Review: Squee’s Wonderful Big Giant Book of Unspeakable Horrors

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Squee’s only friend, Pepito the antichrist, attempts to save Squee from his zombie classmates.

If you are a child of the Nicktoons era, chances are you’ll recognize the art style of Squee, as writer and artist Jhonen Vasquez is none other than the creator of the cult show Invader Zim. In fact, it was this particular comic that spurred Nickelodeon to ask Vasquez to do a show for them (which you’ll think is really weird once you’ve read it).

Squee’s Wonderful Big Giant Book of Unspeakable Horrors is a collection of the four-issue spinoff series featuring Squee, the kid next door to existentially tortured serial killer Johnny C (of Johnny the Homicidal Maniac, also by Vasquez). Squee doesn’t have a lot going for him: his parents despise him, his classmates mock him, his only friend is the antichrist, and his homicidal neighbor is always coming by for bandages and antiseptic. And that makes for some interesting scenarios.

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Squee explains to recently-arrived aliens why he should not be abducted by them.

As you can guess, Squee is a pretty dark collection. While not quite as disturbing as its predecessor, there are enough twisted characters, cynical outlooks, and unbelievably unlucky situations for poor little Squee that more idealistic readers will likely find themselves cringing. Despite some of the wonderfully dry and scathing commentaries to be found in the ridiculously over-the-top scenarios—cannibalistic relatives, alien abduction, and zombie outbreaks, to name a few—Squee seems little more than a romp through a world of grotesque humor. But at its core, the series is about a little kid facing a big world without much knowledge—and with very little power—to handle it. The reader is able to identify with Squee enough to sympathize with him—even while having a schadenfreudistic laugh at the poor kid’s expense.

Also included in this collection are mini-comics printed in various issues of both Squee and JTHM during their original releases. These comics, including Meanwhiles, Filler Bunny, Wobbly-Headed Bob, and Happy Noodle Boy are a continuation of Vasquez’s cynical, darkly comic genius. Except for Happy Noodle Boy. Those actually kind of suck.

–Emily Stein

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