It’s Cartoon Friday!

People are strange when you’re a stranger (from another world).

Graffiti of a dancing GIR

GIR is Invader Zim's most enduring character.

Invader Zim is the story of a very short alien from the Irken race, who praise height above all else. Sneaking his way into the conference hall where Irken soldiers were to be assigned to Operation Impending Doom II, the exasperated leaders (“the Tallest”) assign Zim to a backwater, unimportant planet called “Earth” with the instructions to single-handedly take over.

Not quite single-handedly — he’s given GIR, a malfunctioning robot “assistant,” sometimes disguised as a dog. GIR steals the show in every scene in which (he? it?) appears. In this episode, “Walk of Doom,” we see how frightening a modern human city can be to an outsider from another planet. This episode highlights GIR, but several other great characters are noticeably absent — Zim’s nemesis Dib, Dib’s sarcastic sister Gaz, and my personal favorite, burnt-out and possibly undead schoolteacher Miss Bitters.

Before InvaderArtist Jhonen Vasquez was best known for his trilogy of dark comics: Johnny the Homicidal Maniac, Squee! and I Feel Sick which more or less chronicle a mad killer, the terrified toddler who lives next door, and the killer’s ex-girlfriend. They are bleak, existential, hilariously funny and not kid friendly. As unlikely a choice, but Nickelodeon did little to change his signature style when adapted to this successful cartoon series. Though canceled after 46 episodes and 2 seasons due to dwindling ratings, it has remained a cult favorite.

 

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Photo by Ste3ve released under a Creative Commons Share Alike license.