A Fresh Take On The Superhero
Tripwire continues its 100 Graphic Novels You Should Read While Stuck Inside with its fifty-sixth choice, Madman: The Oddity Odyssey by Mike Allred, reviewed by Tripwire contributing writer Scott Braden…
Madman: The Oddity Odyssey
Writer/ Artist: Mike Allred
It was 1992 and soon-to-be acclaimed creator Michael Dalton Allred had found his premier work, Madman, published by the gone-but-not-forgotten Tundra Publishing. It was Allred’s first fully realised project, according to the author, and perhaps his most personal. In an era when comic books were proudly “grim and gritty,” this masterwork was “funny” and even, dare we say, “wacky” and “wonderfully zany.” It was later republished in a newer single volume by Oni Press.
In short, it was a breath of fresh air. It would later earn Allred the right to become one of the stars of John Byrne and Frank Miller’s short-lived “Legend” line for Dark Horse Comics. Madman was a miracle of two-colour on slick paper, and because of its sheer enthusiasm, we are all the better for it.
Collecting the three-part prestige format series that offered flip corner fun as readers could literally see their hero dancing in the lower right-hand corner of the book, Madman: The Oddity Odyssey was beyond Silver Age entertainment. It was something new and it rocked.
The one and only hero of Snap City, Madman, is, well, unbalanced. But he’s unbalanced in a good way. He’s a revived corpse called Frank Einstein whose past is a mystery to him. Evil men fear this wielder of the Yo-Yo and the Slingshot. His aim is true when it comes to striking a blow for goodness and gravity. And even the men with dark hearts full of terror and violence cannot stop him from having a good day. As he faces the forces of evil, he uses his niceness, good humour and physical prowess to search for truth, love and identity in a world where trained killers, mad scientists, and the like, are right around the corner.
You’re probably wondering, “Is Madman on the same tier as comic book masterpieces The Dark Knight Returns and Watchmen?” Because that is the question we all ask ourselves when reading something “new and cool.” The answer: Well . . . probably not. But, it is very independent, and a fun read that comics fans will have a hard time putting down. Madman is snappy and zany and just a helluva lot of fun. It’s the antithesis to Moore and Gibbons’ Watchmen and Miller’s The Dark Knight Returns – and that’s okay. Readers should discover the book’s weirdness – and search out more like it – for themselves.
Here’s links to the other graphic novels reviewed so far