It’s amazing to me I had not watched “Invader Zim” sooner than this year. I still remember being at a picnic during high school, where a friend of mine introduced me to the first two issues of “Johnny the Homicidal Maniac”. The goth look and feel immediately caught my attention, but it was Jhonen Vasquez’s completely un-PC humor and willingness to skewer the growing goth sub culture from the inside out that kept me coming back for more. I have, at one point or another, owned every JtHM issue, the Director’s Cut book, the Squee spin off, the I Feel Sick spin off, and even had a Spooky squeak toy. But due to a lengthy vacation from cable television, I’d never watched “Invader Zim”, and never felt very compelled to track down the DVD’s. I suppose for a long time I just couldn’t imagine Jhonen’s sometimes extreme sense of humor ever properly translating into something acceptable to cable television, much less marketed to kids.
But thanks to modern technology, “Invader Zim” is available for streaming on Netflix, and driven by our daughter’s increased interest in goth culture, and our parental need to pass on as much of our personal likes to her, this seemed like a great opportunity to dip her toes in the art of Jhonen, without violating the PG-13 barrier. And it paid off in aces. We love the show; she loves the show. We just bought her GIR themed pajamas with giant piggy slippers for her birthday. Some things still go over her head – we are constantly catching references to Jhonen’s other work in the background, like a “Z?” tagged on the side of a building Zim passes in the city and she stares in confusion at our giggles.
We’ll show you when you’re older, says we. In the meantime, we’ll all yell “Must obey the taco man!” and giggle like idiots. Hey, you family bond in your way, we’ll bond in ours.