Madman

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Madman
Madman-adventures.jpg
Cover to Madman: The Oddity Odyssey.
Publication information
PublisherImage Comics
Oni Press
Dark Horse Comics
AAA Pop
First appearanceCreatures of the Id (October 1990)
Created byMike Allred
In-story information
Alter egoZane Townsend
Team affiliationsThe Atomics
Notable aliasesFrank Einstein
AbilitiesSupernatural aptitude in learning
Psychometry
Empathy
Clairvoyance
Supernatural reflexes
 
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Madman
Madman-adventures.jpg
Cover to Madman: The Oddity Odyssey.
Publication information
PublisherImage Comics
Oni Press
Dark Horse Comics
AAA Pop
First appearanceCreatures of the Id (October 1990)
Created byMike Allred
In-story information
Alter egoZane Townsend
Team affiliationsThe Atomics
Notable aliasesFrank Einstein
AbilitiesSupernatural aptitude in learning
Psychometry
Empathy
Clairvoyance
Supernatural reflexes

Madman is a fictional character, a comic book superhero that appears in comic books published by Image Comics. Created by Mike Allred, the character first appeared in Creatures of the Id (October 1990). His name, a combination of Frank Sinatra and Albert Einstein, is also a reference to Frankenstein.

Character history[edit]

Frank Einstein was born Zane Townsend, an agent of the Tri-Eye Agency. Townsend was killed in a car accident, then stitched back together and brought to life by two scientists, Dr. Egon Boiffard and Dr. Gillespie Flem. This resurrection left him amnesiac, and the resurrected John Doe was named after Boiffard's artistic and scientific heroes, Frank Sinatra and Albert Einstein, respectively. The procedure left Frank with supernatural reflexes and a slight degree of precognitive and empathic power, however he remembers nothing about his former life but faint, troubling memories relating to his death. Madman's costume is based on the only thing he can clearly remember: a fascination with a comic book character called Mr. Excitement.

Frank Einstein now lives as a jack-of-all-trades wanderer, accompanied by a variety of allies, including the Atomics. Only one of Frank's reanimators, Dr. Flem, is still in Frank's life. Dr. Boiffard, in an attempt to boost his brain power, transmuted his entire head into neural tissue, leaving him an invalid in a hospital. Later, Boiffard became a cosmic being. Despite the fact Frank has blue skin, a metal scalp plate, and criss-crossed scars similar to Frankenstein's monster, he has a steady girlfriend, a secretary by the name of Josephine "Joe" Lombard. Madman's other allies include Mott, an alien from the planet Hoople, who was saved by Frank when another alien, Zenelle, wanted to marry and eat Mott; Gale, an invisible female scientist who was tattooed by Dr Flem's mutant clones and further rendered invisible by her attempts to eliminate the tattoos; and Astroman and Machina, a pair of robotic humanoids. Astroman was built to be an aid to Frank and was loaded with some of Frank's lost information. Astroman grew to love Frank's girlfriend, Joe, which made Machina very jealous. Frank's also aided by Marie and Warren, two artificial intelligences from the future.

Due to a plot by the mischievous Mister Mxyzptlk, Madman and Superman switched dimensions, becoming physical hybrids of each other. They then had to retrieve portions of Superman's powers, which had been doled out amongst various people across both worlds. Finally, the two confronted Mister Mxyzptlk, and Madman defeated him in a game of Twister before tricking him into saying his name backwards.

Currently, Joe had been fused with Luna (It Girl) and has recently been "pulled" from her body. Frank has met with ghosts and learned more about his previous life, including great insights to the ways of the universe. After Frank is told of Joe being pulled from Luna, he rushes back to Dr. Flem's laboratory, but finds that Mr. Monstadt has returned in a new, artificial body which is powerful enough to defeat him, most of the Atomics, and Joe, who was going to surprise Frank by becoming Madgirl. Immediately after the defeat of Monstadt, a fallen Atomic is revived and the team celebrates by going on a camping trip.

