Join 3,500 readers in helping fund MetaFilter (Hide)


“Just close your eyes and don’t let the show into your head.”, they told the kids.
March 9, 2010 3:16 PM   Subscribe

Jhonen Vasquez best known for his comic book Johnny the Homicidal Maniac [Google Book] and his Nickelodeon show Invader Zim has decided to post Zim "Facts" throughout the month of March.

He's done nine so far.

[1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6] [7] [8] [9]

Warning: some facts might not be entirely for the sane true. They are, however, quite entertaining.
posted by quin (35 comments total) 29 users marked this as a favorite

 
Wow, I was about to make a joke re: merchandising and so on but Zim Fact #3 did a better job than I ever could.

Well played, Mister Vasquez. Well played.
posted by griphus at 3:19 PM on March 9, 2010


Fact: This is not a supernatural cow!
posted by The Whelk at 3:19 PM on March 9, 2010


Excellent, I am a MASSIVE fan of Vasquez's Fillerbunny comic.
posted by Unicorn on the cob at 3:19 PM on March 9, 2010


I've always wanted to hate Jhonen Vasquez but "Happy Noodle Boy" gave me many bellyaches when I was, I don't know, younger. This blog looks pretty good too.
posted by turgid dahlia at 3:25 PM on March 9, 2010


"Why is his head so big? Whyyyy is his head soooo big?"
posted by yeloson at 3:31 PM on March 9, 2010


Oh my god! Somebody put shit in my pants!
posted by robocop is bleeding at 3:32 PM on March 9, 2010 [13 favorites]


I'd be pretty pissed off too if I had single-handedly empowered an entire generation of QUIRKY tweens with a lifetime supply of RANDOM jokes.
posted by shii at 3:37 PM on March 9, 2010 [4 favorites]


Holy shit. Clancy Brown is the voice of Mr. Krabs?

That just blows my mind a little.
posted by never used baby shoes at 3:49 PM on March 9, 2010


I liked ZIM when it aired, and enjoyed Johnny a bit, though I never followed it far. Reading his blog, I really like his writing. If nothing else, I will now imagine the angry people of the internet as "puppets of skin and poor grammar," driven by their love of some make-believe world.
posted by filthy light thief at 3:49 PM on March 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


I love JtHM and Squee, but damned if I'll ever understand how the studio execs at Nickelodeon read this and said "You know who we should get to do a kid's show for us?"
posted by Pope Guilty at 3:50 PM on March 9, 2010 [6 favorites]


Invader Zim occupies a special place in my heart.

One day -- fairly randomly, actually -- I come across the first episode of Zim. I was still in college, and my friends and I were living across two apartments, one set up with seven PC stations on cinder blocks and boards of wood, the other designed "in case normal people came by".

Heh! It happened every once in a while :)

So, I find Zim. I watch Zim.

"Guys. You have to see this."

"See what?"

"What happens when the creator of Johnny the Homicidal Maniac does a cartoon for Nick."

"Uh. Seriously? How the hell did THAT happen?"

"Dunno, but the result is *glorious*."

We throw it on -- 60" rear projection TV, streamed right off the in-house video server. Realvideo artifacts the size of golf balls assailed Jhonen's creation to no avail. We were hooked.

This was before Hot Topic.

This was before cancellation.

This was when it all began. We set up our homegrown little TiVo clone (not that we didn't have Tivos -- we had three, in fact) to record every episode. One of my roommates even put up a forum that ended up becoming one of the primary Zim sites on the Internet.

Zim was something special. We were about as significantly not Hot Topic's target market as you can imagine. But I swear, when it came to Zim stuff...37 pieces of flair, man. There was something so gloriously subversive about it all, from the elementary school simply being named "SKOOL" to the first *really* effective use of CGI cartooning to the absurdly detailed use of technology to the truly distinct (if three-letter-named) characters.

Amusingly, we weren't very far from Jhonen -- his Slave Labor Comics was only a few blocks from us in Santa Clara, CA. But you know, we were random fans. And word from the grapevine was that, upon cancellation, Jhonen was about as done with the show as could be. So it's not like we harassed him or anything*.

