The Great Online Comics Insult War
My Facebook friends Johnny Ryan and Frédéric Fleury are both extremely well-respected cartoonists. Johnny, as you all should know by now, is the author of amazingly tasteless and hilarious work like Prison Pit (the graphic novel we already talked about), the Blecky Yuckerella books, Angry Youth Comix, and dozens of others. He's also been drawing the comics section of VICE since the dawn of man. Frédéric is the Frenchman behind the "Death Roads" page in VICE France each month and the already legendary Frédéric magazine, an online collective of amazing drawers and drawerings that puts out a great book once a year. Fred is perhaps less of a comics guy and more of an illustrator. Both of them have a penchant for drawing penises.
Around a month ago I noticed these two men were posting extremely crude drawings of the other on their Facebook pages. Since then, I have been stalking both of their profiles and enjoying hearty laughs. I decided to write them and ask if they didn't mind collecting these drawings and putting them out in a book with my own little publishing house, The Milan Review. They agreed. Then I thought they might want to explain to me (and you) how the fuck this whole pathetic mess happened. So here they are.
VICE: How did you guys get to know each other? Have you been fans of each other's work for a long time?
Frédéric Fleury: I never met Johnny in real life. All I know is he started insulting me on Facebook and I had to answer because I'm a proud person. Now he's spamming my wall every day, posting silly drawings. It's a fucking pain in the ass. Everyone can see it, even my poor mom.
Johnny Ryan: A few years ago I came across Fred's "Ice Fuckers" drawings on Flickr and I've enjoyed his work since then. I've never met Fred. All I know about him is that he likes to fuck ice and trees.
FF: Seriously, I've known Johnny's work for a while. I've been following him on publications like yours and on Flickr. I only discovered his books a short while ago—it's not easy to find Johnny Ryan in French libraries. I am the number one French Prison Pit fan.
So, who started the war? And who's winning it?
JR: I think I did the first drawing of Fred. Everyone is losing.
FF: Yes, everyone.
What was that first drawing?
JR: The first drawing was Fred shitting a lightning bolt.
Have you given any thought to how this might end?
JR: It will end with Fred lying face down on the ground and blood spraying out of his ass like a fountain.
FF: I think that it will go private. We're already exchanging some real drawings by mail, the old-fashioned way.
What do you like about each other's work?
JR: I like Fred's cartoon style and his sense of humor. He draws gross shit and he's very inventive in that area. I relate to that.
FF: He always surprises me, he has no limits and his drawings always make me laugh. I think that Prison Pit is his masterpiece. I really love the way he's working in black and white.
What is your favorite part about drawing penises?
FF: Penis, ass, boobs, I'm sorry but this stuff will always make me laugh, even if a kid draws a huge cock on my new car. It's not only about penises, I think it's more about some kind of destruction of the body mixed with bad jokes and insults.
JR: A penis is the only thing that you can draw that immediately makes people go "AWESOME!" It's a great unifier.
In this sense, Johnny, are you the adult version of the young Jonah Hill in Superbad?
JR: I guess so. But when you put it that way I get really bummed out for some reason.
Have you learned much about the other person while doing this?
FF: I have learned that Johnny's dog wears a Mexican hat.
JR: I've learned that Fred needs mental help.
Are you excited to see this stuff come out in book form?
FF: As long as a book contains bad jokes about Moebius, Tezuka, Crumb, and Sammy Harkham it should see the light of day.
JR: I feel sorry for the whole world.