on 8 June 2004
I can say, without any sense of doubt, that "JTHM" (short for "Johnny the Homicidal Maniac) is unquestionably the most perverted, sickest, deranged, gruesome and disturbing thing I have ever read in my life. Normally, when you hear somebody describe something with such words as the ones I have used, you'd think there's no way in the world that the person enjoyed it. However, I'm telling you that I really enjoyed myself reading this. Sure, it's sick and twisted--but that's the purpose of "JTHM." It's not here to solve world hunger or bring peace to the world. It's here for entertainment purposes.
This book is a collection of "Johnny the Homicidal Maniac" comic strips about a twisted and sadistic character, Johnny. Johnny is one disturbed cookie, as he goes around killing numbers of people on any given day. Sometimes he kills them quickly--other times, he likes to play around and torture them. He doesn't know exactly why he does what he does, and he even questions it all at one point. There's a wall in his house that must be kept painted with fresh blood from his victims, or an unspeakable horror will reveal itself. Johnny is also extremely suicidal and attempts to end his life many times, but there's always something that gets in the way of him trying to do himself in. While he hates everybody in the world--which is the cause for all of his violent outbursts, the only human being he can tolerate is a cute little kid known as "Squee." However, he keeps traumatizing the kid with his "crazy antics."
I know what you're thinking. How can something so deranged and gruesome be viewed as "funny?" Well, there's really no easy answer for that. It's funny because you know that it's not serious and it's not trying to take itself seriously. Jhonen has created a nightmarish world of pain and suffering, but is able to be humorous and openly sarcastic about it. He's always grinning at you along the way, throwing in subtle little jokes that are hidden throughout the book. In fact, this is something you need to read more than once, as you're bound to miss a few hidden things the first time around. Vasquez has created a ghoulishly world filled with unspeakable terror and dark comedy.
In no way is this recommended for people with weak stomachs. You have to really have a warped sense of humor to appreciate "JTHM," and yes--I am a pretty warped person. The book is bound to get a reaction out of you, whether it's pure disgust or helpless giggling. It does contain graphic violence, adult themes, and dark and disturbing imagery. It's a work of fiction that is in your face and refuses to make any apologies for its existence.
Sick and demented, "JTHM: The Director's Cut" is a disturbingly good time that is bound to give you some messed up dreams if you read it all in one setting late into the night. It might be nothing more than a sick-fest of blood and guts, but I think it's done in a clever--and yet, zany way. If you're looking for something dark and unrelenting, this is definitely something to check out. Just make sure you know what you're getting yourself into once you decide to open that door... because Johnny is never fond of allowing his "guests" to leave once they enter his house of horrors. -Michael Crane
on 25 August 2004
Where can you start with this? Jhonen Vasquez has proven himself to be a formidable presence in the alternative comic market and with good reason. His work is both terrifying and hilarious...trust me, it's possible.
The surreal, dark and exceptionally twisted Johnny inhabits a small world in his mind that has been skewed by something in his past - what it is we don't know and as insensitive people, we don't much care. Because of this Johnny has developed a nasty habit of torturing and killing the majority of people he comes into contact with - people who kick his chair at the cinema, people who 'gotta have a smoke' and any person that could actually love him. Scratch that; it's people in general. The only person exempt from his onslaught is Squee, his highly-traumatised-only-weighs-as-much-as-a-cheeseburger-neighbour, who despite Johnny's efforts to watch out for him always ends up psychologically scarring him. Tragic, no? Not only that, but Johnny is often suicidal, but even this is funny - 'It's such a beautiful night...I think I'll kill myself.' or when he attempts to commit suicide, fails and then is rescued from his depression by a dioreahha advert on TV.
The artwork is a dense geometrical black and white labyrinth, with the panels not in conventional rows and columns, all the more adding to the insanity that is Johnny. Also, what makes the artwork so alluring is the way the panels are drawn in the style of camera angles as opposed to traditional forward-facing comic characters.
