Imitation is the Sincerest Form of Incompetence

Really now, c’mon EcoZone.tv. If you’re going to hire somebody to ape somebody else’s style from concept through design through gags, wouldn’t it be more respectable to hire the real McCoy. Little suprise that whoever is responsible for producing the animation isn’t taking credit for it online.


  • Paul

    Maybe they wanted the spot completed before the end of the decade, or without fart and poop jokes…

  • Graham

    Ya know, I could be wrong but I think there were fart jokes all over that thing…

    I think they should have spent some more time studying John K’s blog than just pulling stills off the net. Yech!

  • Don

    Ha! Paul definitely hit the nail on the head. Granted, if John had done it, the drawings would have of been better…but it’d also of been laden with panty shots, weird sexual jokes (about screwing in a lightbulb), and grossout gags. I can understand why Ecozone went with a safer yet less talented alternative.

  • Siouxfire

    The old lightbulb pulled his hat out of his ass accompanied with fart noise and those rubbery breast-like pectorals… –It’s saccharine to JohnK’s sugar.

  • http://www.animationarchive.org Stephen Worth

    If John had done it, it would have been funny and original. Some folks have no shame when it comes to ripping off their peers.

  • boggle

    Sure it’s boring and not really well done. But it is done. They got it finished. As much as this idea stinks to any artist who would just like to work hard on something really neat… money folk want reliability. Ole’ John could probably learn something about these guys; learn something from these guys.

    It really doesn’t matter how right-on he may be in his theories and rantings. He hasn’t been a very good example of working in the business. Working so slow, firebombing his own projects (Beanie & Cecil), and being so much trouble to so many people (from Sheridan to Nick and on and on.)

    He could have done a vastly superior job on this commercial. But would he? That said, I’d be silly if I didn’t recognize Johns contributions. He is a great artist. His blog is great for the most part, but one has to be able to dissect it and remove the nuggets for a clear look. I am thankful that we have such access to him. He’s got cast iron nuts for putting himself out like that when everyone (That’s me too!) can take a shot at him.

  • Parnell

    What’s disturbing about this is that it’s so close as to be easily taken for Spumco work, yet it’s so poorly done that it amounts to libel. Adding to the problem is that lack of a credit for whoever did rip Spumco off…I mean, this is REALLY derivitave. If you think that’s just the way it goes–imagine if these characters were as closely modeled on other styles, such as the Simpsons or Family Guy. It wouldn’t stand up to a legal eyebrow raising. Very poor form.

  • http://www.quatermass.org.uk Drew Smith

    I would say there is enough stolen material there for John K to file a lawsuit.

  • http://www.mullein-fields.com Dennis Hyer

    This tells me that EcoZone doesn’t care about the environment. If they did they would have hired John to make a terrific ad that would have wowed everyone into buying these nifty lightbulbs by the gross. Shame on EcoZone and the copycats!

  • Keith Paynter

    “No sir…I don’t like it.”

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

    I don’t know that it’s an evil rip off. I think it borrows from John K in a similar fashion to the way he’s been borrowing from HB shorts. Check out the February 15th post from his blog to see what I’m talking about.

  • http://www.flyingiguannaproductions.com Zee

    I am not offended by the rip off of the SPUMCO style. Don Bluth’s ANASTASIA looked like any Disney princess film, Bruce Timm’s work looks like Jack Kirby, the show 6TEEN looks like the illustration style of Luc Latulippe, everyone draws like UPA these days, there are half a dozen shows that copy the style of BATMAN THE ANIMATED SERIES. Good for whoever did this commercial, they got to do something in the spumco style which must have been fun, and did a decent job, considering it’s flash and probably done on a tight budget and deadline.

    If someone asked me to do a commercial and said make it look like BATMAN, or make it look like SAMURAI JACK, I wouldn’t say no. I love those shows and I would try to do it as well as I could.

  • http://www.cartoonresearch.com/gerstein David Gerstein

    Admittedly, COW AND CHICKEN was just as derivative of John K’s creations—and produced by an ex-Spumcoite to boot! Of course, John K is known to like COW AND CHICKEN. Is talent the only reason one’s an affront and the other’s apparently free to go?

  • http://sandwichbag.blogspot.com Elliot Cowan

    Obviously it’s a bastardisation, but this “style” has become such a part of animation language (especially among young people) that it’s merely referring to all those other references.

  • Jorge Garrido

    >Is talent the only reason one’s an affront and the other’s apparently free to go?

    John doesn’t want people to rip off superficial aspects of his work, he likes originiality. That’s why his favourite modern cartoons are The Gorillaz.

    This was terrible, but then again, The Ripping Friends are also ripped on on

    The Fairly Oddparents
    The Venture Bros
    Captain Capitalism

  • http://www.jessica-plummer.com Jessica Plummer

    you know, this stuff happens all the time. remember the pop tart ads that looked like don hertzfeldt’s mark? but it usually fizzles quickly and it’s not like these are going to be genius animation spots that get world recognition for years to come.

  • http://gagaman.blogspot.com GagaMan

    “It’s Ripping (off) time!”

  • http://beesbuzz.biz/ fluffy

    From some of the comments here (and the original story), you’d think this was DeviantART. ZOMG ART THEIFS!!!

    There are a lot of animators using a John K-esque style. John K himself mostly cribbed his style from Tex Avery. So what? Judge a piece on its own merits, not how it could have been so much better if it were drawn by someone who may or may not have actually influenced the piece to begin with.

  • Ultrapaul

    I applaud EcoZone’s efforts in recycling. As we all know, creativity is a non-renewable resource in short supply. It is in the best interests of our children and our children’s children to reuse and recycle ideas whenever possible as it reduces the aggregate amount of food, clothing and shelter consumed per fiscal year.

  • http://animationwriters.blogspot.com Steve

    Holy crap!

    All those posts of John K’s about how to animate like him seem to really be paying off…

  • Parnell

    I’ll say it again: yes, sure, John Kricfalusi is heavily influenced by H-B, Ed Benedict, and Clampett(not at all so much Avery, but whatever).

    But this isn’t “sorta kinda like” or “influenced by” Spumco: the character design is EXACTLY like the guy from Ripping Friends–even to the peculiar hairdo. The girl is obviously a poorly-executed Spumco girl, much more than a generic(whatever that would be)Clampett-girl. To compare that spot to the admittedly adopted spumcoesque mouth shapes etc from “Cow & Chicken” is an incredible stretch.

    As for the person who thinks a homage like this is something wonderful…I’m at a total loss. So you’d really be able to rip Bruce Timm or the designers of Samurai Jack off directly if asked by a client with no shame whatsoever because you admire them so much? I think that’s pretty low. I also highly dount the original artists would be flattered.
    Btw, Bruce Timm is also an artist influenced by Kirby and Toth(who wasn’t mentioned), but he’s not COPYING them; I can see those three artists’ styles side by side and see the differences. Timm does his own take with his own slant and style. So does John K. vis a vis Clampett.
    Like it or not, there IS a crucial difference between “homage” and “ripoff”.

