Nuclear Ikura – Behind the scenes with Toxie in retro Japan

In the depths of the rat infested Troma Basement, we uncovered this archival Japanese TV behind the scenes special, featuring THE TOXIC AVENGER II filmed on location in Tokyo.

25 years before Al Gore makes Climate Change cool, my dad is taking his shirt off to talk about the global warming.  Why don’t you try that, President Obama?

It’s ultra cool, retro hip, and toxerific. Plus, see clips from a rare Press Conference with a shirtless Lloyd Kaufman!  Talk about sushi, you don’t even need to speak Japanese to enjoy this.

 

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THOSE TOTORO CREAM PUFFS

I was minding my own  business, checking out little modern day warm and fuzzy baking website cutestfood.com, (Sure, I’ve got my blood, vomit and foam at the mouth recipes down, but maybe I have a secret yearning to develop a clean cut Martha Stewart side too)  and I’m scrolling through adorable ideas for baking kitten shapped shaped macaroons, growing heart shaped lemons, cappuccinos for your loved ones with a heart in the foam, Fashionista Louboutin stiletto shaped cupcakes, and then…. TOTORO CREAM PUFFS punches me in the face.

Are you kidding me?? This is not the time and place to show me TOTORO CREAM PUFFS.  First of all, what are TOTORO and CREAM PUFFS even doing together.  Secondly, this reminds me what my dad went through with TOTORO.

Hayao Miyazaki is an incredible Japanese animator, and MY NEIGHBOR TOTORO was the first Miyazaki film to be widely released in the US, and it was released by TROMA!   If you know Miyazaki’s work, you know that’s pretty unbelieveably cool, and if you were me, a 12 year old girl attending a preppy girl school, this was EVEN COOLER because FINALLY I was going to have a movie I could show all my friends.  A nice kid-friendly animated cartoon!  No Boobs, no cursing, just good plain clean animated fun.

To us wide eyed kids, the premier was awesome at a big fancy theater in midtown Manhattan, all three of us kids, dressed up in our best smocked dresses. We had seen the screener a million times at home, and sang the song I remember to this day “To-to-ro, Totooorooo… To-to-ro…”

Now, I don’t know the details, I was only a small pigtailed girl at the time, but sure enough Totoro was stolen from the good people at Troma soon enough.  Totoro was a great movie, so good in fact, that the big studios circled around from afar at first, scaring off everyone else.  Then they inched closer.  They hovered over the theaters, circling, salivating as they glimpsed the movie, but they kept circling, and waiting, scaring away everyone.   Then when no one was looking, and unbeknownst to Troma, they swooped in and scooped up the entire Miyazaki library in their long dirty talons, Totoro included.

The deal was announced in the NYTimes, one year before TROMA’s license expired! In fact, according to THIS 1995 NEW YORK TIMES ARTICLE  “His [Miyazaki] biggest success in the United States has been “My Neighbor Totoro,” about two girls befriended by a plump, mythical creature.”  but there was no mention of dad or TROMA anywhere.

I was so revved up just by the little sight of the TOTORO CREAM PUFFS that I had to call dad to talk to him about this Tromatic event we had been through.

“Disney bought the library but we still had a year on our deal” he recalled “but when they announced in the newspapers they used the artwork, so when we went to the cartoon network, or other television networks, they said ‘hey, what are you trying to pull here? Disney owns Totoro!

Those studio cream puffs. 

“Now you know,” he continued, “for 40 years, we have specialized in doing alot of hard work and making no money, so thanks to Disney we continued this work.”

After this all happened I also remember, dad was so upset with Children’s movies that he locked himself in our family room and watched over and over again the opening scene to  SGT. Kabukiman NYPD, where two of us kids are  skewered to death…

You can guess what happens next… or find out for yourself!

WATCH TROMA’s SGT KABUKIMAN NYPD! 

Toxie Teaches Bjarni Gautur about Censorship, the Environment and having a great Mom

TOXIC CRUSADER Bjarni Gautur writes about GROWING UP TOXIC on Marvel Toxic Avenger comics and Crusaders to working for LLOYD:  Life lessons learned from the Toxic Avenger about censorship, the environment and the importance of having a good mom!

