New Internet ads by John K.

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John Kricfalusi has done four mini animated pieces for Raketu, a new internet/cell phone entertainment/communication service. John has been blogging about the creation of these spots (one of which includes George Liquor). I love how John solved a problem by recalling a Roger Ramjet cartoon technique for inspiration. I can’t vouch for the service, but these little cartoons are fun.


  • http://thisischris.com Chris

    I’m having trouble actually finding the movies on the Raketu site. Any direct links available?

  • http://gagaman.blogspot.com GagaMan

    Definitely liked those Sody Pop and George Liquor ones, but the other two were far too limited for John’s way of animating, and not very interesting, and generally feel more thrown together. Still, he is doing a nice job with these.

  • Ron

    This is what the guy who dismisses all modern animation as creatively bankrupt comes up with?

    Could he at least get people who have some voice over skill at the mic?

    Embarrassing.

  • http://pupick.blogspot.com/ PCUnfunny

    It’s amazing what John can do with such limited animation. I enjoyed the Sody Pop one the best.

  • http://doubleben.blogspot.com/ Emmett Goodman

    John K. does it again.

    I agree with GagaMan. The last two were a little too limited, but the George Liquor and Sody Pop ones were just fantastic. The posing and the humor are terrific. John Kricfalusi’s definitely got his own brand of humor as well as his own animating style (not to mention one of the most informative blogs I have ever read). I love how he manages to sneak his own humor into these commercials without straying too far from the point.

    Well done Mr. K.

  • http://wardomatic.blogspot.com Ward

    You know, I’d love to see some John K. Flash animation done like it’s 2007, not 2000. I mean, c’mon! Give us an inbetween or two! Sure the budget was limited, but we’re talking about one or two more drawings — how is that going to hurt the bottom line? Just a couple more drawings would make the animation much more appealing.

  • http://www.cartoonsolutions.com Ryan Simmons

    I totally agree with Ward: John’s stuff still feels like it’s early web animation. The Sody Pop one was the best of the bunch because at least it was motion tweened at a high frame rate. But the rest were just posed out. I know he complains in his blog that the budget was limited, but you can’t blame that for not even talking the time to tween arm movements. I do find it pretty hypocritical to be ranting about animation and design elements and then we he has his moment to shine and prove his worth, he just whips something out without any attempt to show he himself has progressed since the Spumco days.

    If you’re gonna talk the talk, you need to walk the walk as well.

  • http://members.shaw.ca/petemslie/index.htm Pete Emslie

    Whatever limitations may have been imposed by budget and time constraints, these ads are pretty nice. Just like his heroes at Hanna-Barbera in the early 60′s did with TV, John K has found a way to adapt to the limitations of the internet and still come up with a good-looking result. Still, it does make me wish that he’ll once again find a home on broadcast TV to produce another cartoon series that can match the greatness of his original “Ren and Stimpy” shows. There is a liveliness in his art, even evidenced in his still poses, that is superior to most of what we’re currently seeing in TV animation.

    Despite my reservations over some of what he says on his blog (especially his dismissiveness of much of Disney’s output, even in the Walt era), I have to acknowledge that John is a truly brilliant and funny CARTOONIST – a rare breed these days. He should be back on TV where he rightfully belongs.

  • Donnie

    yeah agreed. I hate to be negative about someone like mr. K, but this stuff is really redundant… even IF he did it for a sack of money which would fund other, more innovative things

  • http://www.milkmoneycartoons.com Ohjeepers

    When it comes to commercial work, the old phrase “Time is Money� is an ever present realty. Looking at the four spots that John did you can see that some where obviously given more effort than others.

    This is exactly what people like Chuck Jones did when they could put more resources towards a “What’s Opera Doc� by skimping on a roadrunner. It seems like John took a meager budget and tried to get the most out of it. I think that the drawing, Inking and coloring is top notch for all of these. This is especially true for this type of web ad.

    Perhaps someone could point out a better series of ads done for a similar budget? Context is really important when judging this type of thing. Sure you can always make something better with just a little more time and/or effort, but when you start giving away a bunch of YOUR free time and energy to clients – who losses?

    Personally, my favorite one was the Billy “Bling – Bling – Blingâ€? ad, and that was one of the cheaper ones!

  • Murray Bain

    I think John does these type of low paying gigs because of the creative freedom they afford him. He does what he wants, sacrificing on inbetweens. (And yes, “a few more” thick and thin self trace spumco quality cleanups DO drastically effect the bottom line in a WEB AD budget)
    I wish someone would give john a big bag of cash. but like Ayn rand’s “the fountainhead”, he doesn’t build to have clients, he has clients so he can build.

