"Dear Die-Ary. Today I stuffed some dolls full of dead rats I put in the blender. I'm beginning to wonder if, maybe, therereallyis something wrong with me."
A series of comic books by Jhonen Vasquez, the guy who didInvader Zim. Johnny (Nny for short) is a serial killer with various psychological disorders who does bizarre and often nasty things to bizarre and often nasty people. He often has long, serious, intellectual monologues about the state of society, only to end them with non-sequiturs like "Tuesday is UFO day". When not doing that, Nny likes to draw a comic strip about a deranged, foul-mouthed stick figure named "Happy Noodle Boy". His only friends (if you can call them that) are Todd "Squee" Casil, the meek kid next door whom he unintentionally scares shitless, and Nailbunny, a dead rabbit nailed to the wall who is actually Nny's voice of reason.It started as a series of comics in the magazine Carpe Noctem, and later spawned a seven-book series, later compiled and reprinted as JtHM: The Director's Cut. Related spin-offs included Squee, a four-book series which later was also collected and reprinted with filler from all eleven books in a separate section; I Feel Sick, which starred Johnny's ex-girlfriend and almost-victim Devi; and Fillerbunny, a deliberately half-assed trio of books spun off from some Squee filler.Recently, there has been talk of maybe a movie. Diablo only knows what will happen if it goes through, but at least it would be animated.
This comic features examples of:
Adorkable: Johnny. No, seriously. When he's happily dating Devi, you wouldn't even recognize him.
Abusive Parents: While Squee's mother doesn't care about him one bit, his father actively despises him and blames him for ruining his life.
Apparently, they also tell him to get kidnapped.
All Just a Dream: After Johnny's suicide and trip to Hell, Johnny contemplates whether or not it was all just a dream. After all, the universe ending with his death and being rebuilt with his resurrection? Moving Doughboys? A couple of escaped victims roaming his increasingly-labyrinthine house until they encounter and beat the snot from him? Said victims appearing free, without memory, and unharmed after he wakes up? Sure, he knows he's insane, but he knows he's not insane enough to believe that. (Now all he has to wonder about is how Devi heard a Doughboy screaming loudly over the phone...)
To be fair, Devi was the one who started the Almost Kiss.
Animated Actors: Suggested, not by the characters, but by the author's notes that pop up every now and then. Often something like explaining how the "actor" was able (or not) to survive being attacked by Johnny.
"To achieve THIS shot, we first made a plaster mold of the actor's head. We then filled it with cow parts. Then, for realism, we surprised the actor by blowing a hole through his head."
Art Evolution: Nny gets thinner and less mangy over the seven books, as does everything else, really.
Very very clear in the early drawings, beginning with Johnny The Little Homcidal Maniac, where his length around the middle is essentially cut in half every strip.
The art in general becomes cleaner as the series goes on, and the panels aren't nearly as squished as they are in the first two issues.
Asexuality: Johnny finds sexual desire, like any biological imperative, to be revolting, but Reverend Meat seemed to imply that Johnny has had sex with some girl (possibly before he went crazy, since Johnny doesn't remember it). Whether Johnny became averse to sex after his psychosis set in, is not asexual but wishes to be, or Reverend Meat was just screwing with him, is arguable.
On the matter of Nny's sexuality, Jhonen had this to say: "He's a coward and I think it manifests itself in many ways. One of them being the fact that's he's disgusted with sexuality. I don't think he has a sex drive and if he does it finds its way out through other means, mainly a knife through the flesh." *
Judging by that quote and what Johnny says in the comic, it sounds like that confirms he's a repulsed asexual (and probable)nonlibidoist or was that possibly just a way of saying it's solely a case of Paralyzing Fear of Sexuality with piquerism?
Asshole Victim: Quite a few of Nny's victims are this, especially those that wind up in the Torture Cellar. Edgar Vargas is an exception singled out due to being something of a One-Scene Wonder who was specifically identified as being a decent person Nny took no satisfaction in killing, but far from the only one — basically, Nny'll kill you for being an asshole, but he'll also kill you for being friends with an asshole, being somewhere in the same general vicinity as an asshole, for triggering his Hair-Trigger Temper, for catching him in a bad mood, for wearing bell bottoms...
Tess: The fact that I'm here is a sign he's fucked up enough to have blurry aim!
Bond One-Liner: An odd one in that it was directed at Squee (who wasn't the victim) and didn't really comment on the death, but was still a super badass way for Johnny to reveal himself.
Pedophile: Why'd you tell me your name? I didn't want to know your name!
(Pedophile gets his head caved in with a pipe.)
Nny: (wielding pipe) Todd? I liked 'Squee' better.
Can't Get in Trouble for Nuthin'': Deconstructed, like Contractual Immortality. Nny will never get caught. If he's reported, the cops will never remember who he is. It doesn't matter how public his sprees are, or how many victims, or even if he confesses directly to somebody's face at length. Once he returns from Hell and stops being a wastelock, this ends, and he's forced to go on the run.