  • Ultrapaul

    OMG did you see that tangent on the shopping bag and the counter!? I hope that was some kind of animator in-joke or something.

  • http://www.wigheadfilms.com Robert

    I’m pretty sure this cartoon was produced by Camp Chaos. I can recognize Bob Cesca’s voice anywhere. And that animation style is pretty similar to the style used on Camp Chaos Presents Vh-1 ILL-ustrated. Camp Chaos is also known to produce animated flash shorts online and not put their names on it (their stuff on Heavy.com is a prime example of this).

  • amid

    For the record, I don’t think there’s anything legally questionable about doing this. But from the perspective of art, it’s lame. As in any other line of work, animation artists have a responsibility. To inform, challenge, entertain, provoke, illuminate. And to have so little respect for the art form and your audience that somebody believes it’s acceptable to copy another artist’s vision lock stock and barrel is beyond disheartening.

    Floyd – John’s borrowing of H-B elements is filtered through his own original voice. There was no point of view in this piece beyond a blatant attempt at aping somebody else’s stylistic trademarks. It’s a pretty easy distinction to make.

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

    From John K’s blog when talking about “A Yard Too Far”: “Let’s take the plot of Pie Pirates and just replace all the elements but leave the same structure!”. My point was that one shouldn’t get too bent out of shape over this cartoon when the person whose style it imitates grabs from other cartoons as well. Neither case bothers me, I was just trying to make a point. Everything old is new again.

  • http://www.animationarchive.org Stephen Worth

    I am not offended by the rip off of the SPUMCO style. Don Bluth’s ANASTASIA looked like any Disney princess film, Bruce Timm’s work looks like Jack Kirby, the show 6TEEN looks like the illustration style of Luc Latulippe

    It’s one thing to be inspired by artists from the past. It’s something altogether different to totally rip off someone’s style who is still working and not add anything to it yourself. If the people who made this are fans of John’s blog, they haven’t been reading it very carefully…

    I get lots of portfolios from kids that copied my cartoons when they were young, and didn’t copy what I copied, which is a much wider range of styles. They inevitable copy the mistakes from my TV budget cartoons-and there are tons. Cartoon Network and Nickelodeon has made whole styles out of the mistakes from my cartoons. -John K

    Using a story structure from Pie Pirates is a completely different thing than ripping off the entire package and doing it poorly. That much should be self evident. If you can’t see that, you should go back and read some of John K’s posts and not do quite so much sifting for nuggets. You’re throwing the baby out with the bathwater.

  • http://www.ronimation.com Ron

    I hope that the silver lining in all of this is that the guys who made this commercial will learn from this experience and develop a new style of their own out of this one. In “Chuck Amuck” Chuck Jones says how WB directors and himself in particular blatantly copied all they could from Disney (Bugs Bunny started off as an imitation of Max Hare from ‘The Tortoise and the Hare’) and after doing that enough, Chuck GREW and developed his own distinctive style. I would argue that his style was the most distinctive of all the WB directors. Look at the difference between his early cartoons: Curious Puppies(I don’t remember the exact name but you know what I mean fellow cartoon geeks), Tom Thumb and Sniffles vs. his later stuff: ‘The Coyote and Road Runner’ or ‘PePe LePew’.

    Also this is something that most people forget but the Anime style that we all know and too many of us love began as an imitation of the Fleischer studio style. Look at the line quality of Astro Boy comics to see what I mean. Now there are no traces of Fleischer left in most Anime but you can see how it progressed from there.

  • http://www.cartoonresearch.com/gerstein David Gerstein

    Parnell, I was speaking less of the mouth shapes in COW AND CHICKEN than the fact that Cow and Chicken look and act amazingly like Stimpy and Ren, respectively, while their faceless mom and dad are remarkably like Ren and Stimpy’s “Pipes” (the fifties-style sitcom family).

    Almost everyone with whom I’ve watched the show has made the same comparison with no coaching from me, so I’m obviously not a voice in the wilderness. I don’t mean to accuse the makers of true plagiarism—the show did have a lot of original and very clever plots. Just clearing up my intent; move along, nothing more to see here.

  • http://anibationantasy2.blogspot.com Anibator

    It figures you John K. snobs would get your panties in a bunch over something like this. You bitch when people draw cartoons that look DIFFERENT from John K. and then you bitch when people draw cartoons that look exactly the same. By the way, John K. openly admits to stealing from all sorts of different sources… so just give your blind devotion a rest.

  • Bob Cesca

    First, I produced this short; co-created the Dirk Greenhouse character; and voiced Dirk and the light bulb. I’m very proud of it and the animators who helped bring it to life. Secondly, I wanted to thank Floyd and Anibator and the others for the unsolicited support. I really and sincerely appreciate it.

    Third, if anyone wants to challenge the style I’ve developed as the centerpiece Camp Chaos “style” over the last ten years, I’m pleased to debate whether or not me and my crew has the chops to create a unique signature look to our art and animation (see ILL-ustrated or any of our old web cartoons). It’s ugly and Flash-y, but it’s original — probably nothing that John K or Stephen Worth would ever praise, but it’s a losing proposition to hope John K will love my/your/our work.

    Fourth, the influence for this short was, in fact, Spumco… and Stephen Hillenburg… and Cow & Chicken… and Fairly Odd Parents… and our very own show from six years ago called Nippleman… and The Incredibles… and the Super Friends (note the narrator voice)… and so and so on.

    Fifth — and this is a blanket statement — making a living in animation isn’t easy, especially now when so much of it is going overseas. As such, it seems to me as if we should stand together a little bit more as kindred spirits. Holding hands isn’t necessary.

    Sixth, I love what Eco Media does and I strongly support their message. “Enthusiastic” doesn’t begin to describe how I feel about this project.

    And finally… law suit? What? That’s weird and a little kneejerk, no? Do you have any idea how many major and smaller animation studios would also be fair game with that kind of precedent? Try all of them. Unless I’m horribly wrong, doesn’t the new CG movie MEET THE ROBINSONS look *exactly* like Pixar? Sue! Sue!

  • http://www.shamoozal.com Frank Summers

    hah i love it. not only does john k show a spec of humility in that quote but he also goes on to insult just about every character designer for two networks. real class.

  • RL

    It really irritates me when people claim that shows steal from Ripping Friends, considering Ripping Friends is just a 90′s comic which attempts comedy. It’s a parody, and you can’t quite rip that off without giving homage to the original. It would be like Mad Magazine saying that ‘The Incredibles’ ripped off ‘Superduperman’. It just isn’t done!