The Atomics[edit]

Former enemies, now allies, are the Mutant Street Beatniks, who were originally just ordinary beatniks. When Mott first arrived he was being chased by Zenelle, a female alien from a species infamous throughout the galaxy for devouring their mates after the wedding night. Zenelle left behind a trail of spores as she tracked Mott through the city, exposure to which caused the beatniks to mutate into disgusting, warty versions of themselves. Zenelle fell in love with one of these mutants and carried him away, much to the relief of Mott.

Blaming Madman for their deformity, the Mutant Street Beatniks remained bitter enemies until they discovered that their deformation was simply the first stage of their mutation, which later gave them super powers. Discovering these powers cleared up their skin condition, so they no longer hate Madman and have formed a superhero team, calling themselves the Atomics. Around this time, their missing comrade returned from space, revealing that Zenelle had actually fallen in love with him to the degree she went against her culture and refused to eat him. Because of the different time-flow between Snap City and Zenelle's planet, when their comrade returned he brought with him his teenage son, the product of his union with Zenelle.

Antagonists[edit]

One of Madman's primary enemies is Mr. Monstadt, his former employer (or so it is hinted). Madman has also fought runaway renegade robots from Dr. Flem's lab who were controlled by the mysterious and super-intelligent Factor Max. Other antagonists include the Mutant Street Beatniks, the Moonboys, the Puke, the G-Men from Hell, Mattress, and Crept. However, the G-Men are occasional allies, and several of the Mutant Street Beatniks become allies as well. Frank has also faced generic monsters a number of times.

Powers and abilities[edit]

Frank's resurrection altered his body, giving him various supernatural abilities. He possesses a supernatural intuitive talent for learning, allowing him to instinctively learn any skill and gain knowledge at a superhuman rate. He possesses supernatural physical coordination. His agility and reflexes are far superior to those of an ordinary human. His tendons and connective tissues are more elastic and his nerve endings transfer stimuli faster. Ability to clean up any mess no matter the size using sports science, and to send enemies into orbit with his throwing glove.

Frank has also manifested numerous psionic abilities that border on the supernatural, including the power to obtain information about an individual by making physical contact, empathy, and clairvoyance. He is also able to perceive the future, sometimes manifesting in vague dreams while asleep, other times displayed in clear thought, and sometimes occurring at will. Unfortunately, he does not have complete control over his psionic abilities.

Publication history[edit]

Collected editions[edit]

Trade paperbacks[edit]

TitleMaterial collectedPublisherPublication dateISBN
Madman Comics: Yearbook '95Madman Comics #1-5Dark Horse Comics1996978-1569711491
The Complete Madman Comics Vol. 2Madman Comics #6-10Dark Horse ComicsApril 1997978-1569711866
The Complete Madman Comics Vol. 3
(originally Madman Comics 3: The Exit of Dr. Boiffard)
Madman Comics #11-15Dark Horse ComicsSeptember 2000978-1569714706
The Complete Madman Comics Vol. 4
(originally Madman Comics: Heaven and Hell)
Madman Comics #16-20Dark Horse ComicsAugust 2001978-1569715819
The Superman/Madman Hullabaloo!The Superman/Madman Hullabaloo! #1-3Dark Horse ComicsFebruary 1998978-1569713013
Madman Boogaloo!Nexus Meets Madman, Madman/The Jam #1-2Dark Horse ComicsJune 1999978-1569714041
Madman, Vol. 1: The Oddity OdysseyMadman #1-3Oni PressFebruary 2002978-1929998289
Madman, Vol. 2: Madman AdventuresMadman Adventures #1-3Oni PressJuly 2002978-1929998296
The Atomics: Spaced Out and Grounded in Snap CityIt Girl one-shot, Mr. Gum one-shot, Spaceman one-shot, Crash Metro and the Star Squad one-shotOni PressOctober 2003978-1929998678
Madman Vol. 1Madman #1-3, Madman Adventures #1-3Image ComicsSeptember 2007978-1582408101
Madman Vol. 2Madman Comics #1-11Image ComicsNovember 2007978-1582408118
Madman Vol. 3Madman Comics #12-20, Madman King-size Super Groovy SpecialImage ComicsJanuary 2008978-1582408934
Madman and the Atomics Vol. 1The Atomics #1-15Image ComicsDecember 2007978-1582408125
Madman Atomic Comics Volume 1Madman Atomic Comics #1-7Image ComicsAugust 05, 2008978-1582409160
Madman Atomic Comics Volume 2Madman Atomic Comics #8-13Image ComicsMarch 24, 2009978-1607060147
Madman Atomic Comics Volume 3Madman Atomic Comics #14-17Image ComicsMay 18, 2010978-1607062639

Hardcovers[edit]

TitleMaterial collectedPublisherPublication dateISBN
Madman Two Trilogies: The Tundra Age
(Limited edition of 1500, signed by Mike and Laura Allred)
Madman #1-3, Madman Adventures #1-3, "For the Record" excerpt from Creatures of the Id #1Graphitti Designs1995978-0936211480
Madman Limited Edition Box SetMadman Comics #1-10Dark Horse ComicsJune 1997978-1569711941
The Atomics Super Deluxe Limited EditionThe Atomics #1-15AAA Pop Comics2001
Madman Picture Exhibition Limited Edition[1]Madman Picture Exhibition #1-4AAA Pop Comics2004
Madman Gargantua[2]Madman #1-3, Madman Adventures #1-3, Madman Comics #1-20, Madman King-size Super Groovy SpecialImage ComicsJuly 2007978-1582407401
Madman Atomica[3]The Atomics #1-16, Madman Atomic Comics #1-18, Madman Comics #1-20, All New Giant-Size Super Ginchy Special, It Girl, Mr. GumImage ComicsApril 2011978-1607063414
Madman 20th Anniversary Monster[4]Madman Picture Exhibition #1-4 plus new materialImage ComicsFebruary 2012978-1607064725

In other media[edit]

Film adaptation[edit]

According to Mike Allred, he was first offered the chance to sell the movie rights to Madman in 1992 (he has not said who made the offer, only that he declined). Since 1998, film-maker Robert Rodriguez has owned the film rights to Madman. Both he and Allred have given numerous signals as to the start of production over the years, but with no result. Although both have been occupied with other projects (Allred was instrumental in connecting Rodriguez with Frank Miller, leading to the production of Sin City), both have been eager to see this film made. Robin Williams has been mentioned as being under consideration for the role of Dr. Boiffard.

At the 2006 WonderCon in San Francisco, Allred announced that Madman the Movie was in pre-production and hoped to begin filming before the end of the year. He teased fans in attendance by saying that the titular role had already been cast, "but I can't tell you who it is yet.... When we announce it, you're gonna be like 'What?', then you'll think about it for a second and see that it's perfect."

Film appearance[edit]

Mike Allred did the artwork for the fictional Bluntman and Chronic comic in the film Chasing Amy (in which he appears in a cameo as himself). The pages were collected as part of the film's published screenplay, and Madman can be seen in one panel beneath the light of the "blunt signal." In the Chasing Amy DVD commentary, Ben Affleck and Kevin Smith state that in one take the character can be seen reading Madman, and that in more than one take Ben Affleck describes Madman as "a classy book." Also in Kevin Smith's "Dogma" during a scene where the fallen angels Bartleby and Loki speak to the demon Azrael in a toy store aisle, a Madman action figure can be seen on the shelf.

Action figure[edit]

Madman's first action figure was a part of the Big Blast toy line from Graphitti Designs in 1998. The figure came in classic white with a red lightning bolt, as well as a black-suited variant with yellow accents and lightning bolt. Wizard Entertainment offered a variant of the Madman Big Blast toy without his traditional mask, showing Frank's face. Other toys in the line included Matt Wagner's first Grendel (Hunter Rose), Kevin Matchstick from Mage, and Christine Spar as Grendel. Madman appears as part of the first wave of the Legendary Comic Book Heroes action figure series in 2007, along with Judge Dredd, Savage Dragon, and Sara Pezzini of Witchblade.

External links[edit]

References[edit]