New Adult Swim Bumpers from John K

John K. has several new pieces of animation coming up – bumpers for Adult Swim – that explore a more abstract style. I have no idea if these have aired yet, but John is posting clips and discussing them on his John K. Stuff blog.

Eddie Fitzgerald thinks this (below) is “one of the funniest walks in the history of TV animation“. He might be right.

UPDATE – Here’s one that did air:


  • Keegan

    Yesssss, I love John K.

    I’m happy to see him doing work, and I love how he’s experimenting with UPA style.

  • Ryan Storm

    One of them aired, it’s called “Critter Fence.”
    Search it on youtube

    • http://www.cartoonresearch.com Jerry Beck

      Thanks Ryan. I added it to the post.

  • http://hobsonproductions.blogspot.com/ Kevin

    Nicely bizarre. John K. always had a way making such wild and zany animation.

  • Tony C

    From time to time when you’re keyframing. Your gonna have those frames you love.. but you know sometimes.. when inbetweening… that they will never work. It hurts.. but you should let them go, for the good of the final piece.

    • david

      it’s true. every drawing counts, if the drawings fit properly between the previous and later drawings. John is not Jim Tyer nor is he Bob Jaques.

  • Mat H

    Yup, that’s John K alright. These are a lot of fun!

  • Jason H

    I’m probably in the minority but I don’t really like that walk in the 2nd clip. Mainly because it has a mechanical ‘Flash’ feel to it that really ruins the organic quality of the facial shapes and expressions. Really wrecks what John K is really known for and a bit odd considering his distaste for technology overtaking instead of supporting animation.

    Diggin’ that third one though.

    • http://beesbuzz.biz/ fluffy

      Eh, John K is also the first to point out that he’s one of the first people to have done real animation in Flash.

      • Snagglepuss

        #humblebrag

      • Snagglepuss

        Also, I don’t know why this bothers me, maybe because I’m on the internet, but Alien Hominid and Castle Crashers are gorgeous flash animated games, and Hominid was around 2001. Krisfaluci does good work, but to call yourself the first or one of the first is very disrespectful to the people who were actually there.

      • joe

        Um, no. John was doing flash cartoons in 1997. Get your facts straight.

      • Snagglepuss

        What was he doing in 1997? Are there links anywhere?

      • tom

        Harry Partridge, Adam Philips plus a whole host of flash animators do a much better job animating in flash than John K., simply because they understand the technology better.

        As far as i’m aware, JK hates everything made after the 1970′s?

      • joe

        @Snagglepuss
        They (The Goddamn George Liquor Program, and I think Weekend Pussy Hunt) used to be hosted on Spumco.com before Spumco closed down. You can still find them on youtube. They’re pretty primitive now, due to new technology and no one having dial-up any more, but at the time they were revolutionary.

        @tom
        Can’t argue with that, but I never said that he was the best flash animator or anything.

        Well, John likes Jamie Hewlett and Bill Watterson.

  • Saturnome

    I think I need help, I can’t stop replaying that Critters Fence thing

  • Frank

    Tony C, the vaults are full of pictures that ‘work’ that will be forgotten next week.

    • Tony C

      I agree… and bins full of pap forgotten sooner.

  • Dave Smith

    I wonder if John will ever remember how to animate and design so the audience can actually see what’s going on.
    John can be incredible IF he wants… but there is no more discipline in his work.
    I think he had discipline for maybe 6 months in his whole career.

    Make fun of Chuck Jones’ eyelashes… but All of John’s stuff for the past two decades has been ONLY eyelashes!

  • Joe

    I wonder why everything he draws is so ugly now. What happened to the appeal?

    But I still like these bumpers, especially the critters fence one.

    • http://www.olivier-vuil.com Olivier Vuil

      I think one of John’s motto is to show us that appeal = not necessary cute or pretty.

      • Frank

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      • Sardonic Tuba

        Or appealing.

      • joe

        Well I wouldn’t exactly call Ren and Stimpy or the Dark Horse Spumco comics “cute or pretty”, but they were still very nice to look at. APC and Ripping Friends didn’t have that quality to them.

  • http://ryanrosendal.blogspot.com Ryan

    This is actually some of the more appealing stuff John K. has done in recent memory. I like seeing him really play around with color and trying to push the limits of form and structure in animation.

  • Bud

    I didn’t care much for the first clip above, but found the second clip marginally better. And I don’t disagree it’s probably some of the better work from spumco in a very long time.