  • http://www.flyingiguannaproductions.com Zee

    GOOD ON YOU BOB! I stuck up for you and in return I got called “pretty low” by Parnell.
    I actually thought Ripping Friends was just a rip off of MEGATON MAN by Don Simpson anyway.

  • http://www.animationarchive.org Stephen Worth

    no shame. If it was a kid, you could forgive it out of ignorance.

  • Kip W

    For the love of humanity, she just grabbed a hot light bulb in her bare fingers and didn’t even say ouch! I have three blisters just from looking at it.

  • Bob Cesca

    Stephen — Jeez, man. Just because you and Amid think I’m “incompetent” for taking a gig I believe in, should I have written a retraction and quit the project? You guys have odd priorities in terms of who you attack, by the way (hint: the common enemy is the TV and movie executive, not domestic indie studios battling Asia for jobs). And at the end of the day, if I had produced this short in my own style, it would’ve been dismissed as stiff, Flash-y, ugly, poorly drawn AND a knock-off of Spumco. It’s no-win.

  • Puddinhead Joe

    I’d like to weigh in and say it looks pretty great! I am assuming one or two animators, in a reasonable time frame and done with limited animation (Flash or After Effects) because of their budget.

    Does it look a lot like John K’s style? Yeah, it does. It’s a little regrettable that they didn’t use their own look, or at least deviate from the style some, but it might be what the client asked for. I have people ask for a “Monty Python animation style” from time to time, and I do it without shame.

    Can John K. sue? Don’t be ridiculous. You can’t (and shouldn’t be able to) sue over style similarities.

    Does it have the quality of John K’s work? Almost. To people who follow cartoons, it’s pretty obvious, but you’d be surprised how many people couldn’t tell the difference. It looks pretty close, for Flash.

    I like John K’s style, and I appreciate his passion for the industry (yes, his blog is a must read), but he seems arrogant and difficult to work with. I would do what Ecozone did, and the animator(s) did a good job of delivering what they were asked, probably on time.

  • http://anibationfantasy2.blogspot.com Anibator

    I like this modest little lightbulb commercial way better than any given episode of ‘The Ripping Friends.’ Whenever Stephen or John K. go on and on (and on and on and on…) about how brilliant John K. is I can’t help but think of ‘Ripping’ and how utterly awful it was.

    And the ‘Ren and Stimpy Adult Party Whatever’ was only slightly better. Everyone just needs to get over themselves a little bit.

  • Kactus

    but, but, but…
    nothing personal, good old stimpy, but… wasn’t Ren and Stimpy and Spumco, kinda… um, based on other older styles? Sure this kid is a hack rip off, but let’s not make Johnny into the most creative animator ever please….

  • http://weblogwithnoname.blogspot.com Chris Tucker

    What with all the sturm und drang over the content and look notwithstanding, for something done in Flash, it is amazingly good, almost cel by cel quality in places.

  • John Kerry

    Hrm, don’t care much that the art is similar to whoever… More interested in the ridiculous notion of being “carbon neutral”.

  • LNG

    Way back in the early 1970′s Frank Mouris won an Academy Award for his brilliant pixilated short “Frank Film”, which took a hell of a long time and a ton of effort to make. Not long after that, the main title of the sitcom “Phyllis” ripped off Mouris’s style completely, and it was done by a professional animation house, to boot. Everyone felt bad for Mouris but there was nary a thing he could do about it. It was ever thus. At least in those days the production company didn’t try to hide its name.

  • D

    This was a horribly done rip-off. I mean, it is one thing to be influenced by an artist, but this is taking another’s style and completely making it your own. I have read the arguments above saying that John K. ripped off other artists, but I don’t honestly see it. I mean YES he was influenced and I can watch a Spumco cartoon and totally see that some of the gags were stolen from an old H-B piece or from Beany and Cecil or whatever other work you can think of…but this wasn’t just based on John K. this had his style written all over it. If this was a commercial that looked like the Simpsons then wouldn’t that be a rip-off? I mean honestly if it looked and acted like Homer Simpson that would be a rip-off, right?

  • Jason Petersen

    Rubbery Pectorals? Why not just have him fly backwards too?

  • http://www.flyingiguannaproductions.com Zee

    Jeeze am I ever slow! I just got the joke of the name “RIPPING” friends. Because it’s “RIPPING” off Don Simpson’s Megaton Man, Bernie Wrightson’s Captain Stern, and all the super hero stereo types. I always thought it was because they were “RIPPED”, like body builders. Hey, I never said I was the sharpest knife in the drawer.

    I remember working at the studio that was distributing that show in Canada. They had some early development drawings and the bible for the show. I thought it was going to be a great show. I thought it was a show we were going to work on, I didn’t know at the time the studio was only distributing it. I kept telling everyone,”If we are doing that show, I want to be on that production!”, it looked like it had a lot of potential. It turned out to be truly disappointing.

    Ren & Stimpy, however is one of the best series ever made. I wonder what went wrong with the Ripping Friends? Ren & Stimpy, more than any other cartoon, has resonated with an audience in a very deep way. To this day whenever I am brought on to develop a new show and I have a clean slate with which to start, I always try to design something with a Ren & Stimpy look to it. So far, each and every time I get told it looks to cartoony. And I am forced to draw design that are not as fun and not cartoony. But hey, that’s what being a professional and pleasing the client is all about.

  • Clayton

    Parnell, I mostly agree with you that this is a hack job, but you do your argument no favors when you say things like:

    “Like it or not, there IS a crucial difference between ‘homage’ and ‘ripoff’.”

    I suppose that difference is only clear to you. Apparently others disagree, myself included. Are you the arbiter of such crucial distinctions? Personally, I believe that there are differences, but it really can’t be proven incontrovertibly, “like it or not.”

    What’s the difference between homage and parody? In some cases, maybe there is none. And even when someone rips off another’s work, if it’s done in a clever way, if it adds to the work, makes it funnier, etc., then I would say you have a good case for parody, as opposed to outright plagiarism.

    That said, I do think that this work is “clearly” a ripoff. That clarity is only my pronouncement, however. That doesn’t mean that every work that, in your estimation, is a “ripoff” should be automatically regarded as devoid of craft, humor, or utility. Andy Warhol “ripped off” Brillo. Does that make him an unforgivable hack? You might think so, or else you might not, but the truth is that he was just as skilled with a pencil and paper as he was resourceful for “stealing” iconography that he knew would be instantly recognized. Kind of like aping a popular cartoonist, except that in most of those cases, images and backgrounds aren’t nicked directly.

    If such a clear difference existed, we could just round up all the artists who are known for thievery, and lock them away forever. Isn’t there a clear difference between art and theft?

