Invader ZIM
Invader Zim
Genre Animated comic sci-fi
Created by Jhonen Vasquez
Starring Richard Steven Horvitz, Andy Berman, Rosearik Rikki Simons,

Melissa Fahn

Country of origin United States
No. of episodes {{{no_episodes}}}
Running time 22 minutes
Original channel Nickelodeon
Original run March 30, 2001 - January 18, 2002 (original)
March 22, 2002 - – December 10, 2002 (post-cancellation original)
June 10, 2006 - August 19, 2006 (produced season two episodes - not previously aired)
September 8, 2008
Official Site
IMDb profile IMDb summary summary

Invader Zim is an American animated television series created by comic book writer/artist Jhonen Vasquez for Nickelodeon. First broadcast on March 30, 2001, the same day as The Fairly OddParents, Nickelodeon desired a show aimed at their older viewers. The show never found a time slot that the creators of the program thought suitable and suffered in the ratings. The show crew requested that Invader Zim be moved to MTV in a similar way Ren and Stimpy had been, but this never happened. Before two seasons were completed, it was canceled by Nickelodeon. It can currently be seen in reruns on Nicktoons Network; and in Canada, YTV began airing the series on its Bionix programming block on September 8, 2006. Invader Zim DVD compilations have been released by Media Blasters. The series has since been translated into several different languages for foreign broadcast.


Zim is a member of the mighty Irken race, a species of alien life forms whose social hierarchy is based on height. The Irken leaders are the Almighty Tallest (during the course of the show, leadership of the Irken Empire is shared by two Tallest, Purple and Red, who are exactly the same height). Zim was banished to the planet Foodcourtia for killing all the other Invaders[1] during Operation Impending Doom I.

Upon hearing of Operation Impending Doom II, Zim "quits" being banished and arrives at the Great Assigning where Irken soldiers are chosen to become Invaders, special soldiers whose mission it is to blend in with the indigenous life forms of their assigned planet and collect intelligence. Zim pleads with the Tallest to assign him a planet, and in a desperate act to get Zim as far away as possible, they assign him to a "Mystery Planet" on the outskirts of their known universe, which turns out to be Earth.

Main characters

Main article: List of Invader Zim characters.

Zim is a short, green, almost stereotypical looking alien from the planet Irk. He is also a narcissistic megalomaniac who several times per show engages in histrionic outbursts proclaiming either his normality (for a human that is, while in his human disguise) or his innate personal and Irken superiority. He is trying to conquer the Earth, and is generally unsuccessful. Zim wears a disguise when in public consisting of contact lenses and a wig, claiming that his green skin and noticeable lack of ears are part of a "skin condition". He is aided in his mission by a robot named GIR. His earth enemy is Dib.

GIR is a dysfunctional version of the Irken S.I.R. (Standard Information Retrieval) units given to Irken invaders, but the meaning of the "G" is unspecified. He was taken from the trash and given to Zim. GIR has a seemingly schizophrenic personality; he jumps in and out of useful operation and this is noticeable by the color of the lights on his eyes and torso that glow red when he is obeying Zim. The rest of the time they glow a light green color. He rarely helps, but sometimes assists Zim unintentionally by doing destructive things to Dib. GIR wears a green dog suit as his public disguise. This dog suit has a very prominent and oversized zipper in the front, adding to the implausibility of the disguise.

Dib is Zim's main rival , a member of Zim's class at the "Skool" they both attend. Dib is obsessed with the paranormal and supernatural and is often criticized by his classmates for being "crazy" or mentally unstable due to his outlandish theories. He apparently is the only human to recognize and care that Zim is an alien and makes it clear that he will live to stop Zim at every turn. Seemingly everyone he comes into contact with claims Dib has an unusually large head, even though all the children in the show are drawn with large heads and Dib's is no more abnormally large than any of theirs. He features an undershirt of the same design as Squee's shirt from Johnny the Homicidal Maniac.

Gaz is Dib's little sister who also plays a prominent role in the show, but rarely takes an active part in stopping Zim's schemes. She knows and admits that Zim is an alien, but doesn't care because she thinks he's too stupid to take over the world, and would much rather color pig drawings or play video games. Although she has aided Dib occasionally, she has only done this to fulfill her own agenda. Gaz displays mostly indifference, annoyance with or contempt for her brother, and will threaten him with pain in order to make him comply with her wishes. She has an obsession with pizza and has stated that she's never missed the release of a new pizza at Bloaty's Pizza Hog.


