good drawings are the back-bone of a cartoon's success (rather than it being the story, which is the common contemporary belief). He is very opinionated, and some rants may be a little overwhelming. However, if you're willing to look past his opinions, you can find some pretty useful information about animation technique and history that's sure to interest any budding animator.

On March 29, 2018, word got out that Kricfalusi had sexual encounters with multiple underage girls and that he may possess child pornography. As a result, Nickelodeon has effectively erased Kricfalusi and Ren & Stimpy from its history, going as far as to never again air the series on their NickSplat programming block, nor streaming it on their service of the same name on VRV. (Although they don't seem to be above posting clips of it on their YouTube channel, however...)


Not to be confused with John Kay, the lead singer for Steppenwolf.

Shows He Has Worked On / Works Of His Include:

This animator's work provides examples of:

  • Alternate DVD Commentary: He did commentary for the Ren and Stimpy DVDs, including some episodes after he was fired from the show.
  • Alan Smithee
    • The Ren and Stimpy episode "Nurse Stimpy," which John what wholly dissatisfied with, is credited to Raymund Spum.
    • He contributed a Flintstones parody comic to issue 9 of Robert Crumb's Weirdo magazine under the alias of Billy Bunting, a reference to the literary character Billy Bunter.
    • He also wrote notoriously inflammatory reviews of Animaniacs and We're Back! A Dinosaur's Story under the name Tom Payne, animator and historian.
  • Animated Music Video: Made several, as listed above.
  • Art Evolution: While he has always drawn and animated with his trademark style, moving to 2D computer animation with Flash clearly had an effect on it, as he was recreating the same type of cartoons with a set of tools not at all intended for it. Once ToonBoom came along, allowing him to do paperless hand-drawn stuff, he vowed never to animate on paper again.
  • Author Appeal: Kirk Douglas
  • Broke the Rating Scale: He reviewed Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs on his blog, giving it a rating of "zero" despite liking a few things about it, such as the visuals. He adds that this was actually a good score, as he usually gives negative numbers to recent animated films.
  • Canada, Eh?: A native of Ottawanote , he poked fun at Canadian stereotypes in pieces like "The Royal Canadian Kilted Yaksmen".
  • Cast of Snowflakes: His cartoons are full of them, almost all based on people or actors John has observed throughout his life.
  • Cloud Cuckoo Lander: The characters in his work all seem pretty insane or dysfunctional.
  • Color Contrast: He has written many blog posts detailing how to properly use Color Contrast in animation. He's also noted how anime is brimming with good color mixers (an unusual break from his general dislike for modern animation).
  • Complaining About Shows You Don't Watch: A rather infamous one regarding Animaniacs: under the pseudonym Tom Paine, he bashed the show before it aired, even admitting he hadn't watched a full episode (supposedly out of spite to Tom Rugger and the staff of Tiny Toon Adventures due to Creative Differences).
  • Darker and Edgier: His cartoons in contrast to what else was coming out in the 90's—what other cartoon of the early 90's can you name where characters go through nightmarish psychodramas, brutally beat up someone for playing mind games with them, or pluck the roots of teeth from their gums? His work after the original Ren and Stimpy tends to crank up the vulgarity and adult subject matter even more, and far more than even most modern adult cartoons are willing to go.
  • Depending on the Artist: John took this trope Up to Eleven, allowing his artists to experiment with their own individual styles on the show, as a callback to how Bob Clampett allowed his animators to deviate from the characters model sheets to make a specific pose or expression. Also see Off-Model below.
  • Deranged Animation: He considers this to be the main appeal of cartoons - pretty much the biggest reason he got into the animation industry was to bring this back to what he considered the less interesting cartoons of the '80s.
  • Digital Destruction: Trope Namer is one of his articles which goes into how the "restorations" of older cartoons are actually making them worse than before. He apparently wrote the articles in response to poor "restorations" of the Ren and Stimpy DVD boxsets brought on by DVNR.
  • Fanservice: His works, especially his post-Ren and Stimpy works, are loaded with curvy and busty, often skimpily dressed or occasionally nude girls, and he considers sexy girls to be an important part of cartoons. See "Naked Beach Frenzy" for just one example of this.
  • Freudian Excuse: His father supposedly never had a high opinion of his interest in becoming a cartoonist instead of taking up a "manlier" profession like sports, and regularly made fun of his shrimpy stature. Any time he portrays father figures (such as Anthony's Dad or George Liquor), he's clearly working some issues out.note 
  • Getting Crap Past the Radar: Whether you love him or hate him, you have to give Kricfalusi credit for reviving the kind of edge and audacity that makes censors cry and has been lacking in cartoons since the late 1960s. The very name of his old company, Spumco, is this.note 
  • Gray and Grey Morality: You won't be finding much clear cut morality in his works. All of his characters are either batshit crazy or have some serious vices or personality flaws that cause conflict between each other.
  • Grossout Show: Trope Maker is The Ren & Stimpy Show. He took this Up to Eleven in Adult Party Cartoon. Nowadays, he's become tired of gross-out gags and wishes to focus more on personality and acting in his cartoons.