  • Paul

    Y’know, in reading the tone and verbiage used in a number of these posts, I’m thinking that the animation artist’s biggest enemy isn’t the animation executive – it’s other animation artists.

    The reason execs don’t worry about artists taking over is that we can be counted on to turn on each other at the slightest provocation.

  • http://www.nrrdgrrl.net Melanie Smellanie

    It is pretty well done…and I readily admit that John K’s style is influenced by older, “atomic” style clip art of the 1950s/60s…but John K’s stuff is still pretty distinct, even though it has that flavor.

    This is clearly wanting to look like John K work – too bad that the folks working on it didn’t come up with something a bit more original.

    (And, personally, I’m also tired of constantly hearing what a genius John K is. I like some of his stuff, but most of his more recent work seems to be made not to entertain, but gross out and intimidate his audience. It’s as though he has grown to hate animation fans. That works for stand up comedians…but I don’t think it works so well for animators.)

  • ryan

    i think i’m much more bothered by it just because its attempt at humor is awkward.

    lots of people talk trash on ripping friends, but i like it. i think sometimes we all get caught in this frame of mind ‘show me the best thing i’ve ever seen and if it’s not the best then i don’t like it at all.’ i watched the ripping friends dvd with my 15 year old brother and my 6 year old sister a few months ago and they both got some hearty laughs out of it…if we could all aproach these things the way children do we would be a lot happier people.

  • http://www.sexymecha.com Hal

    Funny that for all the sound and fury, John K. hasn’t drummed up a bit of notice towards this. I’m glad folks are coming to his defense or ripping on his style, but if it’s not enough to rouse his ire (and I’ve seen it in full force when someone simply says Honeymooners is second fiddle to Simpsons) I think this is one to chalk to the “curse” of being labelled a genius.

  • Bob Cesca

    >>LNG wrote: “At least in those days the production company didn’t try to hide its name.”

    I’m right here, LNG.

    >>Jason Peterson wrote: “Rubbery Pectorals? Why not just have him fly backwards too?”

    Google “rubbery pectorals” and tell me it’s been done before.

    >>D wrote: “If this was a commercial that looked like the Simpsons then wouldn’t that be a rip-off?”

    Ask Seth MacFarlane about American Dad and Family Guy, then. In fact, ask him about the similarities between a random Ripping Friend and the Stan Smith character.

    Look, Dirk started out with the Nippleman mold, based on a character I created in 1999/2000-ish (the voice and mannerisms and dumb-stupid man-boy brute persona, etc). Then it filtered through a lot of influences which I detailed above, and that naturally included John K: an iconic cartoonist who has influenced an entire generation of animators.

    But I assume now we’re all going to fan out across the internets like a posse and round up anyone who ever produced a project that might’ve, intentionally or not, been influenced by Spumco. I suppose we could start with any cartoon since the Ripping Friends which features a big-chinned, muscle-bound superhero.

    From there we can kidnap all of the cable television executives and replace them with people who will actually accept original and wholly unique character art. I’d be into that one because I fought for five years to get 25 episodes of my ugly, nose-impaired art style on the air at a network which is now known for something called “Celeb-reality”.

  • http://www.stillagirl.com Caterina

    This infuriates me. As a writer I know how hard it is to come up with something unique and creative. To have someone just rip it off is just plain wrong.

  • http://www.sexymecha.com Hal

    Wow. I keep forgetting we animators can be the most bitter folks around. As much as I hate Spumco showboating this on John K’s behalf, Mr. Cesca you’ve got a growing animation studio. Do you need to justify yourself on this when its obvious you’re the competition and got it done? Besides, don’t you guys have a Meat Loaf video to complete instead of trolling these message boards? Now THAT I’d like to see! BTW: Cute anime-inspired short (further proof there’s no such thing as bad publicity) but please stop lumping a parody as straight up real deal… if this thread has proven anything, its that animation fans are a fickle bunch.

  • http://www.animationarchive.org Stephen Worth

    Here is the article I promised that discusses the line between ‘homage’ and ‘ripoff’:
    Theory: Chaplin’s Shadow

  • JumpyPants

    >>Bob Cesca wrote: I suppose we could start with any cartoon since the Ripping Friends which features a big-chinned, muscle-bound superhero.

    Seriously right on there Cesca. Were the haters all over Butch Hartman and his Crimson Chin line of characters from the insanely lucrative and successful Fairly Odd Parents series? Were they all up in Hillenburg’s face over SpongeBob, especially when he became Musclebob Squarepants? As many, many posters have said above, John K was influenced by lots of cartoonists and animators — when I first saw Spumco stuff, I seriously thought Don Adams had started an animation company. And unlike Fairly Odd Parents or Spongebob or other superhero satires with big muscles and big chins, the Dirk Greenhouse piece is obviously not about making bank, it’s about teaching regular people how to conserve energy. How is that a bad thing? How is being inspired by LOTS of other cartoonists and animators a bad thing? Again, as someone said above, did the Jack Kirby fan club tar and feather Bruce Timm?! You guys have way too much time on your hands. Go change some light bulbs.

  • Charlieboy

    Check out this link.

    After you’re done looking at the artwork of Don Simpson, tell me again about John K’s “original voice”. Because, see, here are some definitions of “original”:
    1. belonging or pertaining to the origin or beginning of something, or to a thing at its beginning:
    2. new; fresh; inventive; novel:
    3. arising or proceeding independently of anything else:

    Megaton Man was created by Don Simpson and first appeared in 1984. Ripping Friends appeared on Fox in 2001. Even if John K was working on Ripping Friends for 10 years, that still means he started drawing characters with an incredibly strong resemblence to Simpson’s work a full SEVEN years after Simpson. And guess what: Simpson was inspired by literally HUNDREDS of artists.

  • Kris

    Bob, the problem I see people having is not that you used John K as an influence or made a character similar to some of his parody superheroes, but that you made your advertisement look exactly like a Spumco cartoon in every respect.

    That might not be such a big deal if you weren’t in direct competition with Spumco. Don’t they produce animated web ads almost exclusively now? It’s kind of bad form to use the unique style of an ailing studio to get work that they could have used.

    I understand we all have to put food on the table, but you have to understand when you copy a competitor’s “packaging” to get customers, people will find it distasteful.

  • http://johnkstuff.blogspot.com/2007/04/rramjet-ko-corral-come-on-rimpot.html Craig D.

    Bob Cesca says: “But I assume now we’re all going to fan out across the internets like a posse and round up anyone who ever produced a project that might’ve, intentionally or not, been influenced by Spumco. I suppose we could start with any cartoon since the Ripping Friends which features a big-chinned, muscle-bound superhero.”

    Oh, you mean like, oh, I dunno… ROGER RAMJET? Oh, that was BEFORE. Doesn’t count.