    Animation is a now a complete compromise, it is nigh impossible to find a well paying client who doesn’t have the hubris to tell you EXACTLY how to draw, and what to draw. I admire john’s integrity.

    here’s some 2006 animation John did with a decent budget, lots of inbetweens here:

    CLASSICO

    CLOSE BUT NO CIGAR

    besides, held cels and no inbetweens are part of spumco brand humor. Like count basie, sometimes it’s the notes you dont play.
    (yourwatchingacartoon yourwatchingacartoon )

    Like french new wave cinema; obvious rear projection, obvious lighting cues.(yourwatchingamovie yourwatchingamovie yourwatchingamovie)

  • Paul

    Chris, go to the main Raketu page and click on the larger George Liquor on the bottom right side of the screen. That’ll take you to all four clips.

    As for the spots themselves… meh

  • http://wardomatic.blogspot.com Ward

    Umm, no, I don’t think that “a few more” drawings would make a difference, “spumco quality” or not.

    Sure, hold cels and no inbetweens have been done by some of the best, most notably Looney Tunes, etc. But when you watch those cartoons you don’t notice it. With all these examples here, plus the videos linked, there’s no mistake that you’re watching a cartoon — that’s fine. But the BIG difference here is that you know that you’re watching a FLASH cartoon and that is not something that you want to make evident, “spumco quality” or not.

  • Don

    Agreed. For someone so preachy about quality, it isn’t evident in these stinkers. So what if the budget was low? That doesn’t mean you can’t go above and beyond to make it something to be proud of.

    Outside of that, the mood of these videos is just creepy. I’m not left with a feeling that I want to run out and buy this product…it’s quite the opposite. In the end, these feel like a parody of a commercial vs a real commercial

    Definitely a far cry from John’s amazing old Navy commercials.

  • Munroe

    God…I wish John K would listen to his own rantings and hire professional voice-actors when it comes to his female characters instead of having whatever 20 year old female fans/wannabe artists he’s currently infatuated with do the voices. The terrible female voices were one of the things that sunk “Naked Beach Frenzy” and it’s annoying here too.

    Aside from that, the usual masturbatory crap from John K.

  • ZEE

    Here’s a comment I posted on John’s blog, which apparently did not make the administrative cut. Gee, wonder why?

    Warning: lightly censored profanity ahead.

    Sorry, don’t like these. At all. Here’s why:

    • First and foremost, the sort of self-indulgent, cringe-inducing crap that John is known for, while one could argue endlessly about its place in his real cartoons, DOES NOT F*@#ING BELONG IN ADVERTISEMENTS. If the intent is to create tension as part of a narrative, fine, but the creepy-weird endings of the Sody and George spots were, for me at least, totally off-putting. That’s placing your own tastes above what is best for the client and their image, and that is NOT cool and not acceptable. Clients tend to be scared little rodents anyway, albeit occasionally the rabid sort, and this kind of thing is not going to have them battering down your doors for more of the same. Trust me, it’s just not.

    • John, I know you love the corny, glad-handing sort of sugar-coated hard sell that was the norm in the ’50s and early ’60s, but there is a reason that it’s not used anymore (which is the same reason it works as parody so well), and that’s because it comes off as hopelessly antiquated to modern sensibilities (yes, I know you hate those, but let’s stick to the idea of getting actual paying work here for a sec). I find this sort of stuff charming too, but mainly in its context — and it serves the whole idea of a supposedly cutting-edge Internet service REALLY poorly, to say the least. No more appropriate here than a Model A would be for one’s daily commute. Seriously tone-deaf, AGAIN, as far as selling an image goes. Which is really too bad, because retro graphics are currently not only quite acceptable, but — god help us — “hip,” so I initially thought this approach had promise until I saw the ads.

    •  GET SOME NEW CHARACTERS. Sorry, John, I loves me some George Liquor, but America is never, ever going to follow suit, and no fresh attempt to cram him down the throats of the viewing public is ever going to turn him into an affable spokesmodel beloved by millions. Especially when he’s talking about EATING HUMAN SKIN fer chrissakes. And I know you can do better than Billy Buttbiscuit, or whatever that pasty blob in the third spot was called. I know that may be close to what a lot of ‘Net spuds see in the mirror every morning, but I don’t think this is a character anyone is going to be overly eager to identify with. Then again, portraying your target audience as fat sacks of shit seems to work for beer commercials, so whaddoo I know?

    •  The audio sounds like it was recorded on someone’s laptop. I’ll forgive the budgetarily restricted animation, but surely there’s GOT to be a better way than this? All those PoPPing Ps! If you don’t know someone with a decent home setup, then budget for some studio time, because the audio on these spots sticks out like a sore ass.

    So, them’s my beefs. I expect I’ll be flayed alive from all corners for this, but I gots to call ‘em like I sees ‘em.