Like Devi D., Todd Casil – better known as Squee, a nickname spawned by the squealing shriek of terror he’s very prone to making – is a character who debuted in Johnny the Homicidal Maniac only to get his own spinoff horror comic, aptly titled “Squee.” A sweet, quiet, and intelligent little kid, it is poor Todd’s lot in life to be an innocent witness to countless horrors.
Case in point: when he debuted in Johnny the Homicidal Maniac, it was as Johnny‘s next door neighbor. In fact, Squee began as an idea for a one off gag – the idea of some innocent kid overhearing the nightmarish sounds of Johnny, well, doing what homicidal maniacs do was a darkly comedic thought the creator of these comics found too funny to resist. The absurdly morbid contrast of an innocent kid encountering horrific things no child should ever witness is basically the core concept of Squee as a character.
But, as characters do, Squee grew into more than this basic summary. Again, like Devi, he forms a sort of counterpart/foil for Johnny, because while Squee arguably faces far more horrible things than either Devi or Johnny, Squee never, EVER breaks. Squee deals with his absurdly abusive and negligent parents, a school full of stupid and cruel classmates, alien abductors, his cannibalistic cyborg grandfather, an enormous man-eating dust mite, and countless other nightmarish monsters, and through it all he remains a sweet, compassionate, and kind-hearted kid.
Squee isn’t completely on his own, of course, though the few characters who help him aren’t exactly comforting to be around. Johnny, despite his homicidal tendencies, is actually protective of Squee, saving him from a kidnapper and doing his best to give Squee life advice and encouragement. Of course, being Johnny, he can’t help doing this in a way that’s terrifying and wrong-headed, but good intentions are there. Squee also has a loyal friend in his classmate Pepito, but Pepito happens to be the anti-christ (although it should be noted that Satan, while kind of snarky, is generally a pretty chill and helpful guy in Squee and Johnny the Homicidal Maniac, so perhaps Pepito’s parentage isn’t quite as nefarious as it might otherwise seem). Squee’s greatest friend is his teddy bear, Schmee, but there are hints that Schmee may be a manifestation of the same wicked forces that corrupted Johnny and tried to take control of Devi.
While Squee begins his story as a passive agent – a child who is exposed to horrible situations and only escapes through coincidence or the intervention of others – as his story grows, he slowly but surely learns to assert himself. Notably, Squee doesn’t judge other people when he’s forced into conflict with them, but rather calls out their actions. There is none of the arrogant self righteousness or bitter cynicism in Squee that you’ll find in other characters in this comic – Squee never thinks he’s better than other people, and he never seeks to harm them. He does, however, learn that he can outsmart them, and becomes more willing to stand up for himself.
While Squee’s comic book ended on a dark note with his parents committing him to a poorly run insane asylum, there are a couple of silver linings to it. First, the same issue showed that Johnny was in that same asylum, and saw Squee being taken in – so, should anything horrible actually happen to the kid, there’s a good chance his friendly serial killer neighbor could bail him out. The second comes from Squee’s own creator – Todd’s gonna be fine. He’s a good, intelligent kid who can overcome trauma and keep his compassion in tact. And that’s a relief, frankly – Squee, more than any other character in these trio of comics, deserves a happy ending.