I actually met him a few years later, at of all things a tech event called Bar Camp LA. Of all people, Richard Stallman was there. (He delivered -- no joke -- a Foo Bar Mitzvah.) Now, here's what was great:

Jhonen did not know Richard.
Richard did not know Jhonen.
A surprising portion of Jhonen's fans and Richard's fan knew both.

So, there was this great moment where the two introduced themselves to eachother, utterly oblivious to the confused looks of their respective half-circles of orbiting fans.

Anyway, it's pretty cool, and amazing to see Jhonen talking about Zim again. I'd say it gives me hope for more episodes, but, you know, he did just write about the violent murder of a Nick executive's daughter, so I'm not exactly hopeful.
posted by effugas at 3:55 PM on March 9, 2010 [9 favorites]


I sort of love that Invader ZIM exists, that someone at Nickelodeon read Johnny the Homicidal Maniac and thought "Oh my god, this guy needs a kids' show!"*

I did have an Invader ZIM T-shirt, which I actually donated to Goodwill last year. I really hope some little 15-year-old found it and got really excited.

I used to watch the Christmas special ever year. I should buy it on DVD now, really, since my VHS tape of it is long gone (as is my VCR).

*OK, I know it's that someone read Squee and though "Oh my god, this guy needs a kids' show" (although I'm not sure if that's better), but just let me have my fantasy.
posted by darksong at 3:57 PM on March 9, 2010


I stumbled across my trade paperback of JtHM two weeks ago when I was supposed to be packing to move and was a quarter of the way through before my wife caught me.
posted by JaredSeth at 4:04 PM on March 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


great post. good to know this guy is still kicking around.
posted by ServSci at 4:08 PM on March 9, 2010


Aside from Zim, my only encounter with Jhonen was Fillerbunny issue 3. My wife got it free while buying some other comics. A moment of jaw-dropping incredulity, and then sincere delight. I think it was Aborto, the fetus sidekick, that did it.
posted by Paragon at 4:09 PM on March 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


Wow. I like Invader ZIM and all, but Vasquez kind of comes off as a bit of a dick.
posted by ShawnStruck at 4:20 PM on March 9, 2010


Squeeeeee!

Happy Noodle Boy will always be my favorite, though: "You is my elf ho!"
posted by LMGM at 4:41 PM on March 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


ShawnStruck : Wow. I like Invader ZIM and all, but Vasquez kind of comes off as a bit of a dick.

Read JtHM. He'll come off as a less of a dick, and more as someone deeply in touch with their dark side for a laugh.

And I promise you'll never see Zim the same way again, either.
posted by pla at 4:45 PM on March 9, 2010


I should really like Jhonen Vasquez. I read all his books back in college, laughed at all the jokes, loved all the episodes of Invader Zim that I saw. And the horror he's capable of is top-notch. I just . . . there's no there there. Nothing to connect with, only void. Maybe I'm old, I don't know.
posted by Countess Elena at 5:41 PM on March 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


The void of meaning is the point. Also MEAT! EAT IT!
posted by The Whelk at 5:57 PM on March 9, 2010


I'm still an unashamed (ok, maybe a teeny bit ashamed) Jhonen fangirl, but I didn't know about this blog. Thanks!

The Zim holiday special is a tradition in our house, along with the Pee Wee's Playhouse one.
posted by JoanArkham at 5:58 PM on March 9, 2010


Cease your barky noises, fucker-fuckies! Join my legions of darkness! My frowny-face empire!
posted by r_nebblesworthII at 6:08 PM on March 9, 2010 [3 favorites]


A bootleg copy of the Zim DVD appeared at my home one day. Just crystallised out of the air. My housemates and I were old JtJM fans, so into the player it went.

And it stayed. We had no reception where we were, and we were all students and wageslaves, so no cable either. So nothing but Zim, 24/7, bathing our naked living room in its horrible colours.

