Welcome again Comic Booked readers, and for the second week in a row we have a Jhonen Vasquez book for your reading pleasure. For this week’s Graphic Novel Recommendation, we have Squee’s Wonderful Big Giant Book of Unspeakable Horrors. The book has the entire run of the series Squee!, a spin off from Johnny the Homicidal Maniac, which we recommended last week. The book follows the tortured life of a small seven year old boy. As much as I love the Johnny series, it is really hard to relate to a psychotic serial killer, but I’m sure most of us can relate to being a scared little child who thinks there are monsters waiting around every corner.
The plot follows the misadventures of Todd Casil, or Squee, as he is known by most everyone else. He is your typical seven year old, he has parents, goes to school and is tormented by various monsters. There is no real overall story arc to speak of, instead each chapter flows from one terrifying ordeal to the next. He has to contend with aliens trying to kidnap him, being haunted by ghosts, trips to public restrooms, visits from an elderly grandpa who could be a cyborg, bedbugs, zombie children, and many more terrifying situations. There are a few running themes, including his parents lack of love, his father openly telling him he doesn’t love him, his mother failing to remember his name, and the son of Satan, Pepito, trying to become his best friend.
Through it all, Tood never loses his child-like wonder and innocence, which speaks volumes about him when one considers that most people would be driven insane by his experiences. He is a meek and imaginative boy who loves to write stories, but is often ridiculed by the other children at school. His only friend is his stuffed bear Shmee, who follows him on all his adventures and works as his personal protector.
The trade paperback includes all four issues of Squee! as well as the additional stories and other content left out of Johnny the Homicidal Maniac trade paperback.
The additional stories include the Meanwhile strips, tales of various goings on in the world, including such favorites as two school crossing guards fighting to the death, a man explaining to his children how he met their mother, the worst date ever, and even get to see the daily life of Jhonen Vasquez, which is to say it’s rather “boring”.
We also get the adventures of Wobbly Headed Bob. Bob is the smartest creature in the world, and suffers dearly for that. Having no one else to relate to, he just wonders aimlessly, getting banished from place to place.
I can’t speak highly enough of Vasquez’s work and Squee! is yet another prime example of his comedic talent. There are so many jokes crammed into each panel that you’ll have to read it over again just to find them all. He satirizes the school system and parenting, and for those of you who are Invader Zim fans, you may recognize a familiar face. Once again he pokes fun at the goth community, and shows how an undead curse really is a curse. He also presents what could possibly be the greatest movie never filmed, next to Exploderdome. Highly recommend for anyone who loves twisted humor, it is not as graphic and violent as Johnny, but I still would not recommend it for the little ones. Hopefully this is available at your local comic book shop, and it is available online at Slave Labor Graphics.