A comic put out by Jhonen Vasquez under Slave Labor Graphics. JTHM is very funny if you like killing for catharsis and self-referential goth jokes, so I think it's a laugh riot. The art is all black and white, very angular, and very unusual. I find it pleasant, but it has been known to give other people headaches.
Johnny C., or "Nny", the homicidal maniac, main character, and self-proclaimed villian of the story.
Todd, or Squee, the young boy who lives next door to Johnny. Squee is not quite school age, neglected by his parents, and is terrified of everything.
Devi, the girl who works at the bookstore, who Johnny likes.
Tess, who ends up Johnny's prisoner because she dated the wrong guy.
Nailbunny, a rabbit Johnny fed once and nailed to the wall. Nailbunny embodies the voice of reason in Johnny's mind.
The Doughboys, Mr. Eff and Psycho-Doughboy, the two most coherent voices of Johnny's insanity. One tries to get Johnny to self-destruct, the other wants Johnny to indulge in everything, especially killing.
Various people that Johnny kills, scares, or tortures.
Johnny kills people. He has no past and no future. He doesn't know how he came to live in the house he lives in. He believes that he cannot die, or be caught, and when he does manage to die, he doesn't stay dead. As is explained to him by the devil, he exists to rid a particular area of waste by killing people. He's a kind of metaphysical garbage man.
Johnny's victims are chosen fairly randomly. He kills anyone who pisses him off, makes fun of him, is in the vicinity of anyone who pisses him off or makes fun of him, or just whenever he feels like it. His victims are typically portrayed as not overly bright, cruel, and ordinary. There is extensive commentary about sexism, homophobia, the insularity of goth culture, and people who make fun of people just for being different.
Johnny's methods for killing involve knives, bizarre torture devices including hooks, and the occasional bomb or gun. Knives are the most common weapon, though.
Once the victims are dead, Johnny uses their blood to paint a wall in his house, a wall far into the basement. He claims that if he doesn't keep the wall covered with blood, it goes soft and something on the other side starts to push through. This part of the house represents the part of Johnny's mind that he can't face, the part that makes him kill and yet keeps the reasons for killing from him. When he dies late in the series, the wall dries out, goes soft, and a monster comes through it, killing almost all of Johnny's prisoners with the sole exception of Tess, who had refused to descend into violence.
Johnny is goaded into further violent acts by the doughboys, styrofoam figures representing parts of his twisted psyche. As Johnny descends further into madness, the doughboys gain the ability to move around on their own, although when the monster from behind the wall is set free, they address it as 'master' as they reintegrate with it, making Johnny's sick mind whole again.
In the last issue, after Johnny's trip to heaven and hell, he is approached by a fan, Jimmy, or Mmy. Jimmy wants to work with Johnny, as he feels they are so much alike. Johnny is disgusted by Jimmy, telling him "I don't like myself much" as he kills him.
Despite Johnny's hatred for almost everyone around him, there are a couple of people he doesn't kill. One is Devi, the girl at the bookstore who he has a crush on. The two of them go on a date, and Johnny finds himself inexplicably happy. He decides to immortalize the moment in the only way he knows how, but when he threatens Devi with a knife, she beats him up and runs. Devi is not unscathed by this, especially after she finds Johnny stalking her in the months to come, but she refuses to play the role of a victim, instead telling him off when he tries to apologize to her. Devi represents Johnny's power over his insanity, as she not only breaks the role set for her but also is the trigger for Johnny's one successful suicide attempt.
The other person Johnny doesn't kill is Squee, the little neighbor boy. Unlike Devi (and almost everyone else in the book) Johnny never tries to kill Squee, but treats him with kindness. Johnny saves Squee from a child molester, although his attempts to show Squee that the pervert has been permanently stopped go awry, as Johnny's method here is dissection. Johnny's forays into Squee's house are usually for medical supplies, bactine or band-aids. Like any of Squee's other monsters, Johnny never appears to Squee's parents, hiding under the bed when Squee's father comes in. The book opens and closes with Johnny visiting Squee, who represents something like his inner child or perhaps something about his mysterious past, in the beginning to say hello and get some medical supplies, and in the end to say good-bye and give him some parting advice about his lousy parents. Johnny's care for Squee in conjunction with his role as a monster is interesting, and something better explored in Vasquez's second book, Squee's Big Giant Book of Unspeakable Horrors, but it also lends something to the idea of the monster under the bed: maybe the monster isn't a nice guy, but maybe he's not coming for you, either. Just as the reader assumes that Johnny will not come for them, but for those other, bad people.