  • Todd

    First, let me start off by saying that I’m a huge fan of John K. I was greatly inspired by his work and it’s one of the reasons I became an animator.

    That being said…I can’t believe how angry and unfair some of you are being on this post. Many people have said that the studio responsible for this short should have the guts to put their names on it. (Sometimes the client doesn’t let the studio take credit) Then, when Mr. Cesca comes forward and says “Hey guys we did this short and here’s why� you say “Don’t you have some work to do, stop trolling the message boards.�

    What absolute hypocrites!

    When did you all become so angry? Animation is supposed to be FUN!

    The fact of the matter is that John may have passed on this project or been booked. So, if this client wanted a John K. inspired piece: they definitely got one. It’s a fun little short and any animation studio or animator would have jumped at the chance to work in John’s style. Otherwise, the client would have found some other studio to do it.

  • Charlieboy

    >>Stephen Worth writes: “Here is the article I promised that discusses the line between ‘homage’ and ‘ripoff’”

    So Stephen, you’re obviously agreeing then that John K ripped off Don Simpson, right? Did John K develop a conscience before or after he ripped off — sorry, I mean made an homage to — Megaton Man? Can you answer these questions, or do you just want to keep slamming someone who has done the same thing as John K — be inspired by others’ work?

  • http://www.merks-art.blogspot.com Tim Merks

    I think If you add something new to a style, add a little bit of yourself and push that style forward then it is ok. but if you produce a cheap knockoff and dont even research how to do the style in the first place well that’s crap.

    This however is just a s***y web comercial, I dont think anyone cares about doing these things, only that they get paid.

  • Paul

    So, for those of you who are outraged by this spot: how many of you would refuse to work on this spot if refusing meant you’d lose your job? What if, by the studio refusing to do the spot, it meant your employer goes out of business and you’re out of work? Still think turning down a paying gig’s a good idea? Show of hands? Yeah; that’s what I thought. When it impacts you directly, you would be drawing like John K faster than you can say “Happy Happy Joy Joy”.

    It’s easy to be outraged and take a stand when you have nothing on the line. Those who run studios often have to make less-than-popular decisions to keep your whiny butts employed. Don’t like it? Go into business for yourself and see how long it takes before you decide to compromise. If you survive at all…

  • http://www.milkmoneycartoons.com Ohjeepers

    Since it’s always going to happen whether I like it or not, I could care less if people rip off, or pay homage to a famous artist. But to acknowledge that this cartoon is fairly derivative of a SPECIFIC seems pretty obvious.

    I think the issue here is that this cartoon does more than simply play on the big chin superhero cliché (Not Brand Ecch, Superduperman , Megaton Man, The Tick, Etc.). And it also does more than simply draw inspiration like Bruce Timm does from the work of Jack Kirby.

    The reason that it is being compared to a Spumco production is because of the specific elements seen all the way through…

    1. The font used at the beginning is the same one used in most of the Spumco flash productions.

    2. The BG field that it’s set against is reminiscent of the splatter effect that Spumco made famous.

    3. The Girls face that comes in looks exactly like the girls from that Spumco designed video game that was released in Japan a few years back.

    4. The light bulb gag is very similar to the Mans best friend goldfish gag.

    5. The body type of the hero, certain other features that he has, in addition to the inking style, simply continues the similarities.

    6. The Carbon Neutral yell definitely seems “reminiscent� of Powdered Toast Man.

    7. And you might even say that the BG’s include all of what’s wrong with the Ripping Friends BG’s.

    Maybe if another cartoon included some of these elements spread out over the course of 22 Minutes it would probably be more understandable. I think that the fact that all of these details are crammed into 30 seconds is why this reads as so derivative.

    Like it or not Spumco’s legend looms large. If you do any kind of broad or cartoony work these days someone will inevitably say that you are trying to bite Spumco’s style… even if there is no actual similarity. Maybe some of the people who are so quick to defend this spot are reacting to that? Who knows…

    The fact that so much of this seems directly derivative does open it up to critique, and the comparisons are more than fair. No reason to be mad about it.

  • http://theworldofnexttuesday.blogspot.com/ the world of next tuesday

    To me there is work that is influenced by something and there is work that is more or less copying. Little if anything is done in a vacuum devoid of some influence and you can argue about what point something becomes irrefutably a copy. I can’t say that but this clearly is in the “more or less copying” (ripoff) category.

    It is kind of interesting that a not often seen (well seen by me via a VCR timer) but worthwhile program with such an encouragingly ironic name is what I think this looks like (no I didn’t have to read other comments). But then I guess that’s the material that’s most ripe to do something with. A fair chunk of professionals know the source works stand out (despite debates it was influenced by something else as everything is to a degree) but the original wasn’t seen by much of a general audience.

    What I can’t see is any attempt to refine or improve on what John K does. That’s what being “influenced by” should result in. You can debate if the attempt is succesful but an attempt should be clear. But the attempt to take it somewhere simply isn’t to be found. Though I guess as a last resort one could almost claim “well this doesn’t have anything too gross or sexual” but then again not everything John K does has that.

    To me at least, if I like a style I’m going to try to get a person whom I identify it with. And if that can’t be done, though I’ve been surprised a bunch of times when it can be done, I’m going to try to do something that isn’t a whole lot like something else in particular.

    I know it’s only a presumably low budget web commercial but to me what it looks like it’s being copied from distracts from the message it’s supposed to deliver.

  • http://www.animationarchive.org Stephen Worth

    So Stephen, you’re obviously agreeing then that John K ripped off Don Simpson, right?

    I’ve never heard of Don Simpson.

    John’s posted about the history of the Ripping Friends. They evolved out of Brik Blastoff, one of his very first pitches from the early 80s. I’ve seen the original pitch boards on that show. It’s unmistakable. A John K design is quite clearly a John K design. If you think he steals his ideas from someone else, either you have absolutely no clue about how to identify artistic style, or you’re playing games to justify ripping him off.

  • http://www.animationarchive.org Stephen Worth

    It’s easy to be outraged and take a stand when you have nothing on the line. Those who run studios often have to make less-than-popular decisions to keep your whiny butts employed.

    As an independent creator, if you can’t convince your clients that your own creative vision is the way to go, you flat out don’t have what it takes. Don’t steal someone else’s ideas and sell them as your own. Go work for someone else with a strong vision that can carry the project.

  • Todd

    With that attitude it’s no wonder Spumco is hurting for work.

    The client funds the project, period. You can try to guide them in a creative direction, but ultimately they want what they want. Once a contract is signed, you are obligated to complete the work whether or not you completey agree with the final outcome. That’s just the business.

