?As the creator of such underground cult comics as Johnny the Homicidal Maniac and Squee, Jhonen Vasquez crafted some of the most bizarre, violent, and unsettling images ever printed. Obviously, when he gave us Invader Zim, arguably the most innovative and original Nicktoon since Ren and Stimpy, his natural instincts for gore, profanity, and good old fashioned nightmare fuel had to be taken down a notch or ten.
But Mr. Vasquez’s imagination was by no means housebroken. He still managed to craft stories and imagery for his new project that were equally as bizarre and upsetting– in their own way, even within the confines of a TV-Y7 rating.
Fans of the man’s material know that JV is best when his Freak Flag flies, so it’s not surprising that the shows we picked as his most disturbing are also some of the most popular.
So have a look at our collection of dark Invader Zim weirdness we still can barely believe got on the air.
10) The Voting of the Doomed
Some of Zim’s oddest and darkest exploits took place at the “Skool” he attended as part of his cover as a “Perfectly Normal Human Worm-Baby.” This episode concerns his Ill-advised campaign to become Class President as a stepping stone to world domination. The clip shown is from the Presidential Debate, where evil devices strapped to the candidates’ skulls deliver painful electric shocks to the debater whose popularity falls too low (don’t ask us what salted nuts have to do with anything). Aren’t extracurricular activities fun?
9) The Sad, Sad Tale of Chickenfoot
Wanna-be paranormal investigator Dib sets out to disprove the world’s stupidest urban legend: Chickenfoot! The clip chronicles how a normal man came to such a pathetic and bafflingly moronic state.The moral? No matter how tasty they look — NEVER eat dishpan potatoes.
8) Rise of the Zitboy
Zim suffers one of the traditional banes of disgusting human children: Acne.
Our favorite Irken Invader develops a pimple after scrubbing his face with soap made of bacon (see the clip — one of GIR’s finest moments). This blemish grows to outrageous proportions and develops hypnotic powers. Zim dubs it “Pustulio” and uses it to gain control over the minds of his classmates. A very popular and truly revolting episode.
7) The Most Horrible X-Mas Ever
Great (and warped) minds think alike, for the writers of Futurama weren’t the only ones to conceive of a holiday season filled with terror and mass carnage. Zim attempts to capitalize on the popularity of Santa Claus by designing a self-upgrading biomechanical suit — which eventually begins to believe it is the real Santa, leading somehow to a hideous evolution into a horrible, planet-killing monstrosity.
Follow the bouncing moose and sing along, boys and girls!
6) Gameslave 2
Anyone who’s ever waited in line for the newest videogame system should be able to appreciate this episode. However, we doubt many of you would go to the lengths our protagonist employs when the last one is snatched from under her nose by an obnoxious fanboy. Put simply: DON’T FUCK WITH GAZ.
5) Bestest Friend
Zim gets his very own stalker when he endeavors to find a best friend to lend credence to his cover as a normal human kid. After surviving an utterly twisted “audition”, Zim’s new BFF, Keef, develops something of an unhealthy attachment. The first half of the episode is above, and it should be noted that this is the only IZ ep we’ve seen on Youtube that hasn’t been turned upside-down to avoid deletion by the Powers That Be.
4) Gir Goes Crazy and Stuff
We always wondered what would happen if Zim had been assigned a functioning SIR unit, rather than the charmingly erratic and insane GIR — our assumptions ran along the same lines as the events of this show. According to the writers, this episode received more than a few fan complaints. It seems many among GIR’s considerable fanbase were perturbed by the notion of the adorable little robot turning evil and dangerous — even if only for the length of one episode.
3) Dib’s Wonderful Life of Doom
By our reckoning, this is one of the overall best episodes of the series, and DEFINITELY the best Dib-oriented episode. This one is different from many of the shows on this list, as its disturbing qualities are not of a blatant or repulsive nature. Instead — we get a lesson in exactly how pathologically obsessed Zim is with fucking with Dib’s overlarge head. If he put half the time, effort, and resources he spends on messing with Dib towards his supposed goal of world conquest — the Earth would be his in a matter of days! (FYI, you might need to crank up the volume on this one — the audio is for shit.)
Our penultimate entry is a skin-crawlingly unpleasant piece of animation. The voice talents of Mindy Sterling (Frau Farbissina of Austin Powers fame) as “The Countess” — head of a Gestapo-esque anti-lice organization — ramp up the eerie factor even more. Anyone who is particularly disgusted by infestations of tiny vermin may wish to skip the accompanying video — and proceed directly to…
1) Dark Harvest
Truly creepy and undeniably repulsive, it’s difficult to believe “Dark Harvest” made it onto the catalog of a “kid’s cartoon”. Zim begins stealing and assimilating the organs of his classmates in an attempt to fool the school nurse. The whole episode takes on an unsettling, horror-film tone as Zim stalks his prey and replaces their organs with whatever objects are convenient (which, as usual, no one seems to notice). See the ultimate result of Zim’s theft of human viscera above.