The music for Invader Zim was composed by Kevin Manthei and is in a digital techno style. The title music was composed by Mark Tortoroci and arranged by Manthei. Manthei, however, did the music for the end credits and all the music for the actual episodes.

In September 2002, 7 months after the cancellation of the series, Anime Stuff-R, an internet radio website, broadcasted the Zim-phony, a 5 hour broadcast of all the music from the 26 episodes of Invader Zim composed by Kevin Manthei. This session, presented by DJ Richard Rae is the most popular that Anime Stuff-R has broadcast. Also included in this session was an interview with Kevin Manthei by Richard Rae in August 2002, where Kevin talked mostly about how the music of Invader Zim was composed and inserted in the show.

Because of the popularity of the broadcast, Anime Stuff-R made 100 MP3 CDs with the entire broadcast. They made only 100 because of copyright and financial reasons.

Kevin Manthei also released a Promo CD containing some music from Invader Zim. This Promo CD is still available but one needs to get in touch with composer Kevin Manthei to acquire it.


Main article: List of Invader Zim episodes.

Two seasons of Invader Zim aired. In Season 2, the animation style is slightly different from Season 1. Also, all episodes in Season 2 except "The Most Horrible X-mas Ever" were not aired in the U.S. until after the DVDs were released. There are also 13 partially finished second season episodes and a few which were still in the outline stage when the show was cancelled (some of which have been leaked to various fan sites). These unfinished episodes include a two-part finale in which Dib was to fight the Irken Armada by going to the aid of the planet Meekrob.

There were also plans for a TV movie special, "Invader Dib", which would have possibly carried on from the finale.

DVD collection and merchandise

List of Invader ZIM DVD's

In May 2004, Nickelodeon and Media Blasters released the first volume of an official Invader Zim DVD collection. Within weeks of its initial availability it became one of the top 100 currently selling items on popular online retailer, giving fans hope that Volume 2 would be released with minimal delay. By late 2004, the other 2 volumes had been released. A boxed set in the shape of Zim's house has also been released which includes an extras disc with interviews and a sample soundtrack. The three DVD volumes were re-released in late 2006 as a low-priced box set.

Two series of Invader Zim figures have been produced, including Zim, GIR, Dib, Ms. Bitters, and Almighty Tallest Purple in the first series and Human Disguise Zim, Doggie Disguise GIR, Gaz, Almighty Tallest Red, and the Robo-Parents in the second. A third series was planned with Santa Zim, Elf GIR, Professor Membrane, Tak, and Nightmare Bitters, but the manufacturer, Palisades Toys, ceased operations in early 2006.[1] A multitude of other toys were produced such as the Voot Cruiser and a 12 inch "Mega GIR" with a removable dog disguise. Also, many non-licensed products exist such as iron on transfers, stickers, and keychains.

As of November 25, 2006 both seasons of Invader Zim are available for download on XBOX Live marketplace.[2] In addition, the majority of the show's episodes are available for download on iTunes.[3]

Attempts to put Invader Zim back in production

Creative differences with Nickelodeon drove Jhonen Vasquez from the show. Even if the show is ever picked up again, a key staff member, Steve Ressel, has already expressed that he won't return to the show. In an IGN interview, Vasquez has claimed that if he were to get creative freedom on Zim, he may possibly continue it, but if he does it will most likely be on another TV network. Since the cancellation, Mr. Vasquez and the other crew have moved on to other projects.

"New" episodes of Invader Zim began to surface on the NickToons Network starting on June 10, 2006, although these so-called "new" episodes had already been released in Europe and Latin America years earlier and are on the last DVD. They were never previously aired on Nickelodeon's flagship station in the U.S. because the show was put out of production.

There have been several petitions to bring the show back. Online and physical petitions alike, have failed.[4] Vasquez openly stated he will not be making any more episodes. This contradicts with the above statement; he said this only shortly after the cancellation of the show. It would have been cool if Jhonen Vasquez made a Invader Zim comic series.

Recently, Invader Zim made 2 minor comebacks, both on Nicktoons Network. The first time was for 1 month only starting March 1, 2010. By popular demand, Invader Zim showed reruns once again.

See also

External links


  1. Changes at Palisades Toy (HTML) (February 1, 2006).
  2. {{cite web | url= | title=Invader ZIM to be on the XBOX Live marketplace | publisher=Microsoft | date = November 6, 2006
  3. Invader ZIM comes to iTunes (HTML) (20 June, 2006).
  4. Adam Tierney (September 1, 2004). An Interview with Jhonen Vasquez and Rikki Simons (page 3) (HTML). Retrieved on 2007-05-08.