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by Roger Ash
John K. Presents! Spumco Comic Book
Yoe books and IDW are releasing a complete collection of Spumco’s Comic book from the late 1990s as John K. Presents! Spumco Comic Book. Haven’t heard of this series before? Let’s take a look back.
John K. is animator/director John Kricfalusi who first concerned prominence working with legendary and controversial animation director Ralph Bakshi on Mighty Mouse: The new Adventures and the video for the Rolling Stone’s Harlem Shuffle. John K. directed numerous Mighty mouse episodes, including The Littlest tramp which infamously drew the ire of Donald Wildmon and the American family association for a scene in which Mighty mouse supposedly snorts cocaine (he doesn’t). After leaving Mighty mouse after the first season, John K. attempted to revive Bob Clampett’s classic cartoon Beany and Cecil, but it did not fare well and only a few episodes were aired before it was cancelled. but things took a huge turn for the better when John K. paired an ill tempered Chihuahua with a simple-minded cat and Ren & Stimpy were born.
The Ren & Stimpy show became a huge hit for John K. and his studio, Spumco, in the early 1990s when it ran on Nickelodeon. Its mixture of zany animation and off the wall humor, which was often rather gross and violent, set it aside from anything else being done on television at the time and garnered a huge number of fans. and John K. himself offered the voice of Ren. Ren & Stimpy shown to be hugely influential as well as numerous animated shows tried to copy the look and feel of the show. but things were not well behind the scenes as Nickelodeon and John K. did not always see eye to eye about the show (that’s a huge understatement) and, in the end, it resulted in John K. being fired from The Ren & Stimpy Show.
One of the projects John K. and Spumco dealt with post-Ren & Stimpy was Comic Book, four treasury-sized volumes of comic stories, the first of which was published by marvel and the final three by Dark Horse. and that’s what readers will find in John K. Presents! Spumco Comic Book. John K. worked directly with Yoe books on this volume to make it the best it could be. It is a true labor of love.
Comic book #2 featuring George Liquor on the organ.
Comic book starred John K. creations Jimmy the Idiot young boy and the gruff he-man, George Liquor. George originally appeared in The Ren & Stimpy Show, but Nickelodeon reportedly couldn’t stand the character so they let John K. take him when he was fired. Creators on the series include John K., Jim Smith, Shane Glines, Richard Pursel, Mike Fontanelli, Vincent Waller, and others. The stories include The Turtle Food Collector, in which Jimmy collects turtle food (bugs); Remote control Jimmy, in which Jimmy finds he can use a remote to control things aside from a TV; George Liquor’s fishing Show, in which George teaches you how to fish and has a run in with a dirty Mouth Bass; For A Quarter, where Jimmy drops a quarter and has issues picking it up; baby Comes First, where Jimmy is inexplicably married and has to take care of his infant son; and The Butcher Shop, in which George discusses the benefits of red meat to an unbeliever. As a bonus, this collection includes a previously unpublished adventure, Jimmy the Drooling Numbskull in Nutty the friendly Dump.
Being produced by animators, the stories are highly visual and beautifully drawn. They can also get a huge number of gags from a easy premise. For A Quarter is a ideal example of this as Jimmy gets into all kinds of scrapes, each much more outrageous than the last, from simply trying to pick up a quarter.
The stories are filled with Spumco’s brand of humor, so if you don’t like gross or violent humor you may want to look elsewhere as this is one of the most un-PC books you can find. For example, in Remote control Jimmy, when a canine does his company on the lawn, Jimmy uses the remote to put it best back where it came from. In baby Comes First, Jimmy teaches his infant child to smoke and breast feeding doesn’t go as planned. and George Liquor is the antithesis of Political Correctness and his views on, well, many everything are sure to make some people grit their teeth in anger. On top of that, each issue features a Grossology page where you learn about things like farts, boogers, and kissing. However, if you delight in this sort of humor, no one does it better and this is a book you’ll treasure.
Yoe books puts out some exceptional collections and I expect this to follow suit. I delighted in this series when it initially came out and I look forward to having all the issues in a good collection. For fans of John K.’s animated work, John K. Presents! Spumco Comic book is a long time coming and is a great addition to your library.
John K. Presents! Spumco Comic bookHC