"Sometimes...you can cry until there's nothing wet in you. You can scream and curse to where your throat rebels and ruptures. You can pray, all you want, to whatever god you think will listen. And, still it makes no difference. It goes on, with no sign as to when it might release you. And you know that if it ever did relent...it would not be because it cared. —(Written on the wall in blood before everything went black)"
Chuck Cunningham Syndrome: The embryo in the jar that averts Johnny's first on-panel suicide attempt by informing him the commercial where the whole family gets diarrhoea is on never appears again, despite being one of the voices.
Doesn't Like Guns: Johnny hates to even touch guns and thinks people should only use them on themselves. The only time he used one on another person was an attempted murder-suicide. (Well, the murder part was successful.) In the Carpe Noctum strips, he had no qualms with killing using a pistol, probably due to Early Installment Weirdness.
Driven to Suicide: Johnny decides not to follow through with his intention to commit suicide in the end, and loudly proclaims his taking back control over his life. Then he ends up accidentally killing himself.
Dutch Angle: Vasquez makes use of many extreme angles, but especially notable are the many Dutch angles used to portray the state of Johnny's mind, as well as the sense of unbalance and bizarre nature of his environment.
Even Evil Has Standards: For all the evil he performs, Johnny hates rapists and paedophiles, though this is more due to issues with physical contact.
Actually, he seems pretty upset that anyone would want to hurt the easily-terrified child in question. His attempt to reassure said child unfortunately goes about as well as you would expect, especially because he kind of ripped the pedophile's brain out in front of him.
Fire and Brimstone Hell: When it's not like an Earth full of small-minded assholes. (...No, wait, that's pretty much Earth anyway.)
"Forgets" to Eat: Because by the end of the comic, a somewhat vaguely sane Johnny is seeking complete freedom, including from his own body's needs. Mocked by new head voice Reverend Meat.
Freudian Excuse: Completely averted, even for the Villain Protagonist himself (Johnny makes vague mentions of people making fun of him when he was younger, but it's never used to justify what he does). Nailbunny's rant about Nny formally being a great artist also qualifies as an aversion, though it's similarly vague. Vasquez intentionally left Nny's origins unwritten to avoid this. Eventually, though we don't get the full details, the sequel spinoff I Feel Sick implies that he was corrupted by the same force that created the Doughboys. It's always clear that nothing really excuses Johnny's actions, however.
Godly Sidestep: Johnny meets God. God is a sleeping fat man who, upon being woken up, refuses to answer any questions and insists he's earned a break after creating the entire universe.
Good Is Boring: Heaven is ridiculously boring to an outsider like Johnny or to the employees, who are actually the damned. This is because Heaven consists of everybody sitting down in chairs doing nothing — they're utterly content, and thus utterly unmotivated.
Happily Failed Suicide: Johnny tries to kill himself with a gun-toting robot that will shoot him if he tries to turn it off or answers the phone. After an indignant conversation with some of the voices in his head, he changes his mind and decides he wants to live after all, switching the robot off. As it turns out, the robot didn't work, and Johnny exclaims that he was extremely lucky. The moment after, the phone rings and Johnny, happy to be alive, turns to answer it. The robot then shoots him. He forgot to turn it on in the first place and only did so when he thought he was switching it off.
Hair Antennae: Apparently hair loss is a side effect of being rejected from Hell and returned to life.
Important Haircut: Nny either sleep-shaved himself during a stupid dream, or it burned off when he went to Hell. Either way, he's left with two Hair Antennae and the meagre trade-off of freedom and semi-sanity.
Improbable Weapon User: Nny has killed and/or maimed people with an automatic screwdriver, a live snake, a loose circular saw blade... and that's just the beginning of it.
According to his Twitter, he killed a man with a Cheeto.
Also, salad tongs.
In Love with Your Carnage: Jimmy develops an infatuation with Johnny when he witnesses Johnny's killing spree at a Taco Hell Outlet. It doesn't end well.
The Insomniac: Nny dislikes sleeping; it further distorts his perception of reality. This means he stays awake until he loses consciousness, at which point his body usually continues doing unspeakable things of its own accord. According to his Twitter, he once woke up on the beach trying to paddle a hollowed-out corpse like a canoe.
Interrupted Suicide: Of a different sort. In one strip, Nny discusses his current attempt to commit suicide to the Doughboys. Before he goes through with it, Nailbunny tells him that a TV show he likes is on. Cut to him laughing uproariously at the TV. In Jhonen's notes in the Director's cut, he says he found the idea of someone failing to commit suicide then losing interest in it to be funny, with a strip showing a proto-Johnny trying to shoot himself with an empty gun, and then going to watch TV.
Lunatic Loophole: Throughout the series, Johnny manages to avoid being arrested for or even suspected of any of his crimes, up to and including draining the blood of a flower vendor, on a crowded street in broad daylight, with numerous horrified witnesses present.