My favorite Troma memory is probably when I got to meet Lloyd Kaufman for the first time. I grew up watching the Toxic Crusaders and reading the Marvel imprinted comic books (that were really censored when they were published in Sweden) and I fell in love with the great messages they were bringing forward into the cartoon medium. I loved the environmental message that the stories had as well as taking away the vanity of beauty. Most cartoons, even those who talked about the environment like Captain Planet, had things as far sighted with how the good guys looked good and the bad guys looked bad, so I can’t even talk about how awesome it was seeing hideously deformed mutants of superhuman size and strength be the good guys. With Toxie’s mom, of course. I still think more super heroes need the support of a good mom.

But I am getting off track. After a life of Toxic Crusaders in my youth, I learned of the actual Toxie movie at the age of 10, and finally got the chance to watch it 13, alongside the rest of the trilogy and I was Troma-hooked. Despite living in Iceland during my teen years, I ordered films off eBay and Amazon in order to make a Troma collection and during my first trip to the US in 2005 (for my 16th birthday) I ransacked a local Virgin (superstore) and bought their entire Troma stock of 20 movies, I would continue to do so during every trip I took to the US, fill my ratio of Troma related merchandise.

But in 2005, which was the first time I could really start building up my Troma collection, was also the time I got a letter from a Troma employee asking me if I wanted to play Toxie during the first Icelandic Independent International Film Festival. I was very lucky getting said letter because being a part of the generation that was born with the Internet, I found a way to send e-mails to everyone I wanted to talk to, despite social statuses or how big they were. Sometimes I would get replies, sometimes not. Lloyd Kaufman, Michael Herz and the Troma Team always answered my e-mails, even when I was 13 giving them bad plots to upcoming movies. It could have been an e-mail about me going to the bathroom but I would always get a very positive reply from Troma, telling me how awesome it was to hear from me.

And now, because of my e-mails I had sent in hopes of getting some more Troma films to Iceland (so that more people in Iceland could enjoy them), I was a candidate to help Lloyd during his trip to my hometown. I the first time I met him I think was at the screening of the first Toxic Avenger, the local cinema downtown had given the festival it’s biggest screen. I had brought a lot of friends whom I had introduced to Troma, and then suddenly while talking just how awesome this was, a small man walked in whom I had only seen in DVD intros and special features on his movies. There he was. The man who has inspired me more then even he knew.

When I was three years old. I had already decided want I wanted to do with my life. I wanted to make movies, cartoons and comic books. All featuring the same social commentary that Toxic Crusaders had. My dad told me that cartoons had environmental messages in hopes that the next generation wouldn’t be as bad as the generation before them and I felt that this was a worthy cause, teach by entertain. Kaufman was the hero when it came to this. Having obscene comedies always filled with actual good messages. Over the years, he had become one of the greatest heroes in my life.

And there he was, just walking into the theater. He came in alone, without introduction, just walked right in, something I wouldn’t expect from someone of his caliber. I felt like we were dealing with royalty, if my friend hadn’t pointed out that he just walked into the door, I wouldn’t even have noticed him.

I was the first to walk up to him, still in shock that I was actually meeting my idol, I might have actually scared him during out first initial meeting seeing that I just stared at him without saying anything. Finally I raised my hand as fast as I could so I could shake is and tried to introduce myself while stuttering and telling him how awesome he was. There were so many questions I wanted to ask him, stories I had heard about the films, little things I was curious about, but they were all arriving in my head at the same time, I didn’t know what to say. All I could say is how big of a fan I was.

Lloyd nodded, went into his man purse and pulled out a DVD for me. This would be our relationship for the next five days during the festival. I would try to conjure up some of the many questions I had about Troma, while he would tell me and my friends jokes as he would keep giving us DVD’s, very happy at the loyal fanbase that had brewed up here in Iceland and then we would walk in together to see a Troma film. Despite Lloyd introducing most of the Troma films and me being at most of the screenings. I only played Toxie once.

During the first screening of the 1984 cult classic in Iceland. Lloyd did an amazing speech on how the idea for the movie came and had a Q&A afterward, he had directed me on how I should act before we started and I tried to do it was well as possible. I didn’t want to screw anything up, but I was nervous. I had one line. A roar. I was suppose to roar when Lloyd asked me if there was anything that he forgot to mention, I did it right on que, and people laughed and clapped. The exact moment I did it I felt that I didn’t do it well enough, but everyone seemed to be happy, so I decided to join them with that emotion, wasn’t hard, seeing that I was standing next to one of the greatest directors of our time.

