Heroes & Villains: That 5G Theory + Eric Trueheart’s New Invader Zim Book

Another week in virtual isolation. Michigan has (correctly) extended its Stay at Home order until who-knows-when. I only know that it means I can’t get a haircut, the last one I had was just prior to C2E2, and that my grey hair is becoming more prominent by the day. These roots don’t stay this shade of chestnut on their own, let me tell you.

I’ll gladly rock the “Reed Richards” or “Earth-2 Superman” look if it means not getting sick and by extension getting my parents sick. Weeks ago I began following the CDC guidelines of wearing a face covering when I have to go out to get groceries and have discovered it’s a great way to avoid detection by acquaintances I haven’t seen in some time who just so happen to be at the same grocery store.

Reed Richards.jpg

This week’s column is an attempted return to normalcy since I actually have some cool stuff to write about. But first, a small vignette about my time in the wild this week.

On Sunday, I decided that my car could use a trip through the car wash. It’s not like I had anywhere to go or anyone to impress with a clean car. It was mostly just filling the hours until it was time for bed. The “soft touch” automatic carwash I took it through ended up ripping off my rear windshield blade which I collected afterwards. The damage was minimal but a new blade was going to have to be purchased.

The following day I went to an auto parts store and was privy to the dumbest discussion I’m likely to hear all week. A man was at the checkout counter and was engaging in friendly conversation with the clerk. I started paying attention when the man asked the clerk if they enjoyed reading and that there was a website the clerk should check out. The clerk replied that they had neither the internet nor cable TV at home (power move). The man continued thusly, “Well, what it says is that if you look at a map of 5G cell coverage and overlay that with a map of the virus hotspots….it’s the same thing.”

At this point, I dropped what I was doing and left the store without making a purchase. The man was in the process of parroting back a crackpot conspiracy theory to the clerk that cell towers were responsible for the current pandemic. I was aware of the dumb meme that started gaining some traction about a week ago but I never actually expected to see it being espoused as fact in my city. I was angry and distraught in equal measure.

I wish I could pinpoint when we became so vehemently anti-science. It’s amazing to me that there are people out there who believe vaccines cause autism, the earth is flat, and that the moon landing was faked (Kubrick’s second-best work, in my opinion). I think we’re about a week away from burning witches again to ensure that the sun rises the next day.

Anyways, COMICS!

Invader Zim.jpgThe Medium-sized Book Of Zim Scripts Vol. 1: Pigs ‘n’ Waffles
Eric Trueheart

Have you ever had a book arrive at precisely the right moment?

I was had just returned home from the frustrating event I detailed above and I was full of IMPOTENT RAGE. I was ready to spend the rest of the night stewing when I checked my email to find a review PDF of The Medium-sized Book Of Zim Scripts Vol. 1: Pigs ‘n’ Waffles by Eric Trueheart. A series of words that, when strung together, would provide a balm to my wounded soul. Waffles! Pigs! ZIM! All words that I both knew and trusted.

If I was one of those junket-hound, quote factory reviewers the blurb I would provide would be “A must for any literate Invader Zim fan! Fun for ages 8 to 80! If you’re 7 or 81 get the hell out!”

Invader Zim hit right around the time I was finishing college and was a show that was so absurdly funny that I couldn’t help but love it. I was a huge fan of the show’s creator Jhonen Vasquez and his work on Johnny The Homicidal Maniac, Squee, and Filler Bunny. I recall reading in a magazine (a thing that used to exist along with stores, restaurants, and hope) that he was working with Nickelodeon on an animated series. I was cautiously optimistic but knew that he wouldn’t be directing, writing, and animating all the episodes himself.

So of course, other creators were brought in to either supplement or contain Vazquez’s genius and a name that I often spotted in the writing credits was Eric Trueheart. If you want to go and peep his IMDb, I’ll wait…but it’s safe to say that he penned some of the best Invader Zim episodes out there…and now he’s written a book about the writing of those episodes! It’s an ouroboros of writing.

The great news is that now there’s a book all about the writing of Invader Zim AND that it’s Volume 1! That means that there could conceivably be a Volume 2! I’m currently in the process of devouring the book and it’s so much more than just a simple (boring) collection of scripts. It provides a nice behind the scenes look at the production of a show that I love. I’m amazed that it took almost 20 years and a Netflix movie before a book like this could be published. Maybe the world is finally ready.

You can get your filthy hands on physical and eBook copies here. I’m certainly going to be ordering a physical copy for my bookshelf.

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