Limited Edition #4: Let’s go mad with Madman
So when I started writing Limited Edition, I wanted to make sure it was limited release so that each time it came out it would blow your mind with in depth analysis and poop jokes.
But then someone commented on one of my posts. Yes, commented. That’s more than just reading my post, that’s reading it and then signing in and then writing something about it.
Well the fame went to my head.
So now I’ve decided that Limited Edition, should be a little less limited and I am going to start double shipping this sucker. That’s right, you’ll get TWICE AS MUCH column for the same great price.
Here’s how it works. The third Monday of every month you’re going to get the usual main column but on the first Monday of each month you’re going to get a little taste of my column with my Comic Recommendation Extraordinaire!
It will be a short, quick recommendation of something I’ve read that month that I think you will enjoy. So let’s get started.
So just before my son was born my in-laws came to town to help out around the house and this led to me having more free time than I normally do. So I decided to finally read a book I’d been thinking about reading for a long time: Michael Allred’s Madman.
I’ve been wanting to reading this book for years but just haven’t found the time to sit and read it all at once but I have to say it was very much worth the wait. This book is amazing.
If you know me at all, you know that one of my all-time favorite runs is Peter Milligan and Michael Allred’s X-Statix and after reading Madman, I can see why Allred was a perfect fit for that book.
Madman could just as easily exist in that same world and not just because they were done by the same artist. Allred writes his characters in Madman with the same types of themes and settings but years before X-Statix.
In fact the issues of Madman spread out over twenty plus years but they all feel like part of one larger narrative. Our main character is the Madman of Snap City, Frank Einstein, a resurrected man with no memory of his previous life.
Besides not being able to remember his past, Frank’s resurrection has given him special powers that increase his strength and speed as well as giving him a power that lets him read people and know their secrets and life.
Madman is like the perfect TV show with each issue (or storyline) being fairly standalone but always connecting to a larger narrative that you don’t necessarily need to know. The story offers so much more when read in order from the beginning but it isn’t required.
The tough thing about Madman is figuring out the reading order. Because Allred owns this character he sort of jumps all over. He crosses over with Hellboy of Dark Horse, Savage Dragon of Image and Superman of DC. Plus each time he switches companies the name changes slightly going from Madman to Madman Adventures to Madman Comics to Madman and the Atomics to (finally) Madman: Atomic Comics.
It can get a little tricky but a little bit of research will get you all lined up. Plus if you’re reading digital (as I did) you can buy six collections and that will order all the comics for you. It’s much easier but figuring out print isn’t impossible.
There’s a few other tidbits I want to mention about Madman before we switch to the main topic. Now despite Mike Allred being writer and artist on the series, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention Mike’s partner in the series (and in life) Laura Allred on colors.
Anytime you see Michael Allred on art, his wife Laura is doing the colors and there’s a reason for that, no one compliments him better. Laura takes his pop art look and really makes it… well pop. There are several examples that really prove this fact.
The first three issues of the first series, Madman are in black and white and while these issues still look really good, they don’t have the magic that comes with the remainder of issues. There’s also an example in the bonus features (if you buy the collection) that shows a before and after of Laura’s colors. It’s incredible. She adds such a dynamic look to this series and just as Michael’s art improves over the twenty years so does her coloring. Some of the later issues just look top notch.
The last thing I want to point out about this series is how amazing the writing is. I know I sort of mentioned this earlier but it really is incredible. Mike takes the story all over earth, through other realities, into the past and future and into space. It’s a perfect tribute to fun, silver age comics. If you’re a fan of Alan Moore’s Tom Strong, I think you’ll like Madman because it is the same “comics should be fun” vibe that Tom Strong has.
The final point to the writing is the little tributes found throughout this book. In one issue Mike changes the style of the characters in every panel to tribute different styles of comics through the past 70+ years of comics, it’s incredible.
Hey Travis, you’ve written about Madman for almost 900 words, do you recommend it or not.
Yes Internet, a thousand times yes.