It's weird to think that Mike Allred's sci-fi spiritual adventure comic Madman has been around in some incarnation or other for the last 20 years. Allred has published the stories about good-hearted resurrected amnesiac and sometime-hero Frank Einstein in one form or another at Tundra, then Dark Horse, and most recently at Image with Madman: Atomic Comics. And in spite of changes in publishers and occasional lapses in publication, when the book's around you get a heady mix of action and heart with Allred's distinctive art accompanied by colors from his frequent collaborator and wife, Laura Allred.
2011 seems like it'll be a big year from Frank, Mike, and Laura. March 30th sees the release of the Madman: Atomica collection, a companion to the Gargantua collection from a couple of years back while, while on April 6, Allred will be releasing the Madman: Giant-Size, Super-Ginchy Special. Awesomely, Mr. Allred was kind enough to talk to MTV Geek about what's happening with everyone's favorite dead guy.
MTV Geek: So, what’s going on with April’s Giant-Size, Super-Ginchy Special?
Mike Allred: It's similar to the 56 page King-Size Super-groovy special we co-published with Oni a few years ago, in that it's an all-new extravaganza and has a big new story from me and three guest back-up stories. But this time it's 64 pages, and in addition to the backup stories from Emi Lenox, Matt Kindt, and Tonci Zonjic, it also has several amazing new pin-ups.
Geek: What set of circumstances back in the 90’s allowed you to bring a creation like Madman into the world of comics, and what do you think allows him to survive?
MA: He was created from the inspiration that I pulled from the several independent creations that were successful at the time, showing me you could do anything you wanted--to pull from deep inside yourself. And I think he's survived on sheer enthusiasm.
Geek: Looking through Gargantua collection, there’s a clear evolution in your technique—from your characters and dialog to your layouts. What kind of changes do you think Atomica will reveal about yours and Laura’s work?
MA: I would think a continuation of my natural progression. Frank "Madman" Einstein is as close a reflection of my Id as I can safely draw from. It allows me to be free and progress in story and art. With Laura, I think she has perfected a process which she has been striving for for quite awhile. If you look at the color techniques throughout Madman Atomic Comics and I, Zombie, you'll see hoe she hasn't been satisfied with combining the organic connection between my drawing and her colors. Here, it's fully realized.
Geek: When I was a kid, Madman Comics was always on my pull list. As a teen I couldn’t resist the mix of metaphysics and spirituality bundled in ostensibly an adventure comic and it felt like it was tailor-made for me. These days, who are you writing Madman for?
MA: It's my most selfish act. I love all my collaborations. That's where I feel like a comic book professional. I take joy from it. But with my Snap City world I entertain myself while inviting all comers to the party and hope someone shows up. So far so good.
Geek: I know you probably get this a lot, but is the Superman/Madman: Hullabaloo miniseries going to be part of this collection?
MA: The Atomica collection? Nope. Madman: Atomica, which should be in store in the next couple weeks, is a 1000+ page over-sized hardcover collection that collects The Atomics, The It Girl, Spaceman, and Mr. Gum one-shots, Madman Atomic Comics, and a bunch of other stuff. It'll fit perfectly next to the Madman: Gargantua collection.
Someday I hope to collect Hullabaloo, Madman/Jam, Nexus Meets Madman, and all of his other collaborative appearances in a nice big collection as well.
Geek: How is Frank Einstein doing these days?
MA: Happy and healthy.
Geek: What do you say to someone trying to track down the collected Red Rocket 7?
MA: Grab the definitive collection that Image published recently. It's my favorite edition. Still in print as far as I know.
Geek: What else do you have on the horizon?
MA: I, ZOMBIE is my monthly day job right now, I have a short ROCKETEER story coming out from IDW soon, and then before the end the year is the MADMAN 20th ANNIVERSARY MONSTER! This will have an all-new epic story from yours truly 20 strips from 20+ superstars, and then almost 200 of the various MADMAN pin-ups from the past 20 years. All in a 11 x 17 deluxe monster package! Read More...