The next day I even got Lloyd to have a cameo in my first feature length project. A movie we were going to give to Troma the moment we were finished with it. Seeing that we did it at age 15, it was pretty good, we had a three act storyline, character development, decent gore and LLOYD KAUFMAN in a cameo. But the movie never did get a proper release, which is understandable, it was just made by some 15 year olds.

Charles Dickens once wrote something or other with the words “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.” All I know is that I have never experience the ‘worst of times’ since. My days with Troma have always been my ‘best of times’. But, my favorite quote has always been in a rendition of the Bard’s most famous play, my all time favorite quote of course being “They found a peanut of DEATH!”. Great words, from the great masters of our time.

I am now living the dream in Tromaville, working with mr. Kaufman on his latest feature, The Return to the Class of Nuke ‘Em High.

Thank you guys for all the memories and inspirations.

-Bjarni Gautur 

Stay tuned for more to follow from Bjarni on his experience slaving away in Niagara, New York on RETURN TO NUKE ‘EM HIGH we hope!!

Beers with Dad and Writer/Director Mark Neveldine

I have to give dad credit for letting me tag along and introducing me to all sorts of talented and interesting filmmakers, like writer/director MARK NEVELDINE! 

Last night, I’m minding my own business, eating sushi at a quiet restaurant in Gramercy, when out of the blue, dad texts me “We’re at Molly’s 22-23 3rd.”

I just assume “we” is dad and mom, although I can’t figure out, why in gods name, are they all the way down town at Molly’s?  Molly’s, I happen to know because I run by it all the time, and because it is the kind of awesome place that has sawdust on the floor and a ton of beer choices (second only to the bars where you can eat peanuts and throw the shells on the ground)

I immediately walk over after my dinner, to a fabulous surprise and find that dad is having a drink with writer/director MARK NEVELDINE!   Mark has just finished shooting in Romania, and is gearing up for the premier of Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance which he directed with Brian Taylor, starting Nic Cage.

Over drinks, Dad and Mark agreed to have MORE drinks next Friday February February 10th ahead of co-hosting the FATHERS DAY Premier at the Sunshine Cinemas here in  NYC.

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February 3, 2012, New York, NY – Greetings from Tromaville! Troma Entertainment is proud to announce that Mark Neveldine (who has learned everything he needs to know about alcohol consumption from Troma’s Lloyd Kaufman) will host the New York premiere of Father’s Day at Sunshine Cinema at midnight on Friday, February 10. He will join Father’s Day producer and creator of The Toxic Avenger, Kaufman, in hosting this historic evening, which will include a Q&A with Astron-6, who directed the movie. If conditions are right, Neveldine and Kaufman may recreate their famous “passing out drunk under the theatre seats” technique, which is instrumental to their filmmaking.

 

Mark Neveldine is best known as the writer & director of Crank (2006), Crank: High Voltage (2009) and Gamer (2009) which starred Lloyd Kaufman. His new film Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance, filmed in distant Romania (in order to get away from Lloyd Kaufman) and starring Nicholas Cage, opens on February 17 nationwide.

 

Sunshine Cinema is located at 143 East Houston Street, New York. Tickets are now on sale online at https://tickets.landmarktheatres.com/Ticketing.aspx?TheatreID=256&ShowDate=2/10/2012 or from the box office. If you are a film critic who would like a screener of Father’s Day for review, please email nina@troma.com with your mailing address.

 

The gritty, gruesome, grindhouse Father’s Day follows that classic story we all grew up with: boy watches father murdered, boy grows into a vengeful one-eyed man, man teams up with a priest and a male prostitute to take down his father’s killer. Variety calls Father’s Day “a gleefully tasteless quasi-grindhouse nasty that’s funnier than most of the many such parodic cheesefests that have been created since, well, Grindhouse!” Ain’t it Cool News adds “Father’s Day is over the top, tasteless, senseless, and completely hilarious.”  For more on Father’s Day, including additional theatres where Father’s Day will be presented, visit www.thefathersdaymovie.com

 

TROMADANCE KICKSTARTER FULFILLED! Entry Deadline Extended!

Pretty psyched to report that there could not be a better scenario – the Tromadance Kickstarter funding is already OVERSUBSCRIBED, and with 35 days to go!

