Dark and disturbingly funny, Johnny The Homicidal Maniac (JTHM) follows the adventures of Johnny (you can call him Nny), who lives with a pair of styrofoam doughboys that encourage his madness, a wall that constantly needs a fresh coat of blood, and–oh, yeah–his victims in various states of torture. Join Nny as he frightens the little boy next door (Todd, known to fans of Vasquez’s work as Squee), thirsts for Cherry Brain Freezies, attempts suicide, draws Happy Noodle Boy, and tries to uncover the meaning of his homicidal existence.
This may only be a short review but that isn’t to say I didn’t love the book, I find it difficult sometimes sharing my thoughts on comics and graphic novels and this was a strange one.
For those who don’t know this author, he was also the creator of the Nickelodeon show Invader Zim, which was cancelled because it was to strange for children. JTHM is another story that would be too strange for kids and I would definitely not recommend it for anyone younger that 15 to be perfectly honest. There is voilence, Johnny is completely unhinged and the morals portrayed in the book are questionable to say the least.
Johnny is the embodiment of the devil in your mind. He is that part of you that wants to scream and shout anytime anyone does any wrong to you, but he goes one step further. He believes he is feeding the wall of his home blood to keep something at bay, something which is inside the wall. As the stroy goes on he becomes more and more terrfiying and soon looses his mind even more, if you thought that was possible. I loved the story and how it developed, it went futher than I expected and I liked that it always made me think about things, like the way I treat other people.
The art in JTHM is incredibly dark and the font used can be difficult to follow sometimes but I thought that reflected well on the main character as his personality was the same. There are brutal parts and death is inked on nearly every page so this book is not for the faint hearted but I loved that all the way through there was a suggestion about the whole idea of video games, books, movies etc shaping people and making them do crazy things, and how that in itself was crazy…. these things are entertainment and because I’ve just read nearly two hundred pages about a murderer killing people doesn’t mean I am now going to go out and do it myself!
There is a sick and twisted humour that runs through JTHM which I adored, I found certain little tidbits hilarious and actually laughed out loud a fair bit. This is to say these things were meant to be funny, the strips are not meant to be taken too seriously and anyone who does so is reading the wrong book. I loved JTHM and can’t wait to read Vasquez’ Squee which is on my shelf too.
Johnny the Homicidal Manic; The Directors Cut was first published in 1997, with a more recent edition out in 2010, by Slave Labor Graphics. My copy is actually my partners and I’ve now stolen it… don’t tell him.
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