To this day, if I call out "My tallest?" to any of them, I will get a reply, like a sort of freak radar.
posted by Jilder at 6:16 PM on March 9, 2010 [2 favorites]


that was the best read I've had in many a moon. That completely kept me from helping my kid with his homework. He is also, I am proud to say, a huge fan of invader Zim as well. Wish I could let him read this, but....
posted by Redhush at 7:02 PM on March 9, 2010


Johnen has always hated his fans. Always, since issue one of NNY. A deep, abiding misanthropy and more than a few codependency issues sets his loathing on his fanbase like weasels on a duckling hatchery. One of the many reasons I adore him. I think I'll write him another letter right now. Where are my crayons?
posted by Slap*Happy at 7:27 PM on March 9, 2010 [2 favorites]


Man! These sure are wacky!
posted by Pronoiac at 7:38 PM on March 9, 2010 [5 favorites]


Ugh, I love Invader Zim, but Vasquez' self-indulgent ramblings about why he and his writers are so much smarter and better than the show's fanbase and anyone else in the world (but it's kinda-sorta parody! But not really! But it is! But I dislike you!) is both inane, and irritating.

A bunch of people loved some work you did? Poor baby. Rather than bitching about it, you should be grateful people are still talking and thinking about it ten years later, that - maybe - they were on to something, just as much as you were.

A lot of artists will spend their whole lives struggling for that kind of success and recognition. Even if you think it's adulation from idiots, you made someone happy, take pleasure from that, not resentment.
posted by smoke at 8:04 PM on March 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


smoke, I'd like to agree with you, but I'm worried about some of the fanmail Vasquez has received. The show hasn't been on in 10 years, but I could imagine getting angry mail for something he is no longer creating would be frustrating, then to see incorrect information thrown around could top it all. I speculate, because I don't follow ZIM fandom any more, but I have been to anime conventions and been present at Q&A panels. Speaking as a fanboy of sorts, fandom is a weird world, and his mockery seems fitting with my slim understanding of who he is (or at least what he writes).
posted by filthy light thief at 10:26 PM on March 9, 2010


Johnen has always hated his fans. Always, since issue one of NNY. A deep, abiding misanthropy and more than a few codependency issues sets his loathing on his fanbase like weasels on a duckling hatchery. One of the many reasons I adore him. I think I'll write him another letter right now. Where are my crayons?

That's exactly what set JTHM aside from other self-styled goth comics like Gloom Cookie; it wasn't a great big group hug with a few gentle barbs at some of the sillier things about the scene, but a splendidly sarcastic broadside aimed right at the sorts of people who would identify with the main character.

Of course, one of the long-running in-jokes about the goth subculture is that anyone involved in it will swear up and down on a stack of Cleopatra-signed Sisters-tribute-band CDs that they are not a goth and have only scorn for the subculture, but nonetheless wear black because they independently discovered that it looks good and go to the clubs because of the music and the people, i.e., a somewhat juxtaposition between denial and affirmation. JTHM surfed the cusp of this great divide for a while, but, with it being an unstable position, even all the contempt Vasquez could throw at the "spooky" people and their frivolous obsessions wasn't enough to keep JTHM artwork of gothic/industrial night flyers.
posted by acb at 5:11 AM on March 10, 2010 [3 favorites]


Is Johnen still wearing pirate shirts?
posted by HumanComplex at 7:55 AM on March 10, 2010


Whoopee, and all that shit!!
posted by homunculus at 8:41 AM on March 10, 2010 [1 favorite]


As a goth/industrial/whatever, I could never get into Vasquez's work. I figured maybe I missed something.

I read through a few of these. Yeah, I'm still missing it.
posted by Uther Bentrazor at 10:24 AM on March 10, 2010


Ugh, I love Invader Zim, but Vasquez' self-indulgent ramblings about why he and his writers are so much smarter and better than the show's fanbase and anyone else in the world (but it's kinda-sorta parody! But not really! But it is! But I dislike you!) is both inane, and irritating.

One of those writers is Frank Conniff. That's right, TV's Frank wrote for Invader Zim.
posted by JHarris at 11:16 AM on March 10, 2010 [1 favorite]


I don't know how to feel about Vasquez anymore. JTHM really spoke to me when I was around 13-14, and I've grown up now and it doesn't work for me anymore, but I still loved that stuff as an adolescent, and I still wear my GIR slippers around the house.

I tried to follow him on Twitter for a while and he just made me depressed.
posted by NoraReed at 1:44 PM on March 10, 2010


"this lettuce! how crisp is it?! HOW CRISP GODDAMMIT?!?!"
posted by radiosilents at 7:29 PM on March 10, 2010 [2 favorites]


« Older Erik Malmstrom, veteran, writes an opinion piece f...  |  What a pretty little outfit, g... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments