TITLE: Madman Adventures – Issue #3
COMPANY: Tundra Publishing
By Mike Allred
Colors by Laura Allred
Back Cover Picture Exhibition: “Genial” Geof Darrow
In 1990, Mike Allred created his character Madman, who first appeared in the 1990 issue “Creatures of the Id” and “Grafik Muzik”.
But the character would not be published in a comic book series until 1992 when the first issue was released by Massachusetts-based comic book publisher, Tundra Publishing, one of the earlier creator-owned companies before Image Comics and Dark Horse comics Legends imprint.
The company was created by Kevin Eastman, one of the one half who managed Mirage Studios, an independent American comic book company responsible for creating Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (alongside with Peter Laird).
Despite the awards and critical acclaim of the comics from Tundra, the costs to keep a comic book publishing company up was much more than Eastman expected and in the spring of 1993, Tundra was bought out by Kitchen Sink Press.
“Madman” would move to Dark Horse Comics in April 1994 and relaunched as “Madman Comics” and would print 20 issues until 2000 and then would move on to Image Comics between 2007-2009 as “Madman: Atomic Comics” for 17 issues.
“Madman” is a story about Frank Einstein, an agent of the Tri-Eye Agency who was killed in a car accident. He was stitched back together and brought to life by Dr. Egon Boiffard and Dr. Gillespie Flem.
Because of this, he has no memories but he does have supernatural reflexes and a slight precognitive and empathic powers. But he does have a costume based on one thing he remembers, his favorite comic book super hero, Mr. Excitement.
In “Madman Adventures” issue #3, Frank along with the two doctors decide to go on a camping trip.
Because Dr. Boiffard has been trying to boost his brain power with chemicals, his brain in his head has been growing but he has become an angry and crazy doctor. Both Frank and Dr. Flem are hoping that by taking Dr. Boiffard away from the lab, he could get away from work but even at the campsite, Dr. Boiffard, too addictive to his experimenting, takes his antidotes in the middle of nowhere.
Meanwhile, Frank is approached by an alien that tells him that he must find Space Explorer Pioneer Reddik the Elder who had gone missing since he arrived on the planet 2000 years ago. They give Frank a transmitter and as Dr. Flem goes to see what is going on, they are attacked by the Men in Black. And also wanting the transmitter is a magnetic superhero, Cozmo Carson.
Will Frank be able to find the Space Explorer Pioneer?
For this issue alone, it was what turned me onto “Madman”. Hilarious, fun and well-written, Mike Allred knows how to develop his characters but also manages to find moments to include the most hilarious things that come out of nowhere.
The artwork is well-done, well-inked and his wife Laura also does a great job as a colorist.
Considering that it’s these two who do primarily all the work, Allred’s retro-styled artwork has earned him an accolade of awards including a 2011 AML Award of “Special Award in Graphical Narrative for a lifetime of comic art”. And if you have a chance to find any Madman comic books, which were very difficult for me to find back then, they are definitely worth reading!