    That said, I don’t find this work remotely appealing, entertaining, or even very good.The individual drawings are sometimes interesting, but the animation is very limited in expressive ideas. Like a bunch of theory in search of a way to communicate something.

    Not exactly sure what.

  • ferp

    Like Lucas or Spielberg, John K is a genius of his field, but without limits and control his creativity can quickly get out of hand. I think experimentation is great, but I’m a bigger fan of John K’s more (to quote someone above) disciplined work.

    Those first two are interesting, but I like the last one the best. The first two are really “tweeny” in bad way. It doesn’t help that the expressions are mostly inbetweened on ones without any real texture to them.

    I dunno, I’m probably in the minority here, who knows.

  • http://www.oddballcomics.com Scott Shaw!

    Mike Kazaleh did some animation on the third piece.

  • http://exclusive-cheese.deviantart.com/ Taco Wiz

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    • Joe

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  • Jorge Garrido

    AMAZING Stuff! John is making fun of UPA comnmercials, and his new style of drawing that’s developed in recent years looks influenced by Rex Hackelberg! Great stuff!

  • Al

    The reason the last one is so likable is that it’s a finished promo. The first two are mere snippets of a different promo that apparently has yet to air. If you had the entire UPA style promo up here, people would find that one likable, too. John K. may not be able to turn any more than short bits loose until the promos air.

  • Hulk

    This sucks cuz’ it’s not enough like ‘Family Guy’!…. KIDDING. I’m just saying the opposite of what most people usually say here. —Bravo John K. Love the Critter Fence. Those characters need their own show.

  • Matt Sullivan

    Not a John K fan, but I like these. He’s definitely a great animator and designer.

    [Comment edited. Please keep the discussion focused on the work and not on tangential opinions related to the artist.]

  • Rosa

    i love how these are in quicktime format (going through animation frame-by-frame makes me happy).

  • http://www.tjrmusic.com TJR

    Come back when your 36 years old! …..PUNKS!!!!

    I keep playing it over and over…..and I keep laughing

  • YOUR NEIGHBOUR

    B.clampett meets picasso.GREAT
    hell to the purist

  • LazyBoy

    Like other said, I feel like in the minority but I don’t enjoy the second video so much. The contrast between traditionnal animation and Flash’s interpolations is annoying, plus there are way yoo much different facial expressions.
    I’m a junior animator and I’m always told to be as clear as possible with my characters’ expressions, so I’m pretty surprised to see this ten-different-facial-expressions-in-three-seconds soup receiving so much great feedback.

    In the other hand, I think the first clip is genius and the third one is really good.

  • Or maybe…

    Eddie Fitzgerald thinks this (below) is “one of the funniest walks in the history of TV animation“. He might be right.

    Then again, he might be very, very wrong.

    • http://kelseighn.blogspot.com Kelseigh

      I’d award that to Goofy in Motor Mania.

      To be honest, the cat walks don’t seem to be walking at all, but sliding. Everything else seems okay, especially the elephant and ape, they’re quite fun.

  • amid

    John continues to operate on a different plane than the rest of the industry. He’s always been a few steps ahead of the pack artistically because he values the ability to experiment with the cartoon form and to take risks that push cartoon art to new places. Sometimes his ideas work and sometimes they don’t, but I have the utmost respect for someone who puts himself on the line so often.

    I’ve seen the full versions of all of these “Adult Swim” bumpers (and not just these snippets) and there’s an audaciousness and energy contained within that is quite unique. In some of them, he applies a deconstructionist approach in which he systematically takes apart the elements of cartoon characters until the viewer is forced to see the characters in a new way. John is proving yet again that cartooning isn’t a bunch of ready-made cliches but a medium full of discoveries yet to be made.

    • Jackson

      I wouldn’t say he’s “a few steps ahead” at ALL. To the side? Yes. On his own path? Sure. But not necessarily “ahead.” Different for different sake isn’t always ((and certainly not in these examples) better. Just different.

      • amid

        Call it whatever you want, Jackson. John has influenced more trends in this industry than any other artist of the past 30 years. From the revival of “cartoony” cartoons to visual gross-out humor to stylized Hanna-Barbara revivals and pioneering Flash animation techniques, John has been ahead of the pack. Maybe “a few steps ahead” was the wrong choice of words, it should have been miles ahead.

      • Jason H

        It really sucks that he hasn’t been really rewarded for it other than fellow artist recognition.

      • Snagglepuss

        Well, he seems difficult to work with. Calling your old bosses smelly hippies won’t get you employed much with anyone except other animation nerds (like the Adult Swim guys!)