The stories are a mixture of horrific levels of violence and Johnny's insightful soliloquies where he tries to justify his actions, the main one being that there is a 'thing' behind his wall and if he doesn't keep the wall wet with blood the 'thing' will get out and do more damage than Johnny ever could.
Whilst this could be a recipe for a bad blood-soaked comic that's only good for lighting the fire, Vasquez has an explosive sense of humour that makes you burst out laughing even when disembowelling his one and only fan. Vasquez has created a complete universe of death, torture and Frooty Pops that is perfect to curl up with on a Sunday afternoon. No, really, it'll make you smile!
on 18 February 2004
If you are offended by horrifically OTT ultra-violence, the darkest humour in print, astute observations of the Goth scene and the horrors of the word "Wacky!", look away now, as this is not for you. And stick to Peanuts, dammit!
Now, for the rest of us sick and twisted people (with a sense of humour), there is JTHM: The Director's Cut to pore and drool over, as Jhonen Vasquez's classic work is finally collected in one tome, which saves the effort of trying to hunt down the extremely hard to get hold of comics. However, this isn't a comics to graphic novel translation, as several strips of the comics are ommitted, but we do get some of the original strips from his school paper and undergroud fanzines, plus the very first sketches.
If you're new to Vasquez, let's just say the title is pretty self-explanitory and leave you to use your imagination. No, it isn't as ultra-nasty as Manga gets (ie, the Battle Royale books), but at times it may be a tad unsettling, especially in some of the mid-run issues - especially Issues #4 and 5. Yes, it is also laugh-out-loud funny when it wants to be, but the balance is always dead on, due to the freedom of the strip format. However, a warning for newcomers: you have a LOT of things to get used to. Not just the drawing style, but all the messages in the borders or panels, and looking out for background gags (Happy Noodle Boy pops up in random places, for example).
And if you aren't already curious, just consider this: a battle in heaven involving a flying baby, an angry nun, and 'Nny suddenly using his new power - Head Explody. Buy it, get it, and read it. Then grab any copies of I Feel Sick you can find, and some episodes of Invader Zim on video. It's your duty as a sicko...
on 5 January 2003
This collection of the great Johny the Homocidal Maniac comics is well written and has, if you can't guess by the title, a dark and oh-so clever streak of humour running through its twisted pages. It has mature content, and the pictures are very ... graphic (there is a woman with a jar of bees thrust into her mouth, to give a small example), but this is a graphic comic collection that every home should own.
Also, in addition to the entire jthm comics (as they presently stand), there are author's commentery and character profiles.
Pure sick, sad and twisted genius. Enjoy.
on 27 January 2003
JTHM is often seen as a 'Goth' Comic because of it's dark and evil humour centered around being an outcast. Luckily, Johnny is so much more then an angsty escape for the Children of the Night and instead gives us a witty and at times hilarious look on what someone would be like if they just solved all their problems by stabbing it. JTHM is offensive, sick and entertaining... a true masterpiece in comedy and the way we look at insanity.
on 4 August 2003
like Squee!, JtHM is funny, disturbing, and with insights into the human condition that for once make sense! Wonderfully graphic in the violence (Not that i approve of such things, but Nny's honest approach to those who bug him is refreshing and inspiring!), JtHM is one of the finest comics i have read. Buy it, read it, cherish it, absorb the advice and revel in the joy that no matter what you do to people in your head, you will never be caught!!
on 10 May 2004
With its sickening depictions of torture and murder, I consider the Johnny The Homicidal Maniac comic book series to be one of the most shocking and disturbing perversions of illustrated literature I've ever gazed upon. Needless to say, I enjoyed it immensely. I also found this tome to be laugh-out loud funny, amazingly well written, and, most surprisingly, thought-provoking—though I felt the title character got a little too whiny and preachy at times.
I know you're wondering: "You find a comic about killing and death to be funny?"
