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May 24, 2004

{     Invader Zim Vol. 1 DOOM DOOM DOOM     }    

Forget all the Hot Topic mall-goth hype; this cartoon is as critical of consumer culture as a Michael Moore documentary, and more aware of the social-conditioning and inequities of the American school system than a thousand trench-coat mafias. All those kids with their black t-shirts and AFI albums may watch it for the spastic main character’s screeching proclamation of “Death to all humans!” (a sentiment these children of darkness have all scrawled in their pentagram-covered notebooks, or scratched on the bathroom wall at the local Applebee’s.) You’ll watch it because it quietly exposes these kids and their fast-food, consumerism-obsessed, “I wanna be different like all the different people” lifestyles, and because it really is just damn funny. Nickelodeon is famous for greedily hoarding its creative properties, releasing them to the public only in over-priced single-serving helpings. Invader Zim was never even portioned out that unfairly- the series simply wandered from time slot to time slot until it eventually just faded away, despite a very active online petition to move the cartoon to dvd. Finally, third party Media Blasters has wrested the rights away from Nick to bring 227 minutes of Zim to disc with Volume 1: Doom Doom Doom. It’s remarkable that the series ever even saw air-time given the gag-reflex moments of grossness, the underlying social commentary and the general air of weirdness that surrounds it. The show delights in mocking the two-dimensionality of American middle-class culture by forcing main character Zim to find ways to “fit in”- whether by creating robotic parental units in the Patty Duke mold, getting a minimum-wage job at the local MacMeatie’s, or any number of other ridiculous attempts to socialize himself and present a human veneer. The end result is always calamity; and it’s not quick thinking, a lucky break or mere coincidence that keep’s Zim’s sinister plots and alien appearance from being revealed- rather it is the complete and utter blind ignorance of the general public, the unthinking desire to maintain the status quo, that saves his little green ass. Zim creator Jhonen Vasquez’s signature illustration style and sense of humor are evident in every frame. From the picture of the green monkey wearing a fez over Zim’s couch to the deadly lawn gnome sentinels that guard the front yard of Zim’s house, each episode is full of the detail and black comedy that became Jhonen’s calling card while working on his Johnny the Homicidal Maniac and Squee comics. This attention to detail, along with the confessional style of his work, and the dark tones with which everything is rendered have made Jhonen Vasquez a bit of a nu-goth messiah, the darling of a million shadowy internet bulletin boards and live journals. Don’t hold that against him, or against Invader Zim- not since Ralph Bakshi and John Kricfalusi has children’s animation been this wonderful and subversive. Priced to own at 14.98 from DeepDiscountDVD.

     » "BUY VOL. 1 FROM DEEPDISCOUNTDVD, FILTHY HUMAN!"

Comments

ok some one out there has to have some info on zim..... is invader zim canadian? i really need to know because i have this project in school i have to do about canadian things and i need some info about zim and who are the artists where is it produced etc. if any one could give me some of this info it would be greatly appreaceated e-mail me at giggy_77@hotmail.com

Posted by: Jeoy.D at October 5, 2005 3:56 PM

This is one of the best series out there. It really captures what animation is all about: having fun, going crazy, just doing what you want and expressing yourself. And it shows so very much when you watch it. It's terrible that the show ended so soon, but at least it is living on 'through the hearts and minds of us all', as that little kid in "The Most Horrible X-Mas Ever" put it.

Posted by: Moosey at January 11, 2009 5:25 AM
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