< Return to Religious Affiliation of Comics Book Characters Johnny the Homicidal Maniac

The Religious Affiliation of Comic Book Character
Johnny C. (or Nny) in Jhonen Vasquez's
Johnny the Homicidal Maniac

Because Johnny the Homicidal Maniac went to heaven and hell and returned, and subsequently said he isn't sure if those places exist, it has been suggested that the character is agnostic.

From: "Johnny the Homicidal Maniac" article on Wikipedia website (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Johnny_the_Homicidal_Maniac; viewed 25 April 2006):

Johnny the Homicidal Maniac (also known as JTHM) is a black-and-white comic book series written and drawn by Jhonen Vasquez. It began as a series of short strips in the goth magazine Carpe Noctem, and was later published in seven issues by Slave Labor Graphics between August 1995 and January 1997. The series later had two spin-offs, called Squee! and I Feel Sick.

The comic is a black comedy laced with irony and social criticism. It is in part a satire of society's fascination with violence. Despite this, the comic itself has been criticized for glorifying violence, and has sparked some controversy.

The series focuses on (apparent) villain Johnny C., also known as Nny... He is a deranged serial killer, mass murderer, and spree killer who interacts with various other characters, more often than not torturing and murdering them. He elaborately and sadistically kills anyone who even slightly irritates him, then drains their blood and paints one of the walls in his house with it... If the situation dictates, Johnny is also willing to murder "innocent" people, though in his twisted mind, even they deserve their fate for some reason or another. The number of Johnny's victims is in the dozens, if not hundreds--or perhaps even thousands...

Nothing is known of Johnny's family or of his past. He is often devoid of a conscience, though this is arguable since he is also insane. This insanity manifests itself in three entities: Nailbunny, who is the closest thing to a conscience that Nny possesses; and Psychodoughboy and Mr. Eff, two styrofoam pilsbury doughboys that argue over whether to let Nny kill himself...

At the end of the comic, Johnny attempts to reform himself by abandoning his emotions in favor of cold intellect, going on what is referred to as a "vacation." This open-ended conclusion leaves room for a second series of comics, but the creator has expressed no interest so far to continue Nny's story...

A later part of [Johnny's] story takes place in the afterlife. After an accidental suicide (gunshot to the head), Johnny journeys to Heaven and Hell, and both turn out to have more in common with the city than Johnny expected. In short, he is kicked out of both places and returns to life (minus most of his hair). The reader is left to wonder if he really died at all, or if the entire 5th and 6th issues of the comic were some sort of dream/delusion...

n Issue six, Johnny is sent to Heaven when he is shot in the Head. He finds out that this is a mistake, and will only be there temporarily. He is getting a tour of heaven, including meeting the lazy God, and subsequently finds out that nobody does anything but sit in chairs and do nothing. The tour guide says that they have no need to ever do anything and have no vices to succub to,so they don't do anything at all. After that, the tour guide tells him that people in heaven can do whatever they want and actualy have higly destructive powers, but do not use that power because the stupidity of violence is understood. She cautions Nny not to think of such things before he explodes someone's head. Johnny, naturally, takes full advantage of the situation by exploding a man's head not once but twice. The exploded heads reappear in the following panel without fail or explanation, though it's hinted that it's because of heaven's power. Nny then excitedly jumped up and screamed "I HAVE HEAD EXPLODY!!". The man becomes angry at nny and, because of his anger, explodes nny's head, which re-apears and allows him to retaliate by exploding the man's head again. The man re-explodes nny's head causing some blood to splatter onto a womans face. The woman, who had been enjoying the bliss, then causes Johnny's and the other man's heads to explode. Nny shouts that he wants to stop rather loudly, disturbing an old woman who then insulted nny. He, obviously, blew up her head. This action enraged the lady's grandson. The toddler launched itself towards nny only to have his head blown up by him (nny thinks "that is so cute"). An angry nun then causes nearly everyone's heads to explode. After all the heads reform, the tour guide decides Johnny's done enough damage, and sends him to Hell...

Supernatural Characters

Reverend Meat
...Reverend Meat is a Bub's Burger boy who urges Johnny to give into his every urge and desire without thinking... Johnny dislikes him, and tends to ignore him...

St. Peter
Works the reception desk in Heaven. He becomes violently ill when he looks up the horrible acts Nny has done. He has sunglasses and dreadlocks.

God
God is a giant baby-like man living in Heaven that gives Johnny no help. The creator, Jhonen Vasquez, has God openly admit to having done nothing since the creation of the universe. Whether or not Jhonen meant anything by the letters "TM" (trademark) proceeding the word GOD on the character's T-shirt is not known.

Damned Elise
Damned Elise is a character who lives in Hell. She does menial tasks in Heaven as punishment for her hedonism in life.

Señor Diablo
Satan. Johnny meets him when he is sent to Hell. Upon meeting him, Johnny calls him "Satan," to which the Prince of Darkness responds, "I would rather you call me by my proper name, Señor Diablo." [Senor Diablo] Johnny asks, "Will Mister Satan do?" Satan pauses, than says, "Yeah, alright." Satan tells Johnny about what he is, and what the wall creature did to him. Before Johnny is sent back to earth Diablo has a little fun with him by transforming into a cheerleader to frighten Johnny (Johnny believes cheerleaders to be "pure evil"). On earth, Señor Diablo is the father of Pepito, the antichrist and a friend Squee makes at school. Ironically, Señor Diablo is married to a "good Christian woman."


Commentary on the Goth subculture
Johnny the Homicidal Maniac has become so particularly popular among participants of... subcultures (most prominently the Goth movement) that it frequently satirizes out of a good-humored appetite for self-parody; it has become a call for self-improvement to those who latch on to said subcultures [yet], while missing the point, model themselves stereotypically to the point that they no longer stand for "anything substantial".

It has been suggested by fans that, whether Vasquez intended it or not, Johnny the Homicidal Maniac is a parody of the "goth revenge fantasy".

Discussion

From: "Religion of Comic Book Characters" discussion board, started 25 January 2006, on TheologyWeb website (http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/showthread.php?t=70046&page=1&pp=16; viewed 25 April 2006):
XaositectCrayon
January 26th 2006, 06:41 PM

I guess I could submit Johnny the Homocidal Maniac as agnostic

in Issue 6 (I think) there's a part where he says "I've been to heaven and hell and I still don't know if they exist"


Straylight
January 26th 2006, 08:30 PM

I suppose that Squee is a Quaker.

["Squee" is Todd Casil, a young boy who moved into the apartment next to Johnny C. in Johnny the Homicidal Maniac #1. Squee was a major recurring character in the series, and subsequently was featured as the title character in a four-issue limited series of his own.]


XaositectCrayon
January 27th 2006, 08:23 AM

Straylight wrote: "I suppose that Squee is a Quaker."

You need to explain that one... All I remember as far as religion goes in Squee is he was "praying" (in a sort of primitive way) to "Mr. or Missus God" (holding out money no less... maybe he's Catholic ;P {that was tasteless}) to give his daddy whatever he wanted so he could be happy. Then his father was in bed wishing "that kid was never born".

Poor Squee...


Straylight
January 27th 2006, 08:43 AM

Heh... I just meant that Squee is always scared to death, looking like he's about to have a panic attack.

Quakers, at least the old ones, were real big on the "fear of God". Hence, they felt one must tremble and quake before God.

Silly/Obscure theological joke, I guess.


XaositectCrayon
January 27th 2006, 11:42 AM

Well, Quakers werent my cup of tea, but now the joke makes sense!


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