Well, yeah, I do. The writer/artist, Jhonen Vasquez, has the uncanny talent of making the most horrendous and disturbing moments in his books into the funniest ones as well. I've had the best yuks out of the sickest parts of the JTHM comics.
The artwork for JTHM: TDC is "underground" style- relatively simple, cartoonish, and abstract. Vasquez even pokes fun at his own work in sidebar commentaries throughout the book, letting you know that he doesn't care if it's not up to par with the kind of art you'd see in super-hero type comics, and if you don't like it, go somewhere else for entertainment. So there.
The dialogue between certain characters usually reflects great intelligence and even annoyingly rational thinking. Paradoxically, the most rational being within this underground classic is Johnny, the title character. He tortures and kills people, usually as vengeance for their belittling of him and giving him a hard time. But sometimes he does it just because he feels like killing. He strives to become machine-like, to not be bound by the emotions, desires, and cravings that is human nature. Ironically, it's that same human nature gone horribly wrong within 'Nny' that drives him to commit heinous acts of rage-induced violence. It's also this nature in others that ridicule him for his differences, which drives him over the edge.
Also introduced in this book is Squee, a little boy who Nny pays occasional visits to... to 'help him out' with his problems. Squee would eventually get his own comic mini-series, one that I consider even better than the comic that it was 'spun off' from.
But the initial reason I started reading JTHM wasn't due to Johnny's disturbing forays into a world of pain and death. It was the strange and profane musings of Happy Noodle Boy, a unique individual who pops up in short one-page "adventures" every so often in the trade paperback. "Written and illustrated" by the Homicidal Maniac himself (yes, the title character is scripting and drawing his own comics within a comic book), the Happy Noodle Boy is a stick-figure living in a flat, poorly-rendered world. He spends most of his time at the city park, standing on a soap box, and loudly expounding unusual phrases and obscenity-laden utterings of apparent nonsense at shocked passers-by and crowds of the curious. I find Noodly's many obnoxious and loud verbal taunts to be some of the most entertaining groups of words to be cobbled into sentences. Here's a few of my favorite Noodle-isms (well, the cleaner ones anyway):
"Kneel before my power! Or I will unleash my army of surly crack babies!" "Look! David Hasselhoff CAN fly!" "My hands! I can't get them off my wrists! Oh, God!" "Children! Consume your siblings!"
Only the twisted genius of a gifted madman could come up with these kinds of sayings. And there are many more where those came from.
My only gripe: there is some material missing from the trade paperback that was originally in the seven comic book issues that this volume collects. The 'Meanwhile...'s, eight-page side-stories in the middle of each issue, were not included in JTHM:TDC. It's the first time I ever saw a 'Director's Cut' that took material OUT, rather than put it back in. Fortunately, it all worked out in the end- the 'Meanwhile...'s were restored in the SQUEE! trade paperback (available at www.amazon.co.uk/exec/obidos/ASIN/0943151244/qid=1084204362/sr=1-1/ref=sr_1_2_1/026-1744450-1571658), which I highly recommend, even more than this TPB.
on 1 April 2016
this series is a personal favorite, if you've heard of it you'll probably be weird enough to enjoy it. don't expect invader zim non-violence or gir comedic relief. this comic expects you to be a sadist, if you laughed when the kid in invader zim had his eyes torn out than this is the comic for you. don't read this if you can't handle a little blood or suicide jokes
on 15 June 2003
I first read JTHM when I was heavily gothy. I am slightly less black-wearing today, and I still find the book absolutely hilarious. I think the first reviewer has it right when they say it's more a way of looking at the world differently. With all the side stories (some of the other characters in the book get their own comics too!) as well, this is a book for anyone who wants to truly read something original. Vasquez has started something incredible.
on 4 December 2003
not much needs to be said about this. vasquez's brilliant brand of humour had me laughing out loud time and time again. sick, twisted and clever, you NEED this book!