Invader Zim - Volume 2: Progressive Stupidity

Just as Family Guy slowly emerged back into pop consciousness with its arrival on DVD, so too is the cult of Zim just beginning. Invader Zim was an unusual animated show that appeared on Nickelodeon for one season, 2001-2002. Created by Mexican comic artist Jhonen Vasquez, it featured an incompetent invader from the planet Irken, ostensibly sent to Earth to conquer it, but really sent by his superiors, the Tallest, because he's so annoying they wanted him out of the way. On Earth, Zim does his best to fit his little green self into society — he goes to skool and he… well he goes to skool. Other attempts to adjust to society are largely scorned as beneath him; his kinda stupid robotic sidekick Gir, on the other hand, loves Earth and revels in its variety of entertainments, particularly pigs, a television show with an angry monkey, and sugar. Zim battles his Earth enemy Dib, with Dib's gaming-obsessed sister Gaz tagging along. Since its cancellation after but one season, Invader Zim has been building a cult audience like a very slow explosion — you can walk away, but eventually it will engulf you. After the first two-disc DVD sold more than 100,000 copies comes part two, which collects almost all, but not all, of the remaining first season. A third volume, due October 12, will feature the remaining episodes and a holiday special, along with a handful of episodes created for season two but never aired. So what is it about Zim? At a cost of $13 million per episode, Zim features some ridiculously brilliant animation and its infinitely quotable absurdity is fun for any occasion. The voice performances are as over-the-top as any small-town community theatre and in its second half, season one got darker and weirder. All of this meant that Zim was an invader out of water for the 2- to 11-year-old demographic at Nickelodeon. Explanations and excuses can be found on numerous episode commentaries, as well as an interview with different writers. Plus: Irken subtitles, animatics, more. (Anime Works/Viacom)