|"Stay gold, Ponyboy. Stay gold."|
|— Johnny's last words in The Outsiders, page 148|
"Johnny was smaller than the rest, with a slight build. He had big black eyes in a dark tanned face; his hair was jet-black and heavily greased and combed to the side, but it was so long that it fell in shaggy bangs across his forehead. He always had a nervous, suspicious look in his eye. Johnny reminded Ponyboy of a little puppy that had been kicked too many times.
Johnny is very quiet, not getting in the way so very often. As a result, he is ignored by his alcoholic mother, and is usually very shy when talked to. Whenever a fight starts, he is always trying to stay out of the way; however, when Ponyboy ends up nearly getting killed by the Socs, he doesn't hesitate to save his friend from near death. Johnny feels like rumbles are useless, which he told Dallas while he was in the hospital.
Johnny was jumped by Socs about four months before the book began and was severely injured. He had gotten a temple-to-cheek long gash scar by his eye, which he would have for the rest of his life. The gash was caused by the large rings worn by the Soc who grabbed him. Ever since that moment, he was extremely jumpy and always carried a switchblade in his back pocket.
He is first seen walking with Pony boy from the movies. On the way to seeing Darry, they are jumped by some Socs and are saved by the rest of the gang. Later he ges to see another movie with Pony boy and they meet two girls, Sherri (Also known as Cherry), and Marcia. He stops Dally from bullying them. He later meets the girls boy friends who take the girls away. On the way home they go the park, and fall asleep. Pony boy wakes up, realizing that it's past his curfiu, and rusheds home. Johnny stay behind and later Pony boy returns saying that Darry slapped him. Johnny comforts his friend then five Socs turn up. The same ones that had jumped Johnny during the summer. While they try to drown Pony boy, Johnny kills one with his switch blade. He is horified afterwards.