Johnny is not nice. He is a deranged serial killer, mass murderer, and spree killer who interacts with various other characters, more often than not torturing and murdering them. He elaborately and sadistically kills anyone who even slightly irritates him, then drains their blood and paints one of the walls in his house with it (to keep the Thing from getting out). If the situation dictates, Johnny is also willing to murder "innocent" people, though in his twisted mind, even they deserve their fate for some reason or another. The number of Johnny’s victims is in the dozens, if not hundreds--or perhaps even thousands. Authorities are unable to capture Johnny and seem unaware of his existence, though his crimes are often witnessed in public and reported by the few who manage to survive.
And this is only one of his characters.
Now I tell you this, because I stumbled across a surprising gem of a cartoon video that ran on Nickelodeon from March. 2001 to December 2002.
Zim is a member of the mighty Irken race, a species of aliens whose social hierarchy is based on height. Zim was banished to the planet Foodcourtia as a fry cook for the remainder of his life for destroying a sizable portion of an Irken city with a giant robot, known as the Frontline Battle Mech. The robot was part of Operation Impending Doom I, a major galactic conquest venture by the Irkens. Zim was overeager (as usual) and activated his robot before leaving his home planet, much to the chagrin of his leaders.
Upon hearing of Operation Impending Doom II, Zim "quits" being banished and arrives at the Great Assigning where Irken Elite soldiers are chosen to become Invaders, special soldiers whose mission it is to blend in with the indigenous life forms of their assigned planet and collect intelligence. Zim pleads with the Tallest to assign him a planet, and in a desperate act to get Zim as far away as possible, they assign him to a "Mystery Planet", which turns out to be Earth.
The show features the exploits of Zim trying to conquer the Earth while his arch-nemesis, a human child named Dib, tries to stop him.
Now...I gotta ask. How the hell did this come about? Who at the executive offices of Nick sat down, read Vazquez' work, and said:
"Wow. I bet this guy would make an AWESOME kids cartoon for our network!"
I mean, really. Johnny (or "Nny" to his friends. If he had any friends.) talks to inanimate objects. Like Nailbunny, who is a dead bunny he got bored with and NAILED to his wall. Nailbunny is Nny's CONSCIENCE, whereas his dark side manifests in two styrofoam Pilsbury Dough Boy statues he has, named Mr. Eff (guess what that stands for) and Psycho Doughboy. Mr. Eff wants Nny to be his friend and keep on killing mindlessly, while Psycho Doughboy wants Nny to off himself and end his miserable existance.
And reading this, they paid him to make a children's cartoon.
Did the fun stop there? No! They asked his friend, Roman Dirge, to write some of the stories for Invader Zim. Roman, if you don't know him, writes such cute and cuddly characters as Lenore, a dead girl brought back to life.
It sounds like I'm trashing Invader Zim; I'm not.
It's fucking brilliant.
It only lasted a season and a half on Nick, and frankly I'm surprised it lasted that long. It's like the Emperor's New Clothes; everyone at the production studios were clapping themselves on the back, saying what a great cartoon they made, then some little girl must have walked up to them and said:
Yeah. Not too bright, those Nick execs. But this would be a fantastic cartoon on the Cartoon Network's Adult Swim!
I wish Nick would sell the rights to CN, and let Jhonen create more episodes. Invader Zim is hilarious, in the way that only sick, twisted adult fucks like me could truly appreciate.
Computer: Irken Invader Zim, for single-handedly ruining Operation Impending Doom 1...
Zim: Ruined? I blew up more than any other invader!
Almighty Tallest Red: You BLEW UP all the other invaders!
Yeah. It's that good.