        That said, producing things independently, now that it’s relatively cheap, seems to be working out for him.

  • http://www.daryl-rhystaylor.co.uk DarylT

    I don’t think they work very well as bumpers. You can’t just be odd without a reason and appeal.

    • http://ryanrosendal.blogspot.com Ryan

      You should see some of Adult Swim’s other bumpers. They make John’s look very conservative!

      • http://aalong64.blogspot.com Aaron Long

        “They don’t work very well as bumpers”?? !

        What purpose do bumpers serve, other than to catch your attention and remind you what channel you’re watching? I think these do both incredibly well.

      • http://daryl-rhystaylor.blogspot.com DarylT

        A bumper should be memorable. These seem to be just random nonsense that you forget in two seconds.

    • Kyle Maloney

      Have you even seen Adult Swim? Their entire line up is odd without reason or appeal. (not that I don’t find John’s bumpers appealing, because I do)

      • http://daryl-rhystaylor.blogspot.com DarylT

        No we don’t have it in the UK. But I can judge a bumper. Everyone on here is sighting how much a genius John K is but to be quite honest his work is nothing but gross out nonsense with some actual bad drawings. It’s the same one thing over and over again. For pete’s sake it’s just a talking eyeball. The walk doesn’t even animate very well.

      • tom

        We do have adult swim in the UK, or at least we did. I remember watching Harvey Birdman, Sealab 2021 and Space ghost coast to coast. It was originally part of CN if I remember correctly.

  • http://dltad.blogspot.com A.M.Bush

    I’m gonna watch that third one forever now

  • http://elblogderg.blogspot.com Roberto

    I also liked it more when he didn’t try to distort the characters so much in every frame. In Adult Party Cartoon there were some appealing drawings, but often Ren and Stimpy looked like this:

    http://johnkstuff.blogspot.com/uploaded_images/altruists_05g-756676.jpg

    Not very appealing.

    This, from the old ones, looks more appealing:
    http://www.dvdtimes.co.uk/protectedimage.php?image=MichaelMackenzie/rsuncut-05.jpg

    That said, I quite like the first and third clips. I’d even say I love the third one, the music and sound effects are fantastic and also the composition, animation and general idea. It’s a same it’s so short.

    But , even though the character designs are hilarious, I can’t help but think some of faces could be a little more cute if they had bigger eyes. Especially the gorilla and her son, their eyes are tiny and that makes them less appealing. The elephant is pretty nice, though.

    • Keegan

      I strongly disagree that the second snapshot has more appeal.

      • YOUR NEIGHBOUR

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      • http://elblogderg.blogspot.com Roberto

        Not the best example, but I do think it has more appeal. Is your point that both have the same appeal or that the APC one has more appeal?

        Maybe this is a better comparative:

        http://bestuff.com/images/images_of_stuff/210×600/ren–stimpy-4533.jpg

        Rounded and cute.

        http://images.tvrage.com/shows/5/4974.jpg

        Ren looks less rounded, Stimpy looks more fat, their faces are less cute. Especially Stimpy’s.

        I get one is for “kids” and the other for “adults”, but I still missed some of the more appealing, rounded drawings from the original show.

      • Keegan

        I think it’s all about the expression. When it’s drawn so exaggerated and “messy” as some would call it, it gives off a better understanding of the feeling the characters are conveying for the audience. I will say that, yes the first one is well rounded, but I don’t see anything that stands out about it. I wouldn’t hold it in high regard, because it looks generic.

      • http://elblogderg.blogspot.com Roberto

        I see your point and even agree to a certain extent, but in general I find it more pleasing when some of those rounded and -so to speak- “cute” expressions are there. It’s not like the old ones didn’t have their weird and “ugly” poses too. But even the ugly poses were kind of “more cute”. I especially love Ren’s animation when he gets mad at the ending of “Sven Hoek”.

        APC has good drawings and certainly has its moments, but I kinda get more tired of the general look after a while. This and the pacing being slower and the gags being a little too gross sometimes. But I still think it was an interesting show with some good ideas.

      • Keegan

        I agree that the episodes had scenes that dragged on way too long. And yeah, Ren and Stimpy got a bit too stylized at points.

        I still like APC a whole lot.

  • Geneva

    I did some work with John on another bumper that isn’t up here. He showed me the Critter Fence one a while back and I fell in love. John is remarkably inventive and a total joy to learn under! I really hope more projects like these come his way!