Mad Artist: Johnny...if his creative murders and Happy Noodle Boy comics actually count as art.
Apparently, he can also knit shovels. Not a functional shovel, but yes, a shovel.
Mad Eye: Johnny is depicted with one eye huge and staring, the other slitted as a marker for insanity. Well, greater than normal levels of insanity.
Devi acts as this, too. Almost any interaction between them has Johnny acting much closer to sane than usual, be it the three months before she asks him out or even after she beats the crap out of him.
Motive Decay: Purposely invoked in the story and discussed by Johnny, who finds it harder and harder to remember why he kills people as the thing behind the wall and the Doughboys gain more control over him.
Mundane Afterlife: Heaven is... people sitting in chairs. Hell is... living with all the people who go to Hell and living with the reason you went to Hell in the first place. There are actually good reasons behind this. In Heaven, the people there are truly happy, entirely contented, and thus lack the desires of living people, who spend their lives looking for happiness. Hell's pretty self-explanatory. Even Nny says that are least in life there are some nice people mixed in with all the jackasses.
Murderers Are Rapists: Averted with Johnny, but played straight with Jimmy. Johnny's reaction to Jimmy provide the trope's page quote.
Only Sane Man: Squee is probably the closest thing to "sane" that this universe is ever going to have, and given how often Johnny accidentally scares the hell out of him, he might not stay that way for long. In the odd little world of House 777, Nailbunny certainly qualifies, as he attempts to keep the Doughboys from totally screwing Johnny over, and Johnny in a state slightly resembling a decent human being. His job is less than desirable.
Papa Wolf: Nny bludgeoning the pedophile that threatened Squee was probably the closest thing to a Crowning Moment of Awesome he ever had. He even tried to teach Squee not to be afraid of such people. His method was, uh, flawed, but his intent was genuine.
Police Are Useless: Of course, competence from anyone in a Jhonen Vasquez work might be expecting too much. The police are no different.
Poisonous Captive: Much of Nny's degeneration could be attributed to the thing behind the wall, who wound up creating the Doughboys with the intent that they could push Johnny into suicide. In order to keep it trapped, Nny also had to make sure the wall was continually coated in wet blood, meaning he wound up killing at least one person he otherwise wouldn't have.
It's not really "better" in a moral sense, and even he himself admits it earns him no absolution. Sexual desire (and sexual climax) is physical, which makes it a "thing of the flesh," which Nny wants to eschew because he believes succumbing to that kind of temptation makes one a slave to their own body. That "Mmy" does this willingly, while supposedly emulating him, is personally offensive but not just for being rape. Nny's is a guy who'd opt for murder over consensual nookie.
Spin-Off: The main series spun-off into Squee, which focused on Johnny's grade school neighbor, then later into I Feel Sick, which centered around a young female artist Johnny once tried to kill. I Feel Sick itself was then spun-off into Fillerbunny...sorta.
Squee: Todd makes this sound when he's scared, leading Johnny (being Johnny) to actually think that his name was 'Squee'. Johnny also has a Squee moment when after he's informed in Heaven that, while there, he can blow up a person's head by thinking about it.
Stalker with a Crush: After Nny fails to kill her, Devi becomes convinced he's following her, and her fear of him drives her to agoraphobia. JtHM implies she's just being paranoid, though he does show up in silhouette outside her workplace in I Feel Sick, so perhaps he was stalking her after all.
Jimmy, sans the crush - he's closer to Stalker With A Fanatic Obsession than anything.
Take That, Audience!: Jimmy, or Mmy, from chapter seven was an attack on people who liked the comic before Johnny started contemplating what he was doing, and also towards people who found Johnny someone they could relate to as a person. Also Anne-Gwish was an attack against people that considered JTHM a goth comic because of its art style and its anti-conformist views.
Tension-Cutting Laughter: The scene where Devi and Nny are on a date. Devi jokes about killing Nny and leaving his dead body. Both fall silent, but after a moment they both laugh.
Verbal Tic Nickname: Squee, who's real name is Todd. He never said his name was Squee, it's just a sound he makes when he's scared. So when Johnny asked what his name was, that was all he could manage.
Walking the Earth: The series ends with Nny doing this. Of course, when you think about it, he probably had to. An Admirer, of Sorts implies that now that his duty as a Waste-Lock is completed, he is no longer immune to getting caught, so staying in one place for too long isn't the wisest thing for him.
Your Head A Splode: Johnny briefly gains this power when he finds out that those who are in Heaven have powers that vary from person to person, though his guide tells him to refrain from the thought of doing so, lest he'd explode someone's head. He almost immediately turns this power onto a guy and blows up his head a grand total of three times — three, because his head regenerated every time. After the third time, the man got irritated and does the same to Johnny, who retaliated and...well. The end result is a head-explody war among all of the residents. And a lot of free-floating brain matter.