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"Jhonen Vasquez IS COOL."
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Early life of that one guy. <3
Jhonen Vasquez was born to Mexican parents and raised in East San Jose. He attended Mount Pleasant High School, where he often spent much of his class time drawing in sketchbooks. Taking part in a contest to design a new look for his school's mascot, the Cardinal, he 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 who would later become Johnny C. His high school's newspaper published a number of his strips entitled Johnny the Little Homicidal Maniac. The logos of the bands Nine Inch Nails and Public Image Ltd. appear in the backgrounds of these primitive Johnny strips.
Vasquez also created Happy Noodle Boy while attending Mount Pleasant. According to Vasquez, "So many years ago, was the unwitting reason Happy Noodle Boy was created. always asked me for comics. But I couldn't draw as fast as she requested. Thus, I tried to create the worst abomination of a comic that I could, so as to make her not want comics anymore. That abomination, my friends, was Happy Noodle Boy".
After graduating in 1992, Vasquez went on to become a film student at De Anza College in Cupertino, California. Though he had little formal artistic training, he soon dropped out of De Anza to pursue a career as a professional cartoonist.
Many of the characters in Vasquez's cartoons are highly geometric and thin to the point of almost being stick figures. Vasquez's writing often conveys misanthropic and pessimistic themes, though these darker elements are often used for the purposes of parody and satire. Similar styles and mannerisms can be found in many of his characters as well as running gags and common themes, including repeated references to moose, meat, chihuahuas, monkeys, tacos, "piggies", cheese, morbid obesity, and "dookie". Vasquez also frequently sneaks cameo appearances of characters such as Happy Noodle Boy and Johnny The Homicidal Maniac into unrelated works. The protagonists in his comics are, in a simple way, insane characters with insanity that talks to other objects (Nny: Nailbunny, The Doughboys and Reverend Meat; Squee: Shmee; Devi: Sickness) and try to survive a world more insane (if is possible that) in a quest to search for sanity. David Cronenberg and Kurt Vonnegut have influenced his work. Franz Kafka, H. R. Giger, and H. P. Lovecraft are other influences.
Vasquez's works often feature an outside narrative in the form of notes and comments left in the corners of his strips. This can be found in the vast majority of Vasquez's comics, such as in issue #5 of JTHM: A large monster is shown bursting through a wall, arms and heads flailing, tentacles sweeping through the air. A scene that surely conveys a sense of violence and danger, yet in the corner of the panel, a small box contains the text "Kids - Don't be scared! He don't bite!" These small touches help with emotional connection to Jhonen's work, and are likely one of the factors in Vasquez's cult following.
Several of Vasquez's works have featured gothic characters or depictions of the goth subculture for the purpose of satire. In an interview on the show The Screen Savers, Vasquez responded to host Kevin Pereira's comment that fans considered Vasquez "a goth king", saying he does not believe his work should be stereotyped as "goth comics", and that while his intention when creating them was not to create goth comics, that is how the retailers eventually chose to categorize them.
My drawing 'o mine.
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