Of course, for anyone who has known (or just known about) John K for any length of time, this news comes as no shock. It's like being told that Liberace was gay or that right now, at this very moment, a bear is shitting in the woods somewhere.
|'Another Buzzfeed exclusive!"|
I feel the need to talk about this situation because John K is the reason I started this blog in the first place. I, like many aspiring artists, was a big fan of the Ren & Stimpy show since it first came out way back in the early '90's. The first time I had heard anything negative about him was during one of my first days of animation school. In animation history class, when it came time to talk about the time period when Ren & Stimpy debuted, all the teacher said was, "John K is a jerk!" and left it at that. Then, after that, I had joined a few online forums where animation is discussed. There I found all sorts of praise for John as well as an equal amount of anger and vitriol. I read all about that loud red-faced tantrums as well as, as one member of a forum posted, "John K lives like he's still in high school".
So then, around the start of 2006, I heard through the internet grapevine that John K himself was starting a blog where he could talk to his fans directly. Almost immediately, I got myself a blogspot account and was on my way. I made my own blog posts where I had put up artwork of mine and I commented on his posts. One time he even made a comment on my little blog.
Oh, I fully admit that I was totally there doing that 'NOTICE ME SENPAI' thing trying to show him my art work and whatnot. He did eventually weigh in on what he thought about my work's quality, and yeah he pretty much said I drew like a 10 year old.
Something like that is never pleasant to hear of course. But, at the same time, I'm not going to let one man's opinion get me down. I know what my talents are and I plan to us them whenever I can. Since that time I've worked on a few animated projects and have self published 2 comic books.
John and I butted heads at other times too, but it was about animation history mostly. I always countered his sycophantic compulsion to Bob Clampett's tall tales about himself with my researched facts (from other animation historians such as Michael Barrier). I most certainly didn't discuss morality with him. I think a discussion like that with the likes of him would have broken my brain.
Yes, it was quite evident that John K has a fetish. I do remember seeing evidence on his blog of him flirting with young women still in or just freshly out of their teenage years and feeling a slight bit uncomfortable looking at that. But, I just chalked that up to him being an "eccentric artist' and just minded my own business.
And, of course, much of his depravity naturally spilled out into Ren & Stimpy as well as any other projects he worked on. One example that I found rather egregious was the ending of The Altruists, one of the Ren & Stimpy episodes that was on the Adult Cartoon Party on SpikeTV.
It ends with a police officer walking over to the main female character and fondling her breasts. I'm not saying John shouldn't have done that. He and his crew are free to make any artistic decision they want. All I'm saying is I personally would not have made that artistic decision. I believe he defended this by saying "it's a male fantasy. It's what every man wants to do to every sexy woman they see. I'm just providing that fantasy." Y'see, I personally find just blatantly putting one's sexual fantasy into a story to be quite tacky whether it's written by a man or woman. More often than not, a sexual nightmare or at least a 'less than ideal' sexual experience is much more endearing to an audience.
But at the same time, it's absolutely possible to separate the artist as a person from his/her body of work. John's influence over the entire animation industry has been immeasurable. His work has inspired just as many people as it has nauseated. There is no scandal large enough to take that achievement away from him. Below I've embedded one of my favourite moments from one of Ren & Stimpy's best episodes just to give anyone unfamiliar with his work just a taste of what his animation legacy is about.
As lofty as John's achievements are, however, he's not to big to be held accountable for his actions and he's certainly not above receiving ridicule for said actions. So, in that spirit, I'm posting my quick little satirical artwork aimed at Mr. K
Would John K himself consider this a well done drawing? I don't entirely care at this point.
I will just end this blog post with one final message to John K.
Good sir, thank you for your tireless efforts to revive the exuberance and glory of the golden age of animation as well as your constant rebellion against the corporate executive tyranny that continues to suffocate the animation industry. However, when it comes to your dysfunctional ways of dealing with human relations especially with young female artists, like the Michael Jordan meme says, 'Stop it! Get some help!'
Oh, and I also wish a long healthy life filled with success for survivors Robyn Byrd and Katie Rice as well.