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The Art of Invader Zim is a book based on Invader Zim that was released on July 28, 2020.

It is a fully authorized, all-access compendium of never-before-published production art, storyboards, behind-the-scenes photos, and ephemera of the TV series. It features exclusive interviews with Jhonen Vasquez and other key crew members regarding the creation of the TV series, as well as the Enter the Florpus movie.

Synopsis

Foreward By Rebecca Sugar

Rebecca Sugar reminisces on how she discovered Invader Zim in high school, and how much it came to mean to her.

Chapter 1: Small Press, Big Studio

After a summary of the show's premise, the book discusses how Jhonen Vasquez got his start doing comics like Johnny the Homicidal Maniac before eventually being recruited to create a show for Nickelodeon. It is then documented how the Pilot was developed, and then the full cast and crew were recruited to begin work on the show proper.

Chapter 2: Zim, The Invader Earth Deserves

It is discussed how the characters were created and developed. The designs for Zim, GIR, Dib, Gaz, Professor Membrane, Ms. Bitters, the Almighty Tallest, Tak, and the Roboparents are given specific focus, though other humans, Irkens, and other aliens and monsters are shown in groups.

Chapter 3: Constant Horror, Unending Terror

Jhonen discusses how 1980s horror movies like Alien influenced his artistic style, including on IZ. The cinematic shooting of each episode is discussed, followed by the show's darker moments (including the plots of "Dark Harvest" and "Bad, Bad Rubber Piggy" and the removal of Keef's eyes in "Bestest Friend"), the sound design, the random nature and backhanded social commentary of many episodes, and the lack of continuity following major events. Following this are several sample storyboards, a series of background designs from different episodes, brief explanations on direction, coloring, effects, and prop design, and finally brief summaries of every aired episode.

Chapter 4: A Secret Comics Laboratory

Following a summary of all the accolades that Invader Zim earned in the years following its cancellation and the projects that Jhonen worked on afterwards, it is discussed how he and others were brought back together by Oni Press to develop the comic series. Mention is then made of altered character designs, the creation of Recap Kid (and how they wouldn't have worked on the show), and how the comic format lends itself to more outrageous plots.

Chapter 5: The Cinematic Zim

The development of Enter the Florpus is discussed in detail. Special mention is made of the characters' redesigns, the new coloration designs, and the development of the story.

Facts of Doom

The Art of Invader Zim promotional image

  • The book's title was originally mistakenly believed to have the prefix "DOOM DOOM DOOM" due to it appearing above the title on the promotional image.
  • Chapter 1 contains excerpts from the original IZ show bible, specifically the original character bios for Zim and Dib, and several early proposals for episodes.
  • The partial storyboards in Chapter 3 include a sample from the unproduced episode "Invader Poonchy".
  • The "stock adult line-up" reveals all names of the background characters.
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