  • http://www.flyingiguannaproductions.com Zee

    AMEN Todd and Paul. You both summed it up perfectly. I just got an email from a producer for a job. The meeting is on Monday, but in the email they already stated that they want a modern UPA style design. I guess I am supposed to turn them down because they won’t let me use my own style. NOT!!! I am going to do what they ask. And I am going to look at alot of UPA cartoons for reference. How do you like them apples?!

  • http://www.animationarchive.org Stephen Worth

    All right Todd… Let’s ask Bob.

    Did the client make you rip off John’s work and not give you a choice in the matter?

    I’ve got twenty years of experience producing animation, and I’ve worked with quite a few artists. But I’ve never seen any client twist an artist’s arm to make him draw like another artist. I’ve never worked with an artist who would sit still for that. I have seen examples of artists ripping off designs and not even bothering to tell the client about it though.

    Do you think the folks at EcoZone are big Ripping Friends fans?

  • Todd

    Break out the pitch forks people, I think we have another live one! Did anyone notice the striking similaritys between CHF’s April 19th posting of FlashO’s and Ren & Stimpys various versions of kids at the breakfast table. Attack! Attack!

    Here’s the link for your amusment. And check out Sugarcube.com. Half of their cards are in the Spumco style and — OMG– they use colorful splash backgrounds!

    Oh yeah, and Soup2Nuts mascot was a kid at a breakfast table. How dare they! The fact of the matter is that this stuff has been done, and will be done over and over again. The people who are up in arms over this are just pissed that Camp Chaos did such a good job!

  • Todd

    Stephen, I respect your opinion and grew up on Ren & Stimpy… but let’s be honest about this. I’m sure John would be the first to tell you how a Network/Client can strong arm an artist into compromising his or her creative vision. Isn’t that what he’s always talking about? How they won’t let us do what we do best? At least, that’s what I get from his various blog entries.

  • Bob Cesca

    Stephen Worth wrote: “Did the client make you rip off John’s work and not give you a choice in the matter?”

    That’s a loaded question because it presumes someone was deliberately trying to rip off someone else. And I’m not going into the particulars of my relationship with any present day client, other than to say that I really like this client and want to continue to work with them for various reasons.

    But I can tell you about MTV/VH1. In 2000, I pitched MTV on a show that was basically a series of 10-12 shorts per half-hour — each drawn in my ugly style. They bought a pilot and we produced it in Spring, 2001.

    The pilot was dropped/passed-on. A staff change occurred and the pilot was picked up for 8 episodes. In my style. No noses, weird goblin-ish drawings of original characters and celebrity caricatures, etc.

    BUT they saddled me with some of their own internal writers and an executive who had never done animation before (sample network note: “how does character X get from LA to NY so quickly?! That’s impossible?!”). So I put up a HUGE batshit fuss to the point where the production was stopped after two episodes and the show was put on indefinite hiatus despite the fact that I had 20 animators in-house and a mortgage to pay.

    Another regime change, etc etc. We’re all the way up to late Summer, 2003. The show goes back into production — only I’m not allowed to write and all the characters have to be “nicer looking, less scary, and they HAVE TO HAVE NOSES OR ELSE!!!” And you know, it was show and it was a paycheck so I reluctantly went along with it, partly because the new producer on the west coast was really great and had a huge reputation for sketch comedy type material. I eventually worked my way into the writing again by scheming with this new producer and submitting my concepts without my name printed anywhere near them.

    The network aired 3 of the 10 episodes we produced (they refused to air the other episodes and those shorts remain buried to this day) and BLAM — despite it all, we got some good ratings. So the network picked up another 10 half-hours and invited me back into the process. Cutting to the end, after the 10 episodes aired, the network became “celeb-reality” and animation was no longer in the cards for them, even though our numbers were still strong.

    In other words, Stephen, it’s clear that no matter how hard you fight… sometimes you have no choice but to shut up and sing. I coud’ve quit and walked away, but I wouldn’t have an animation studio right now.

  • Jimbo

    Unlike most of the speculators about the origins of The Ripping Friends show, I am one of the few here who actually knew Mr. K. back in the ’80′s when he was developing it and still have a few original drawings from the original concept (initials of which were BB & NO – I will not post them). This bit by CampChaos is, in my humble opinion, blatant DESIGN PLAGARISM. While I disliked The Ripping Friends compared to what it was intended to be, the reality is that it was a very original show regardless of influences. I repeat – INFLUENCES. There is no valid debate about this. If Bob Who-the-f*ck-ever wants to make a super hero advertisement for guilt free fur lined jock straps I couldn’t care less. Congrats to him. I hope he gets paid handsomely. Just be a man about it and come up with some original art OR PAY THE GUY YOU’RE RIPPING OFF! The people at Ecozone probably haven’t a got clue about all of this and it seems that Bob Who-the-f*ck is probably safely hidden (legally speaking) by Ecozone’s deep pockets. In a day when two-bit animation hacks jack each others’ designs/ideas/characters on a daily basis it’s really no surprise that there’s so little actual creative output from the “animation community”…or should I say “The Ripping Friends”!

  • Bob Cesca

    PS. Another thing I had to choke down or lose the show… The show was originally titled “Camp Chaos.” The network insisted the name of the show be changed to [trying not to barf] “VH1′s ILL-ustrated.” You know, because the show is ILLIN’!

  • http://www.animationarchive.org Stephen Worth

    Look. Let’s be honest here. Your experiences with MTV have no relevence to what we’re talking about. It’s self-evident that you sourced the production design, characters and gags of this webcartoon from John K’s work. Don’t point to every big chin in show business to say you didn’t, because it’s as plain as the nose on your face. We all know this is the Ripping Friends here.

    You want to talk practical business sense? OK.

    If you want to use someone else’s trademarked and copyrighted designs, gags, characters and situations in your own cartoon, you license them. I’m positive you required MTV to do that before they made your pilot. Why wouldn’t you give John the same courtesy when you wanted to use the Ripping Friends to make your EcoZone cartoon?

    What would you do if someone out there on the internet started repurposing Camp Chaos cartoons and began selling them to clients who didn’t even realize they were being sold a copy of something that already exists? You would not be a happy camper, and neither would the client.

    Here is some friendly advice. If you honestly made a mistake, you should own up to it, apologize and promise not to do it again. Don’t try to justify your ripoff and try to make it out as if the person you’re ripping off is the one at fault. John pioneered Flash animation for you and inspired you to create your own career. Go make your own career. Don’t ripoff John’s. Grow a pair and become a professional.

    The alternative is to join the Todd Goldmans, Billy Ritchies and Sammy Petrillos of the world. Learn from their mistakes. Grow a pair and become a professional artist who stands on his own.

  • http://www.animationarchive.org Stephen Worth

    Todd, when I was in first grade, I was taught that I shouldn’t copy other people’s answers onto my test. In college, I adhered to a code of ethics regarding my work, and my professors at art school taught me the difference between inspiration and plagerism.