  • akira

    i just want to see him making 10 minute shorts again! his cartooning is the best, but combined with his dialogue and drama it’s even better! i wouldn’t complain about him doing a half hour show but if it’s split into 2 stories you get 2 for the price of one! i wonder if adult party ren and stimpy would have worked if it was 2 toons and some RandS bumpers in each episode, as the show was originally formatted?…

  • Priory

    If these bumpers are so good why doesn’t Adult Swim just give him a whole show?

    • Ryan Storm

      I wish they would, He-Hog or even a short based on that “Can’s Without Labels” pitch he did would be great!

  • http://www.olivier-vuil.com Olivier Vuil

    I still hope to see someday the Donald Bastard storyboard he put on his blog animated !
    http://johnkstuff.blogspot.com/search/label/pooberty%20fist

  • http://www.bishopanimation.com Floyd Bishop

    I like the third one (the fence spot), but the others don’t work well enough in motion. A still of any frame would make a great poster, but in motion, they don’t work well enough. The poses play kind of like a song with all the notes being held for the same length, with no emphasis on the better drawings or easing into or out of any of them to really let the viewer appreciate what they’re seeing.

    Are these maybe tests or something, or are they really the final pieces? I can’t believe that the timing is intentional, with so much John K stuff of the past having such great timing.

    • JimTheAnimator

      The guy who really held stuff together on the best Ren and Stimpy episodes was Bob Jaques and the crew at Carbunkle. They really made the stuff work.

      “As I have said in the past – animating for R&S was a problem solving process – trying to get all the layouts to work together to look seamless and make the animation ‘sing’ was a challenge. It took extra work to mask all the volume changes that were often between layouts – and that meant making key drawings to hide those volume changes. To say that it’s just inbetweening and that inbetweens are unimportant is ludicrous.”

      -Bob Jaques

      http://popeyeanimators.blogspot.com/2009/03/ot-interlude-of-shameless-self.html

  • http://www.audioshocker.com Nick Marino

    That third one is awesome!

  • Jeffy Lube

    Behold! The work of a retired animator who desperately needs focus. For as much as John K. picks apart other people’s animation, it’s funny that he lets it all hang out with his own stuff. Sad. Hypocritical and sad.

    Physician, heal thyself!

  • http://pipsqueakscorner.blogspot.com Pedro Vargas

    I think it’s genius work!! The style of movement in the animation is so unique. That’s what I love about John’s work. He always gives you something fresh and new and doesn’t stop! Beautiful cartoony goodness as always!

  • Jane

    I saw the third one on Adult Swim a few weeks ago. It could be kinda cool if it was done traditionally… but because it’s flash I think it lacks, something… I don’t know, I don’t like flash when it’s used to animated something with outlines.

    The other two, are too short and things change too quickly for me to get anything from them.

  • Andrew

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  • Steven M.

    I love the Critter Fence one, I can’t wait to see the other two finished.

  • Michel Van

    to John K.: WE LOVE YOUR WORK !!!

  • http://www.oddballcomics.com Scott Shaw!

    The screaming chimp SFX at the end of “Critter Fence” is a great “button”. I often use that sound inappropriately (mixed with other noises) for a big reaction of human characters; it’s always funny!

    If anything, I think John’s developing better focus in his work. That Weird Al video, “Close But No Cigar”, is one of his most watchable pieces, with everything timed for the eye to discern. Same thing with “Critter Fence”; it visually tells a fun little story in only 17 seconds.

  • Steve Ryder

    I’m sorry Eddie but the best walk cycle of all time is in Stimpy’s Invention. Its a belly button driven walk cycle. After all these years it still cracks me up!
    skip to 2:23
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C8c86Q0fUT0&feature=related

  • http://www.frankpanucci.com Frank Panucci

    ‘Critter Fence’ reminds me of the old ROCKY AND BULLWINKLE interstitials. That’s a good thing. The Quicktime videos crash my browser so I haven’t seen them yet.

    The amount of hostility in this thread is surprising. Nifty new John K animation for broadcast is rare these days – - -

  • rambot

    Everybody keeps saying Flash, but I don’t think these were done in Flash. They were done in Toonboom, which is way different than Flash. Just wanted to point that out.

    • Jason H

      Still has the same mechanical look.

      • Mike Luzzi

        The mechanical look here is by choice. Plenty of people produce fluid animation using both of the software mentioned. It is a tool.

        If you are lazy and choose to lean heavily on the computer creating your in-betweens you will likely have mechanical looking animation… or if you are a “genius” you may choose to tween solid drawings for a “style”

  • Confusion

    I know this guy’s work is held in high regard, and understand why.
    That said, I know what I like, and I don’t like these. They all look messy and visually unappealing imo.

