Michael Cusack’s cartoons are so embedded in the Australian internet subculture, odds are you’ve stumbled across one of his animated sketches before. If it wasn’t one lonely Saturday night as your Dorito-dust-stained index finger scrolled infinitely into the ether of Facebook, then it could’ve been on the train, as a pack of acne-riddled cum-charged private school boys huddle around a blaring iPhone, bellowing out in unison: “Fuck Stacey, she’s a bitch!”.
That’s the sort of widespread internet fandom that Cusack’s unique brand of animation has garnered and it’s easy to understand why—they’re short, hilarious and obsessively quotable, but at the same time, they serve absolutely no educational purpose whatsoever. Some may see that as a drawback, but meh, since when did the Internet have to be about learning?
Cusack’s latest upload, Yabby Hunterz, is a twisted piss-take on reality shows like Swamp People and Hillbilly Handfishin’. A couple of rough-as-guts blokes from deep outback Australia host a program in which they capture and torture yabbies, complete with pieces to camera. The characters, much like a bunch of other successful Cusack gems, tap into a redneck-exploitation trend that’s so readily clickable, and as such, there’s a tonne of swears. But rather than being shoehorned in to force a laugh, the ‘cunts’, ‘shits’ and ‘fucks’ form part of a hilarious vernacular unique to Cusack’s twisted imagination.
Having mucked around with cartoons and flick books as a kid, Cusack admits he was “relatively late to the internet animation game”. He got into flash animation after needing a break from a low-budget feature in his early 20s, and came up with “Gabe Newell at E3”. The cartoon did well, and Cusack has been sporadically dropping animated sketches ever since.
While he’s in the process of developing content for TV, as well as working on getting some feature films off the ground, Cusack acknowledges the creative drawbacks of those media, and hopes to continue producing cartoons for the internet. “On the internet you can do whatever the fuck you want without having to convince producers and networks.”