    My general reply to you is… yes, I think there are a lot of people out there who should be ashamed of themselves. But other artists’ lack of ethics doesn’t justify me copping someone else’s work myself.

    How can you feel pride in your accomplishments if you know that they aren’t yours? You don’t have to be an artist to understand that.

  • http://www.fooksie.com Fooksie

    This may seem like a dumb question, but what does John K think?
    I think he’s a big enough guy that he doesn’t need people to fight his battles for him.
    Kudos to you Bob for keeping some local artists employed!

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

    Fooksie: I doubt John K will post on a blog he doesn’t control.

  • http://www.animationarchive.org Stephen Worth

    You work for Bob, right Floyd? Did you animate on this one?

  • amid

    I didn’t realize when Floyd posted his defense of this cartoon that he actually has worked with Bob Cesca before. Maybe it’s time to revisit the ground rules for posting on the Brew. One of those is:

    * If you are recommending or discussing something, disclose any relationship you may have to the artist, film project or company. This includes friends, family, co-workers, employers, etc.

    That is the only way to keep discussions honest and above board.

  • Paul

    Another is:

    “Be considerate and respectful of others in the discussion. If your comment is defamatory, rude or unnecessarily antagonistic, it will be deleted without comment.”

    Hmmm…

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

    I don’t work for Bob, and I didn’t know his studio worked on this until after Bob came into the thread and posted. I was not involved in the production of this piece at all. My defense of the piece is the same, no matter who worked on it or where it was created. I did some work for Bob on a project called Kung Fu Jimmy Chow: http://www.heavy.com/video/11908

  • http://www.flyingiguannaproductions.com Zee

    I’ve watched it again a few times. I don’t see a direct copy of the ripping friends. Carbon Nuetral Man certainly doesn’t look like Slab or Chunk. Rip and Crag look pretty much the same each other anyway. The body is similar, but that body has been done many times before, way before the ripping friends were ever a concept. The head has a big chin, again, been done before, and the eyes are clearly Camp Chaos style eyes. The girl is a spumco imitation. And the humor is also spumco.

    The whole thing is way more closer to Powdered Toast Man than the ripping friends. Someone mentioned earlier that his name being yelled before he makes his entrance is exactly the same as Powdered Toast Man’s. You’re right it is. But hey! Do you remember Captain Caveman’s entrance? Hmmmm. Strikingly similar to powdered toast man, only about 15 years earlier. Things like cutting to a scene of the light bulb in the girls hand with a color card BG, as much as people think John K. came up with that. He didn’t. Just look through John K’s blog. The acting the staging the expressions he uses are all influenced, imitated, and taken from very old very good classic cartoons. There are scenes from very old Daffy Duck cartoons on his posting on his blog on Thursday, March 30, 2006. Check it out. Then scroll down and see the striking similarity to his cartoon of the horse guy. The same acting, the same look into the camera.

    That is all I see happening here. They are using spumco in the same way John K uses old cartoons. It is the exact same thing. So someone please explain why it is OK for John K to imitate old cartoons but not ok for anyone to imitate John k? Is no one allowed to cut to a color card BG anymore? Or a close up shot that is painted with gross details? Does John K. own the rights to all toilet humor and fart jokes? I strongly urge everyone read through every entry on John K’s blog with a keen eye. Then come back and look at this eco commercial again. Stimpy has white gloved hands, I guess nobody can draw cartoons with white gloved hands anymore because John K. drew them; even though daffy duck had them and mickey mouse had them ages before.

  • http://www.animationarchive.org Stephen Worth

    I’m sorry Zee, I can’t help you. Obvious isn’t obvious enough and ethics seem to be too ethical for you. No need to discuss this further right now. Let’s wait for Bob.

  • Paul

    Not to put too fine a point on it, but Daffy didn’t have white gloves, Bugs did…

  • http://www.flyingiguannaproductions.com Zee

    A couple more points.

    Lets look at 6 teen, it’s a great show, looks nice, great voice acting, funny dialog. When Nelvana was developing 6teen. They wanted Luc Latulippe to design the show in HIS illustration style. He quit Nelvana and the animation industry years earlier to become an illustrator. When they asked him to come back for 6teen, he said no, he was done with the animation industry. They said they would do the show in his illustration style anyway. And they did. Nobody, not even Luc himself cared if they used his style. And I didn’t see anyone here cry about it either. Why not? Is it because Luc doesn’t have the cult status of John K? Is it because Nelvana is a huge company and Camp Chaos is smaller? Is it because Luc quit animation and doesn’t care if they used his style? Is it because 6 teen is a broadcast TV show and this Eco thing is just a commercial? Someone please tell me.

    My other point. What about anime? I’ve seen the EXACT same design of anime girl in hundreds of different anime productions, from different studios, and from different crews. Same design, just change the clothes and hair and accessories, but it is the same design. And they use the same cliches, girl holds up a wand or some other object and transforms. They all have some kind of powers with bright flashy lights, you know all the anime staples. No one is crying over that though. It is just accepted as the anime stlye. But how is that different than this case? Can’t this just be accepted as the spumco style. What if more north american productions used the cartoony spumco stlye? Would that not be acceptable like the anime stlye? Please explain the difference.

  • http://zekeyspaceylizard.blogspot.com ZekeySpaceyLizard

    Actually, Daffy used to wear yellow gloves. Lord knows why.

    Also lol at this incredibly long debate about a cartoon that looks similar to a cancelled show. Who would think trying to save electricity by using fancy lightbulbs would cause such a flamewar. Were this argument wasting scads of electricity, one could almost call this spat “ironic”

  • http://www.animationarchive.org Stephen Worth

    The Ripping Friends are copyrighted, trademarked and published. We aren’t talking about “style” here. We’re talking about an established property that belongs to an independent cartoonist.

    The reason that I’m assuming that the people here defending this blatant ripoff are employees of Camp Chaos is that I find it hard to believe that an artist would do that to another artist. If independent animators don’t even respect the rights of other independent animators, they deserve all the abuse they get from the corporations (and more). What goes around, comes around. Reputation counts in this business.

    A simple apology and promise not to do it again would do a lot to smooth the waters. Even Todd Goldman did that. C’mon Bob.

  • http://www.mesingingcartoons.com Peter Bernard

    Bob Cesca, I like alot of your work but your arguments here are sad and inexcusable. As for the trolls “jumpypants” and his identical twins, your arguments are pathetic distractions which reveal a guilty conscience. This commercial and Ripping Friends had nothing to do with Megaton Man or The Tick. They had to do with Ren and Stimpy, Powdered Toast Man, and Ripping Friends. Bullying people when you know your argument doesn’t hold water isn’t going to work here.

