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Official Site: Slave Labor Graphics
Johnny the Homicidal Maniac (abbreviated JtHM) is the first comic book by Jhonen Vasquez. A black comedy and comedy horror, the series tells the story of a fictional serial killer named Johnny C. as he explores the psychological and possibly supernatural forces which compel him to commit a string of murders. In the 1990s, Johnny began as a comic strip, then ran under alternative comics publisher Slave Labor Graphics as a limited series of seven issues, later collected in the trade paperback Johnny the Homicidal Maniac: Director's Cut. The series produced two spin-off titled Squee! and I Feel Sick.
Jhonen Vasquez started drawing in kindergarten. Later, he attended Mount Pleasant High School, where, taking part in a contest to design a new look for his school's mascot, the Cardinal, Vasquez submitted an entry that the judges rejected. On the back of a preliminary drawing for the contest, he drew his first sketch of the character he would later name Johnny C. Rob Schrab makes the same observation. However, Vasquez has always distanced himself from the character, saying that Johnny should not be mistaken for an author surrogate. Vasquez also created Happy Noodle Boy while attending Mount Pleasant as a way to stop his girlfriend from asking him to draw comics for her.
In the early 1990s, Carpe Noctem, a magazine about the goth subculture, published several one-page strips featuring Johnny, now called Johnny the Homicidal Maniac. Though he never planned to create comic books, Between August 1995 and January 1997, the publisher released a series of seven full-length issues based on the character. Vasquez describes the production process for Johnny as a "mess" and a "spew". As Vasquez worked on the comic, he prepared less and less, foregoing outlines and sketches and writing dialogue as he inked. Vasquez wishes that he had taken more time to plan the series, and feels that the quality of the dialogue suffered from his haphazard approach.
A photograph of one of Vasquez's friends, Leah England, serves as the middle of a portrait collection on the cover of the second issue of Johnny the Homicidal Maniac. England also gave Vasquez the inspiration for a filler strip about a child who was dangerously afraid of losing sight of his mother, as well as the "Meanwhile..." strip in the second issue. The two were discussing an event that had happened to a cheerleader, and thinking up the worst excuse possible.
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