Wednesday, April 25, 2007

The Real Ripping Friends

The original Ripping Friends-created in 1988 were actually a watered down spin off of my Brik Blastoff concept from the early 80s.
Brik himself was modeled after Kirk Douglas in Detective story.
So was Rip. Crag is a variation, as are some TV and CG movie guys.

I watered the "CARTOONS FOR MEN" concept down to what I thought would sell on TV. It took ten years to get it on TV and then it got watered down even more, to the point where I shudder watching it. I shudder even more seeing all the rippoffs which are also watered down - in weirder and weirder ways.

But here's how they were originally conceived:
Here they are as super geniuses, drawn by the great Jim Smith.
Jim draws them tampering with the laws of the universe with their ungodly scientific instruments.
In an article from Chris Gore's Wild Cartoon Kingdom-early 90s.
Here's their girlfriend, Dr. Jean Poole.
People tell me they've seen her before, just not in my cartoons.

The drawing below was done by Lynne Naylor and inked probably by Libby Simon.
Here's a doodle I did for a line of children's clothing accesories. It's Rip modeling the latest Mattel Idiot-Ride-'em-Helmet.

I'm sure I have some more early sketches somehwere. I might even have an old story outline for a movie idea. I will hunt...This is as close as the show ever got to using my drawings. They still changed them and blanderized these from the originals, but they are at least recognizable as my style.


peldma3 said...

i remember watching the Ripping Friends on fo thinking; "Wow they must be so hard to animate!"
There was still a lot of funny stuff, Superman the underwear those tips at the end.

Anonymous said...

Maybe you shouldn't have putt the word "Rip" in the title, it gave people ideas:

Captain Capitalism

The Fairly Oddparents

The Venture Bros


Jesse Oliver said...

I can't believe that it took ten years to sell not just The Ripping Friends but also Ren & Stimpy!!!!

Adele K Thomas said...

these drawings are awesome, the first one especially...really tasty. I like Lynne's drawings, the style looks a little steven silver-ish...Kim Possible designer. Anyway, her ladies are sexy!

Adele K Thomas said...

oh, and we were lucky to get ripping friends in Australia for a few months on non commercial im glad i caught it...very funny!

I.D.R.C. said...

Even the watered-down RF that made it to TV is so much better than the standard crap that it looks like a cold drink of water in the desert to these sore old eyes, crappy BG's and all. The same with Beany and Cecil, which I don't think either you or Eddie want to say much about.

Thanks for these sketches. Please find more.

Shawn said...

I still laugh at The Ripping Friends cartoons whether you think they're watered down or not...So I would've LOVED to see what you REALLY had in mind for the show! I'm sure that would have been mind blowing!

Great drawings, by the way! I'm jealous!

Kali Fontecchio said...

Short and sweet: beautiful drawing and Jim rules balls.

Jason said...

Looks like the guys who made "Johnny Test" ripped you off in a big way John. Dr. Jean Poole was my first introduction to your sexy girls (unless you count the hot bod on the faceless house wife from R&S) and man did she have my imagination running when I first saw her 5 years ago. I loved how awkward the guys were in that episode. Not only was the animation fantastic, but it conveyed the anxiety the guys had over their lust and not knowing what to do really well. Very relevant and entertaining stuff for a 14 year old me. It kinda went against the whole "Manliest Men in the World" thing, but it was still amazing. I think everyone would love to see at least a Ripping Friends comic. Anything at this point would be great.

Jim Rockford said...

John,Perhaps the reason that you had to keep watering down the idea of cartoons for men to sell it to the networks is because its now politically incorrect to be manly.
instead we get treated to femminist fantasys like "Kim Possible" where attractive women beat the hell out of monsters and male villans and still have time to answer the cell phone and make glib remarks.
Back when Ren and Stimpy was still on the air,I saw the ripping friends idea in wild cartoon kingdom and loved it.
I just wish for once the damn networks would stand back and let you run your own show.
Its clear to see the influence of Kirk Douglas on some of your characters.
Detective Story is one of my favorite films,when I first saw it I was blown away by the intense characterization Kirk Douglas brought to the role,boy does it ever make the crap that passes for movies today look lightwieght.
Kirk Douglas can wring every last bit out of a performance.
like in the scene in your screen grab,when he tells him "You must have been kissed in the cradle by a vulture" he says it with such contempt that it sounds like the dirtiest remark ever made.

Jordan said...

I don't know John, I was pretty happy with the Ripping Friends for the most part. The Thursday Man episode (part 1) is AMAZING! Honestly, it blew my mind. Was that really different from how you envisioned it?

Also the short with the really fat mean giant cat was hilarious.


Timothy Merks said...

This actually explains a few things. I remember watching the ripping friends and feeling as though someone just put your name on it rather than you having anything to do with it. It seemed to not have the same sort of intensity and love your other work had.

Just looking at your drawings you can see how on edge the characters are. It's a shame that wasn't pushed more, because that is really funny.

ekuska said...

Hey John,

great blog. great work. and dig your past thoughts on design, story, animation school curriculums and all that.. What about sounds? Your work has really innovative sfx and 'orchestrations'. Where does the bulk of that come from? old studio libraries or do you call in a musician to add accents to the animation.. You are a musician, but I never really heard it explained where your music background stems from.. (have you already covered this?). thanks!

NineInchNachos said...

Concept drawings are super rad. I was really bummed out by the finished product on TV though. The show is unwatchable. Maybe it is better to just imagine what the ripping friends could have been... Maybe you can talk to the Microsoft billionaire who made the Sci-Fi museum in Seattle to fund a genuine Birk cartoon.

Ape Lad said...

Speaking of Kirk Douglas, John did you see that Ace in the Hole is coming out on DVD in July?!? With this and Popeye I will probably not leave the house all summer.

Jesse Oliver said...

My favorite episode of The Ripping Friends is the episode where they have there first date with Dr. Jean Poole.

Mr said...

"Blanderized." Great word.

Tibby said...

I really liked Ripping Friends.

I think the other half of this toon's downfall was the PC movement. Trust me - todays animators and cartoonists still very much hate the Moral Police. The Morality Police take out all the good and fun stuff in cartoons. They have been doing it for years. These are the same folks who stipped Bugs Bunny down because they said "Old WB cartoons are too violent."

I know you have been fighting with the Morality PC Police in your career very much Mr. K. They have gotten you fired, they have stripped Ren & Stimpy, they do all kinds of evil, uncreative things. It's not your fault - it's the watering down of society that they aim for. They just want to see cute kittens and puppies and not acknowladge the truth.

I hear cartoonists I know on the Ed Edd and Eddy cartoons complain bitterly in their blogs about the Morality PC Police all the time.

I will tell you - your audience loves you and kids really liked Ripping Friends and they laughed a lot. But those PC bastards had to step in and ruin everything.

They are true evil incarnate!

E. John Love said...

I *love* the Ripping Friends - brilliant writing, great artwork and hilarious character voices which refer back to old TV, movie or radio actors!

AND... the image of Quebec being saved from separation by a Ripping Friend towing the wandering province back to the rest of the country... I was so proud...

Teletoon still plays it every so often, ever since 2000 or so.

J Mangano said...

I always loved the show!
Cat using litter box without getting up!
Manly Men!
America is so against Manly Men!
But it's okay to put estrogen in our drinking water!