    When Bob Cesca tried to say that the pectoral muscles joke was ORIGINAL, I almost swallowed my tongue. That one statement entirely changed my opinion of Bob and Camp Chaos in general.

  • http://www.mesingingcartoons.com Peter Bernard

    Oh by the way, I have never worked for or with Spumco, but I have had one of my songs posted on the Camp Chaos site in the past. This is not about loyalty to individuals, it’s about not endorsing ripping off other artists.

  • http://www.mesingingcartoons.com Peter Bernard

    Short version of Stephen Worth and Jim Smith:
    Don’t steal other people’s design ideas or you will lose the respect of your peers.

    Short version of the trolls:
    Screw you! Every man for himself, yo!

  • http://www.shamoozal.com Frank Summers

    * If you are recommending or discussing something, disclose any relationship you may have to the artist, film project or company. This includes friends, family, co-workers, employers, etc.”

    hmm maybe amid and bigshot should disclose your relationships with john k and spumco before posting then? let’s play fair shall we?

  • Jambox

    Well, yeah, it’s a ripoff – from the timing, to the humour, the designs, the voice acting, etc.

    Is it impressively animated? Sure it is, it’s a quality bit, and I’m sure everyone worked very hard on it and they should be proud of that.

    Have other styles been immitated so closely that it’s blatantly unoriginal? Sure, of course they have, it happens all the time with anything that’s good.

    You’re competing with overseas studios and being bombarded by executives who want you to make something banal? Welcome to animation.

    But so what? Those aren’t excuses.

    It’s unavoidable, and perhaps even necessary or complimentary, for schools of thought to develop and for artists to borrow from one another; from animation to impressionism. But for creative people who value the recognized originality of their creations to bring them their bread and butter it’s… unpalatable.

    The difference between this and criminal plagiarism, like the recent Todd Goldman mess, is fractional – at least this stuff is good.

  • http://www.animationarchive.org Stephen Worth

    hmm maybe amid and bigshot should disclose your relationships with john k and spumco before posting then?

    I think everyone already knows who we are, but here’s the links for you.

    Amid’s bio is linked at the top of every page in Cartoon Brew.

    Here is the bio they wrote about me for the Annie Awards book a couple of months ago.

  • http://www.theonion.com Craig D.

    It’s almost as if I could click on those “AW” comment links at the somethingawful.com parody!

    C’mon, guys, we’re almost to 100 comments on a posting that was all of three sentences long!

    We can do it!!!

  • http://joecorrao.com JoeyCee

    Where do they sell these lightbulbs?

  • http://www.flyingiguannaproductions.com Zee

    This is animation folks!! Who hasn’t heard a client or a producer say something like “We want it to like THIS ” or “We want it to look like that.”???!! I hear it all the time.

    Again no one was bitching when Clone High came out. You can drop any character from Clone High into any scene from The Power Puff Girls or Dexter’s lab or Time Squad and they would fit right in…because they are done in the EXACT same style. So what makes the spumco style any different from modern UPA or anime or any other style? Especially when spumco itself is a rip of tex avery and other old classics. Why is okay to use ANY other style, but as soon as someone uses the spumco style you all go ballistic. I have yet to hear anyone defend or explain that to me. You’ve all got your spumco blinders on.

    I recently bought a dvd called THE WAIF OF PERSEPHONE by NICK CROSS. I discovered right it here on Cartoon Brew. It is absolutely FANTASTIC!!!!!! But it is also unquestionably done in a spumco style. Yet it is praised, deservingly so, while the eco commercial is slammed. Very hypocritical of everyone here.

  • http://www.flyingiguannaproductions.com Zee

    By the way; I changed every bulb in my apartment to these energy conserving bulbs about 3 months ago. They are actually brighter and produce a more natural looking light.

  • Harriet

    I just changed mine out, too! They’re fantastic. And I’m saving quite a chunk of change.

    PS – I’m sorry, I’m kind of new to cartooning: is Spumco some kind of special brand or something? I don’t totally get it. Can someone who doesn’t work at Spumco respond?

  • Mike

    My post from CHF…

    I’ve done some research on the studio that created this short, Camp Chaos. Here’s what I’ve found…

    It seems like they’ve been around on the internet for a very long time. The first real info I found on them was a spoof they did called “Napster Bad,� which is a short that pokes fun at the musical group “Metallica.� They also had an animated sketch comedy show which aired on VH1 called “VH1-Illustrated�, which basically makes fun of celebrities and pop culture. In the show they parody different drawing styles like, Hanna-Barbera, Anime, SpongeBob, etc. (This is no different than shows like Comedy Centrals “Drawn Together� or SNL’s “Ambiguously Gay Duo.�)

    They do some very good Flash work and it seems that they have built their reputation on doing spoofs and parodies.

    I truly believe this was supposed to be a spoof and that they had no ill intentions. Ren and Stimpy first aired something like 20 years ago and the Spumco style is now considered a classic. That opens it up to both inspire and be spoofed and copied by other artists.

    Stephen, I think you are just too close to John K to truly be objective. There is no plagiarism or copyright infringement going on here. If their were, you can bet John would have called his lawyer the first time he saw this short and a “cease and desist� order would have been issued.

    Lets face it…You know you’ve made it BIG when somebody spoofs you!

  • Robolizard

    Honestly, this looks like a parody with too little cheekiness is all.

  • amid
  • Harriet

    Thanks, Amid. I have to say, after reading Wikipedia and looking at some youtube clips, I just don’t see the plagiarism argument. Nowhere on Wiki does anyone talk about some kind of branded art style, and it seems pretty clear that the Spumco style is heavily influenced by Hanna Barbera – to the point that they did the Boo-Boo cartoons, no? Again, from someone relatively new to all this, and too young to have been around to catch most of this stuff when it first aired, I have to say that there are just too many aspects of the ecozone Dirk character that are visually not the same as the Ripping Friends characters that I’ve been able to look at. And from what I can tell, the tone of the Ripping Friends show is quite different — far more gross-out stuff (not that that’s bad!) and just more macho, sweaty, etc. I guess I also don’t get why people on this blog are so upset about this particular cartoon, when there have been other visually akin ‘toons in recent years.

  • http://pediatristsplayground.blogspot.com Kevin W. Martinez a.k.a. Leviathan

    Call this an affront to animation society, but I’m just not seeing the connection of between the Phyllis intro and Frank Film. The former’s the typical 70s MTM sitcom intro, the only thing standing out of the ordinary being the opening with the blue, half-there chorus singers, and if there’s any resemblance between it and ANYTHING in Frank Film, then may lightning strike me where I stand.

  • IDRC

    What good is pure regurgitation?

  • http://www.animationarchive.org Stephen Worth

    The video that accompanied this article was deleted from this account and reposted under another account… View the Ripping Friends Ripoff Cartoon