1993: Madman: The Oddity Odyssey

Madman: The Oddity Odyssey (1993) by Mike Allred

Oops — this was published before Madman Adventures, so I should have read it first, I guess? “You are in a twisty maze of Madman books, all named in odd ways…”

Ah, right — this is the two-colour book Allred was talking about in some interviews I read while doing the other Madman post.

He talked about not having found the right tonal level, and that having Madman eating a guy’s eyeball was probably not the right thing.

The second colour (grey used for shading) also seems like a mistake. I mean, it’s not that it looks bad, but Madman looked so, so much better as a four colour book — even here, the artwork seems to cry out for colour.

The plot is fairly straightforward — he’s on a trip to find a scientist that can revive a different scientist so that that guy can tell him who he is. (For Some Values Of “straightforward”.)

He does pack in some satisfyingly strange things here, and it’s a fun read. And look at Frank’s face in the sixth panel.

If there’s one weakness, it’s (some) of Allred’s action scenes. The last two panels there, for instance, don’t really convey much of anything — you know what has to have happened, but you have to be pretty generous in your reading to feel that that’s completely successful.

Oh! And we actually get Madman’s origin story? I’ve just read stuff here and there over the decades, and never actually known what was up with the entire thing, so I guess I assumed that this was never actually shown.

And… here’s the origin of the suit (without the top of his head being covered). But… what actually happened here? We get a “RRP!” so I guess the top got ripped off, but we’re not actually shown that, are we? Again an action sequence problem…

Other nerds also note the transition:

By the end of the book Allred has delivered a fun statement of intent that still holds up, introduced one of the most charming and uncomplicated romances in comics, and modified the costume to the more familiar version where the fine head of hair emerges from the top. This is fudged in story terms, occurring in vague fashion from one panel to the next, but Allred’s right about the better design, so it’s not worth picking too far.

Pick! Pick!

This is the one hundred and fifty-sixth post in the Entire Kitchen Sink blog series.

Amazing Heroes #196, page 67:

LANG: You ‘re both working on pro-
jectsfor Tundra. What are yu doing,


MDA: My new project is called
Madman. It’s a three-issue prestige
format book that will be followed by
more adventures and stories using this
central character as the outlet for other
stories. The first three issues deal with
Madman, who blasts out of Snap City
with his slingshot and lead-filled
Duncan yo-yo. Madman is a wacky
guy whose mental disorder gives him
the ability to “see” events in other
people’s lives. On a mission to find
the journals of his friend Dr. Boiffard,
Madman must journey to Buzz Town
and locate the elusive Dr. Flem (Boif-
fard, in case you’re interested, is on
ice in Madman’s deep freezer). But the
maniacal Dr. Monstadt is intent on
getting the journals first. The prize?
The secrets of life and death. And
that’s the series in a nutshell. Oh yeah,
and it’s got a little flip-action book in
the corners.
BEM: The dance that he does is really

Kevin Eastman is interviewed in The Comics Journal #202, page 85:

GROTH: Did you continually express your frustration at
your ennomic hemorrhaging?
EASTMAN: Oh, I’m sure.
GROTH: Your employees were well aware…
EASTMAN: But i think a lot of it in reference to, it
sounds finny [laughs] as I’m saying it… (laughter) I’m
sure youve had to deal with this before. But why the
fuck didn’t this book sell more copies?
GROTH: Sure.
EASTMAN: brilliant! This is something that should
have done 20-, 30-, 40,000 copies. I mean, Madman as
an example, That was a project that we
took on because we loved Mike Allreds
artwork, his story, his premise, his con-
cept this was a winner. A little trivia
here, when he brought it to us, it was
called The Spook. We took it on for
those reasons as well as, equally impor-
tant, that this is something that is
mainstream thaes going to sell a lot of
books. This is something that is going
to hit the audience that’s reading super-
heroes, and this is something that’s
going to hit the audience thaes not
reading superheroes. Because they’re
going to find the humor and the
storytelling here. And the first issue
didn’t even break even. And consecu-
tive issues did less.
I don’t think he started doing really
well with it until he went to Dark
Horse. And then for some reason he
started selling a lot more copies.

Denis Kitchen said that the first year he ran the rebranded KSP/Tundra company, they made a profit, and I note that my printing of this Oddity Odyssey book is the third printing, so it must have been selling, you’d think?

This is the one hundred and fifty-sixth post in the Entire Kitchen Sink blog series.

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