To make Tromadance EVEN bigger and better, you can still donate here, anyone who donates $5,000 gets to go Bowling with our pops:
TROMADANCE on KICKSTARTER 
Meanwhile, for all you filmmakers out there the deadline to submit your film has been extended to March 15. What does this mean? FREE FILM FESTIVAL and MORE TIME to send in your work!
TROMADANCE FILMMAKERS SUBMIT HERE!

 

 

 

The ROCKY SAGA – Dad and the lesson of the Underdog

The story of Rocky has a special meaning to Troma, fans know that Dad worked on and had a bit part in a couple of the Rocky films alongside Sly Stallone.

Whether it’s in a fictional boxing ring, or behind a low-budget camera Sly, Dad and Director John Avildsen would agree that you have to fight for what you believe in.

Check out this preview for the upcoming TV retrospective : The Rocky Saga: Going the Distance, and low and behold, who is prominently featured, but our very own pops, right up there with Stallone.

Lesson of the day:  It’s the underdog believing in what he is doing who is going to be successful.  Take it from Dad, Sly and Rocky!

Special thanks to Ron Mackay for sending this clip our way!  

 

TROMATIC TRAVELS 2011-2012: Revolutionizing the Family Vacation

It’s that time of year when all the most important holidays come at once: Christmas, Hanukkah, DAD’S BIRTHDAY and New Year’s Eve.  Best of all, it’s the time of year when we head of on a Tromatic Kaufman Family Vacation.

This year, the whole family and some special guests, are headed to North Africa, where we’ll do some some post-revolutionary tourism.  It is a historic time in the Middle East, one year ago this weekend, a Tunisian fruit seller set himself on fire in protest to the Tunisian government, this set off a revolution in Tunisia resulting in the ousting of the Tunisian Dictator, and in turn sparked a wave of revolutions across Africa and the Middle East.

We are headed to a calmer part of North Africa, a country which has recently held successful democratic elections.  So, while I don’t expect we should run into any revolutionary activity, I do expect to run in to the unusual…

When it comes to family vacations we have always been far from traditional.  In Cameroon, we hitchhiked through the Yaounde hills after our car broke down.  The three of us sisters crammed into the luggage space of a random local’s car with only the smallest hint of grumbling.  A few nights later, as Mom pushed a dresser against the door to “secure” the abandoned house we had no choice but to stay in when our hotel did not exist, it was only our driver who flinched.

I will admit that it was at 5,000 meters above sea level in Tibet, that a cement shack with a tin roof almost pushed me over the edge.  That was until my sister shook me to my senses.  The straw mattresses did not, in fact, have bed bugs, she pointed out.  And she was quite confident that the stray dogs howling outside the “door” could not jump high enough to slip in through the space between the corrugated tin roof and cinderblock walls.  And besides, TOXIE is alway there to protect us if anything goes wrong.

Kaufman vacations are unpredictable, but the one thing we can always count on, is that Toxie will be there right by our side to tuck us in at a bed-bug infested flea-bag hotel, to guard the door of an abandoned hut in the Cameroon Jungle, or to turn off the single bulb that dangled from a cord from a tin roof held up by cinderblocks in the Himalayan peaks of Tibet.

Although fictional, The Toxic Avenger, or “Toxie,” as we called him, is a constant real part of our Travel.  We can expect Toxie to appear at any moment.   A typical Toxie in real-life scene might go like this:

INTERTITLE: INCA TRAIL, 16000 FEET

Guide leads group of hikers, including KAUFMANS, up steep terrain.

               DAD

          (Suddenly)

             CUT!

Group halts.  Non-KAUFMANS and guide look confused. 

DAD pulls out TOXIE mask from backpack and puts over his

head, hands video camera to MOM, loyally prepared to assist.

          DAD

         And… ACTION!

MOM films as DAD, dressed for a flood in ultra short khakis and wearing TOXIE mask, waves hands and feet in dance.  DAD/TOXIE points out scenery, attempts to engage others hikers.

Two INCA WOMEN in traditional clothes and with baby goats approach, expecting tourists and opportunity to charge for photos.   INCA WOMEN stop in tracks when see DAD in TOXIE mask.  DAD approaches INCA WOMEN, motions he would like to charge them to take a picture with him.

INCA WOMEN flee.

KAUFMAN SISTERS stand by in background.  NON KAUFMANS look bewildered.

So stay tuned, we will keep you posted on our adventure.

Professor Lloyd Gives Oxford Master Class

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I’m on the road with dad, tagging along at Oxford University, the intellectual capital of the world, where dad has been invited to give a master class.

The Honorable Roger Kirby and St. Hilda’s College at the University of Oxford present… LLOYD KAUFMAN MAKE YOUR OWN DAMN MOVIE! MASTER CLASS

Dad is giving a crash course in indie filmmaking, the TROMA way to a packed sold out room of students, journalists, professors, fans and Harry Potter.

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Filmmakers and actors dad has worked with, like Eli Roth, share advice via video. Here, Eli talks about the value of starting out as a PA on a movie to learn Filmmaking, Tarantino learned the ropes as a PA before he ran the show on Resevoir Dogs, Roth reminds filmmaker hopefulls:

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Life of Brian Myers

Tromen and Tromettes, we are thrilled to share with you the TROMEMOIR OF BRIAN MYERS, aka TROMABOY, long time Troma collaborator who is currently working on the Poultrygeist Comic!

Guaranteed: you will laugh, you will cry, you will be TROMATIZED.  Brian is not only a talented Comic Book artist, but as we learned here, he is a FABULOUS writer!   Now enjoy…

THE BRIAN MYERS TROMEMORY 

My Tromemoir starts in 1990 when I was but a mere lad of 14.  Two big things happened that year, I met my best friend Mike and I discovered Troma.

I was not what you would call a popular fellow, in fact, from entering Junior High till the day I left I was the but of a consistant stream of ridicule and abuse for 7 hours a day 180 days a year.  Yet somehow in my 8th grade year the popular folks decided that they needed to get me together with Mike, it was odd really, we both had varying stinks, and neither one of us had an once of cool. It was like they were hoping our artistic abilities would cancel out the negative, as if it was a weird science experiment.  Of course once we got together my penchant for gore and violence and Mike’s for pornography and rap music didn’t make either one of us any cooler to anybody.  Mike and I would later refelct on this time as the “Stink Buddies” phase of our lives.

It was during this time that I discovered Troma, it was in shop class, where a few classmates and I had a bet as to who could watch the most horror films in a single school year, (which I lost by one because I simply didn’t believe at that time that there was a film called Nail Gun Massacre).  It was on a weekend trip to the Couch Club (where they did 5 movies for 5 days for 5 bucks before they were driven out of business by blockbuster moving within a block of all the mom and pop video rental shops  in town) that I discovered THE TOXIC AVENGER.  

Now up untill that time Horror films to me were standard blood gore afairs, that while overall silly in premise, took themselves somwhat seriously.  I had never seen anything that mixed the blood and gore of a horror film with slapstick comedy, social commentary, plenty of boobs, and most of all just an overall sense of fun.  To this 14 year old boy it was like giving a fat guy a mountain of smiley-pies.  Here you had a story of a nerdy guy who was picked on, abused, and generally tormented, turning into the hero, sticking it to the bullies all the while saving the day, cleaning up the city of Tromaville and getting the girl, it was just what I needed to see at that time.

I began to seek out anything that had the names Lloyd Kaufman and Michael Herz on it.  Class of Nuke Em High, Troma’s War, Mother’s Day, Squeeze Play, When Nature Calls, Redneck Zombies, if it said Troma I had it in hand for the weekend.  Lloyd Kaufman quickly supplanted prior favorites in the world of film, goodbye Speilberg, Lucas, Craven and Carpenter, it was all about Uncle Lloydie.  It began to influence my writing, the straight negativity and violence was being infused with comedy, sex, and an overall irreverance.  Shortly after my discovery of  Troma I discovered Frank Zappa and that kicked it all into overdrive.  The work Mike and I would make would be very irreverant but personal to our shared point of view, although at that time we didn’t have the social commentary part down quite yet, that would come some years later.

As with many favorite things they fall by the way side.  During the late nineties, we did less creating and more running around just pulling shenanigans and waisting time as young adults often do.   So around the time Tromeo came out I wasn’t watching many films, and so I had fallen out of the loop with Troma.