  • http://dmgermain.blogspot.com David Germain

    There’s nothing really to say about these except that they’re all fun to watch which I’m sure is exactly what John K. was aiming for. So, for just that reason, I say they are well done. They don’t shatter the universe but they don’t make it want to put a gun to its head either. They work.

  • tommy

    Goodness gracious, people. This is for Adult Swim. ADULT SWIM. AND IT’S A DAMN BUMPER. Everything John K. has done in the past 20 years isn’t exactly like this. This is a bumper. For Adult Swim. John K. clearly knows the purpose of a bumper and what Adult Swim is like. Adult Swim, which has shows like Tim and Eric and Superjail… Jesus, people.

  • Chris

    I got mix feeling about, John K. His getting in that weird area that only him and a few of his followers will understand his “genius” behind his animation… It’s getting so wacky/push/out of control that it actuly looks…well…. bad. :oS

  • Paul

    Hey Amid,

    I worked with John on one of the spots that haven’t aired yet. Feel free to email me if you want any info.

    -Paul

  • http://www.classicparamountcartoons.blogspot.com ParamountCartoons

    did anyone mention the toon in the first video sounds like Popeye?

  • http://zeteos.blogspot.com/ mick

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  • http://cjdoodles.blogspot.com/ CJ

    @ Olivier Vuil

    Of course you don’t have to be cute of pretty to be appealing. But animating a piece of poorly design garbage does not effectively back up this claim.

    The animation is nice, but most of the characters designs are down right boring, and not at all appealing look at. The last one with the critters is pretty well done and some of the animals there ugly but appealing.

    Seems as though John K of late is more of a hit and miss. Similar to a lot of the hit and miss programs he creates.

    • Keegan

      The designs are great cartoony goodness in the third one, and the first two are a take on the UPA style. Which is “boring” I guess, if you have the IQ of a small child who likes Michael Bay movies.

  • The Gee

    They sure are funny looking. I hope he got paid well and had fun doing them.

    The way I see it: if he got them approved, the client likes ‘em. That probably should matter more than what I think.

    But, pssssst….I have rarely bothered to watch Adult Swim, like, ever. It isn’t intentional or anything; it just don’t happen. And, I know someone who had a show in it (sigh. to feel happy for him and to feel bad for not seeing it…)

    From what I’ve seen of Adult Swim, these probably work swell enough for bumpers. The audience should love ‘em.

  • Jorge Garrido

    So I guess to sum it up, everyone’s a critic, eh, guys?

    • Snagglepuss

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  • Keegan

    Disney or Pixar does something: OMG THIS IS GREAT KEEP UP THE GOOD WORK.

    John K does something: You see, here’s what you should change…

    • http://yeldarb86.deviantart.com Mr. Semaj

      Disney or Pixar does something: OMG, THEY CAN’T DO ANYTHING RIGHT ANYMORE!

      John K does something: You see, THIS is how you make cartoons.

      • Dr. Ivo Robotnik

        Semaj’s post is actually taken from John’s perspective.

      • Deerhunter Dawg

        Come to think of it, wasn’t there a post here where the blogger straight up began looking for negative (or as he called it “interesting”) things to say about Pixar?

  • ZiggyStardust

    I love it when animation pushes boundaries and isn’t the same old stuff. but these…..and let me preface and say I love love ren and stimpy. but these are weird for the sake of weird. animation for the sake of animation. over animated and full of john ks theories crammed together for the sake of simply being there.

  • Aha! Ha-ah!

    “The funniest walks in the history of TV animation”?

    Hardly. There was so much happening at once that I could barely tell what was actually going on during that walk. I’m not seeing the ‘genius’ here. Just a bunch of sloppy drawings and bizarre facial distortions that are difficult to read at best.

  • http://johnpannozzi.blogspot.com John Pannozzi

    I’d love to see a new show from John K., but with Michael Pataki dead, who could possibly be the voice of George Liquor. Could a show solely about the supporting characters from George’s world (Jimmy, Sody, Slab ‘n’ Ernie, etc.) work?

    In any case, Amid, could you please tell whatever happened to that Art of Spumco/John K. book you were working on?

    • amid

      It won’t be coming out anytime soon. Blame this guy. His ineptitude singlehandedly destroyed what could have been an awesome book.

      • Keegan

        Seriously? Oh man, I was so excited for that book. What exactly did Dan do?

  • Tim Drage

    for the record the funniest walk in the history of Cinema animation is Ponyo when she grows weird chicken legs