  • Gross-Up Close-Up: Pioneered use of this in Ren and Stimpy.
  • Growing with the Audience: He tried this with Ren and Stimpy Adult Party Cartoon, and didn't exactly get a positive response.
  • Homoerotic Subtext: A John K trademark. Used all over his cartoons, especially Ren & Stimpy. He's also a specialist on finding such content in other cartoons, particularly Disney films.
  • Later Installment Weirdness: His recent cartoons from around the 2010s and on abandoned the famous pose to pose Limited Animation and gross out humor style of Ren and Stimpy in favor of a very loose, downright surrealistic style of animation and humor, and rarely if ever have anything resembling plots or narratives. He claims after he got to watch a ton of early 1930s cartoons, he had simply grown bored with his old style and decided to go in a different direction.
  • Not So Different: Allegedly at least. He was constantly at war with Nickelodeon executives during the production of The Ren and Stimpy Show, accusing them of neutering the creativity of the show and delaying production with constant edit demands. However many people who worked for John claim he had a similar habit of stifling them and making production difficult. The episode "Stimpy's Cartoon Show" was meant to be John's Take That! to Executive Meddling, though when he left the show, the creative team made it a Take That! to him.
  • Off-Model: John took this trope to the extreme — he never used model sheets beyond establishing a general idea of what the character looks like, and made it a literal rule to never, EVER draw a character the same way, or with the same expression or pose more than once. He believes that characters ought to have just a few general rules on how they appear, and the rest should be up to the artists to exaggerate them as they see fit. Note that he does not mean "Draw Badly" — he still has his artists use essential skills like construction and line of action, because as he pointed out, something about the drawing has to make sense, or the artist will have no control over their work.
  • Rated M for Manly: His works are shamelessly chauvinistic and go out of their way to play this up as part of their un-PC nature. It should come as no surprise since Kirk Douglas is John K's idol, as well as the fact that John is a big fan of film noir and the absolutely brutal 90's period of UFC.
  • Signature Style: Grossout gags and surreal cartoon drawings, often combined with "psychodramas" (as Nickelodeon called them), although he eventually moved on from grossout humor after getting tired of using it.
  • Sliding Scale of Idealism vs. Cynicism: His works land on the Cynicism end of the scale, especially in Ren and Stimpy: Adult Party Cartoon. He has no tact when it comes to discussing offensive subject matter or the hardships of life and being a cartoonist. His definition of a real cartoonist (using cartoonists like Virgil Partch and Robert Crumb as examples) is basically that it requires you to be a hard edged, salty person who has a no nonsense outlook on life, but plays its hardships and the faults and hypocrisy of humanity for laughs. This, more than any other reason, is why he is in favor of cartoon animation of the kind like Fleischer and Warner Bros. did as opposed to that of Disney, whose worldview and style of cartooning is as far as you can get from that kind of abrasive outlook. Heck, one of the unfinished episodes for Adult Party Cartoon was called "Life Sucks", and its every bit as nihilistic as you'd expect.
  • Sliding Scale of Realistic Versus Fantastic: All of his works land on the Surreal end of the scale, especially his cartoons from 2010 and on.
  • Surreal Humor: His works relied on this kind of comedy as much as they do vulgar gags. Take for example the living duck bill gag in "Altruists" or the visual gags present in the music videos he animated on. His works from 2010 and on play up the surrealist gags and animation even more.
  • Technician vs. Performer: Split right in the middle. He strongly believes you should be a very skilled artist to be an animator, but also believes said skills should be in the service of entertaining an audience and not just focusing solely on refining your skills in craftsmanship.
  • The Twelve Principles of Animation: He feels only the first five (Solid Drawing, Appeal, Exaggeration, Staging and Timing) are truly essential principles, pointing to shows like Roger Ramjet to prove that no matter how low budget your animation is, you can still make a great cartoon using these principles alone. With that said, he has been experimenting with full animation in the name of funny movement, due to now being bored with pose-to-pose animation like he did on Ren and Stimpy.
  • Vulgar Humor: Very, very much in favor of this and playing shocking, politically incorrect subjects for laughs. Ren and Stimpy is most famous for this due to its Grossout Show nature, but his work after that cranks it up even further. In an interview discussing Spumco Comic Book, he made it clear that his intention for it was to completely spit in the face of political correctness.
    "There's this whole fucking Barbra Streisand movement to make people pretend they're not human; that they don't have human desires and they don't say human things in real life, and all it does is frustrate your natural urges. Eventually we're all going to become mass murderers. We're suppressing everything that comes natural to us. If there is any place where you should let out all of your frustrations, it's entertainment. Everybody has evil dirty thoughts. Most men love pretty girls; you're not supposed to love pretty girls anymore, which is like *insane.* If you hate all that stuff, you should buy our comic book. Our comic book is all about humanity. It's about the things that you really think about but you're afraid to say to anybody."