In 1998 Mike moved to Spokane to live with his then girlfriend while she went to college and I stayed behind.  However when things went south for them, Mike and I decided I would move over to Spokane where we could get a place together and work on projects together.  It was right when DVD’s were really starting to hit the market, I had picked up my first DVD player and shortly after was wondering around a Borders when I saw The Toxic Avenger on DVD.  I immediately purchased it and ran home and watched it, it was as if I was watching it for the first time, and I loved it just as much.  Soon after I grabbed DVD’s of War, Class of Nuke Em High, and Tromeo and Juliet.  I hadn’t seen Tromeo at that time and it was the best Troma film yet.  Little did I know in a short ammount of time Mike and I would become part of the Troma Team.

It wasn’t long after I had moved to Spokane in Feb of 2000 that Mike and I did our first real animation entitled “M.C. Tons of Fun”.  This was back when Flash was first getting started as tool to do character animation, there were only really two other people that were doing it full time, Joe Cartoon and Camp Chaos, and then Newgrounds where Tom Fulp effectively designed and built the proto-youtube.  I was looking for work and had found a local gig working at a mall art gallery.  As I continued looking for something better, I happened upon a listing for a graphic designer position for Troma.  I emailed Lloyd directly and got a response that while the position had been filled they were looking for someone to do web cartoons for them.  I went to Mike and asked if he felt it was something that we could do, we both agreed and sent along Tons of Fun as a sampling.  Lloyd loved it and wanted us to get started as resident Flash Bitches for Troma.com. 

Our first cartoon starred Sammy Capulet and was called “Random Acts of Violence” all it was was a hipster type talking about how happy he was daddy was paying for law school and then Sammy pops up from behind his seat hit’s him with his sock and begins to dissenbowel him.  Lloyd liked it but didn’t want us to call Sammy, Sammy, he instead wanted us to change it to something with Troma in the name, and TROMABOY WAS BORN.  The title of “Random Acts of Violence” was dropped and the cartoons became Tromaboy and whatever the title of the episode would be for the week.  We then branched into two more series The Balls which followed the Penis Monster family, and Penis Monster Historical Society.  From 2000 to 2001 we did over 60 animated shorts, written, drawn, voiced and animated by Mike and myself, with occasional help from our friend Jeff (who is featured in the cartoons as Tromaboy’s buddy).  During that time we also did a major facelift to Troma.com and designed ToxicAvenger.com.

In January of 2001 we went with the Troma Team to Tromadance in Park City.  This was the year that Doug got arrested and will always be a highlight of my life running around main street, causing a ruckuss and meeting a lot of really good and creative people.  I have friends from this time that I still talk with to this day, Ramzi Abed, Doug Sakmann, Dan Martin, Dave Yarovesky, just to rattle off a few.

Between 2001 when our time as Troma’s Flash Bitches came to an end and 2006 not much happened. Mike and I had parted ways, as most people who’ve spent most time with each other for that long tend to butt heads and need that time apart.  I went down to California to be with my then girlfriend (now wife) where I did some odd projects here and there.  But I always made it a point to keep in touch with Lloyd, we’d stop and say hi at the San Diego Comic-Con booth, and I would do odd little jobs here and there, I edited the “Where in the World is Toxie” video for Peru and several times tried to get some ideas for Troma cartoons but never felt quite right.

In 2006 I had moved back to Seattle, and began hanging out with Mike again.  It was during that time that we began discussing doing animation again.  It was only natural that the talk turned to Troma.  We wanted to do two things, one, go in and revamp some of the old cartoons adding in backgrounds and fixing errors in the animation itself, giving it a George Lucas if you will, and then go into new ideas and projects.

It was in these discussions our first new idea for a Troma cartoon emerged.  We were discussing doing something in the background for our Ted Bundy Penismonster reinactment.  We had settled on having the viewing room in the background, and the idea hit to have an animation of Lloyd walk in with a bucket of popcorn, a soda, plop into the chair begin munching.  We thought it’d be funny to extend the cartoon a bit by having the execution delayed and having Penismonster Ted commenting on the delay.

In 2007 I got an ominous phone call from Mike, he was asking me some odd questions about a hernia I had had several years ago, but what he described wasn’t a hernia.  I told him he needed to go to the doctor, and it was shortly there after that our worst fears were realized, Mike had Cancer.  Mike went thoough 2 years of Cancer treatments from Chemo to Stem Cell Transplants, ultimately it would proove all for not, the treatments caused severe damage to his lungs and eventually on Feb 12 2009 Mike passed away.

