The most recent incarnation of Mike Allred‘s hepcat superhero Madman is proving to be one of the best so far. The current series, which is published by Image, deals with Frank Einstein having had his brain shut down, and currently trying to reconstruct his personality. It deals with age-old questions about identity and fiction, self-image and truth while using a vocabulary that is more rooted in pop culture than in psychoanalysis.
And, as the third issue of this series proves, it’s all done by a master draftsman. In this third enstallment, Allred imitates and pays hommage to a plethora of cartoonists and comic artists he feels influenced by or endebted to. The list is endless, ranging from the obligatory Windsor McCay and Will Eisner over Eric Larsen and Frank Miller to J. Bone, Michael Avon Oeming and Matt Groening – and each of them gets a separate panel.
Reading this comic is a humbling experience. From the artists whose style I did recognize, I can only say that Allred’s bang on with them. So it’s probably due to my own limited frame of reference that I needed to scan the list in order to make the connection.
Even if you never read Madman, this is a comic you must own if you consider yourself a comic connoisseur. And I certainly hope you recognized Allred’s tip of the hat to Charles Schultz, Maurice Sendak and Dr Seuss in the excerpt above.
(Madman Atomic Comics 3, july 2007, Image Comics – $ 2.99 – Oh my god, I just wrote a review…)