Mike had been my friend and creative partner for nearly 20 years, it was as if someone had cut my drawing arm off.  Over Mike’s illness I hadn’t really talked to Lloyd much, but towards the end I made a call to Lloyd to let him know what was going on, Lloyd sent Mike a care package with a nice letter and a copy of Poultrygeist.  Mike never got to tell Lloyd himself how much he enjoyed Poultrygeist, it was the last Troma film he would ever see.

 During the time of Mike’s Illness we came up with loads of ideas, both for Troma cartoons and our own personal stuff.  Maybe one day I’ll get them done.

After Mike died I really didn’t know what to do with myself creatively, part of me thought about hanging it all up.  It was then that Lloyd came to town for a convention, I was a new Dad and went to the convention to spend some time with Lloyd and help out at the booth.

We talked about a lot of things, but one thing we discussed was doing a comic book of Poultrygeist.  I had been drawing my usual offensive fair of dead celebrities but it was a drawing of David Carradine that sparked Lloyd’s interest.

“Maybe we could do a Poultrygeist comic and work in the dead celebrities?”  Lloyd asked, it was certainly something that peeked my interest. So that day myself and long time Troma Teammate Shane Swenson took to coming up with what the story would be.  We bounced ideas and scripting back and forth for sometime, the project stagnated for awhile and then the unfathomable happened.

March of 2011 I got word that Shane had been killed in a car crash in Florida.  It was a shock to the system, I couldn’t believe for the second time in as little time I had lost someone else I worked closely with creatively and while I didn’t know Shane as long as I had known Mike, it was extreamly hard to work after that.  I had to rethink everything.

A few months later I had a phone call with Lloyd, we discussed the project, where it was, where it was going, and the fact that we were trying to rush to get something out by San Diego Comic-con a month away.  We decided it best to take our time and give it the time and care it deserves.  In that time I’ve added a whole new 25 page prologue, and am now moving into a whole new twist and take on the story that Shane and I formulated so long ago, it is better for it and is shaping up to be something truly special.

I will always continue to do projects with Lloyd, and the Troma asthetic will always be a primary influence on my work.   Whenever I create I always have one of Lloyd’s favorite quotes in my head “To thine own self be true”.  I couldn’t ask for a better mentor or friend than Lloyd Kaufman.

Joy Face our Pet Rat

We had a PET RAT. The easter bunny brought him to us in our basket one Easter morning. It was the first love, the most important pet of our life. We might even venture to say the love of our life. His name was Joy Face.

Joy Face was the cutest little rat rodent you ever saw – when he was delivered  by mom and dad, er we mean the Easter Bunny, on that glorious Easter Morn.

He came everywhere with us.  You could pet him, you could pick him up by the fur on the back of his neck and carry him around on your shoulder, you could even put him in a doll stroller and wheel him around.   He was a big hit.  a BIG hit.  he kept growing.  He was HUGE.  and his tail just kept growing too, it was long and pink, and just beautiful.  Im our eyes, he was the most beautiful Rat that ever collapsed his or her skeletons to squeeze under a doorframe, behind a radiator or under a

bookshelf on this earth.

Joy Face came everywhere with us.  But he couldn’t travel.  So when May came one summer, and we all went to France for the CANNES FILM FESTIVAL we had to leave dear beloved Joy Face at home.  A Troma Team employee would come every day and feed him, dad promised.  I had no choice! shockingly Air France would not have him o the plane.   I said a tearful goodbye, promised to bring him lots of gifts, tales and smelly french Fromage from the Croisette and off we went to Cannes.

The day we returned, I was so excited.  I ran off the plane, leapt out of the cab, and made my way as quickly as I could upstairs to my love, Joy Face.  Mom opened the door to the apartment, and I rushed past her to his cage.

My beloved Joy Face was face down in the corner, his arms and legs stretched out in front and behind him as if he had been calling to someone, to me! all the way in france but for food? for water? My poor beloved Joy Face, his tiny feet with their little perfect toenails were now terribly bloated.  JOY FACE WAS DEAD.

We put Joy Face in a Shoebox and transported him to Connecticut the next weekend, where we had a grave and formal burial service.  I made a cross out of two Troma Rulers to mark the spot.  We said some prayers.  Joy Face will always be with us.

RIP JOY FACE

I was reviewing a classic Lloyd Kaufman documentary Squirrel Gets Eaten by Maggots and it brought to mind the dangers of rat poison, and reminded me of the beloved JOY FACE.