Madman: The Oddity Odyssey cover
|First appearance||Creatures of the Id, 1990|
|Created by||Mike Allred|
|Alter ego||Zane Townsend|
|Team affiliations||The Atomics|
|Notable aliases||Frank Einstein|
|Abilities||Possesses the supernatural aptitude to learn things, Psychometry, Empathy and Supernatural Reflexes|
Madman is a comic book series set in one of the many parallel worlds existing in the Multiverse. Mike Allred is the creator of the Madman comic book and all its characters. Madman’s world is particularly strange. It is a world where mutants, extraterrestrials and freaks run rampant. The comic book primarily takes place in Snap City and Buzztown.
Frank was a hitman who was killed in a car accident, then stitched back together and brought to life by a pair of mad scientists, Dr. Egon Boiffard and Dr. Gillespie Flem. This resurrection leaves Frank with supernatural reflexes and a slight degree of precognitive and empathic power. Frank doesn’t remember anything about his former life. Frank has only faint, troubling memories relating to his death. Madman’s costume is based on the only thing he remembered from his past: 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. Only one of Frank’s reanimators, Dr. Flem, is still around. Dr. Boiffard, in attempt to boost his brain power, transmuted his entire head into neural tissue, thus leaving him an invalid in a hospital. Despite the fact Frank has blue skin, a metal scalp plate and criss-crossed Frankenstein-like scars, 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 the crazy alien, Zenelle, wanted to marry and eat Mott; Gale, an invisible female scientist who was tattooed by mutant clones and further rendered invisible by her attempts to eliminate the tattoos; 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.
Madman encountered Superman and Lois Lane once, due to a plot by the mischievous Mister Mxyzptlk where the two switched dimensions, becoming physical hybrids of each other and 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, Madman defeating him in a game of Twister before tricking him into saying his name backwards.
Currently, Joe has been fused with Luna (AKA It Girl, an Atomic) 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 an new, artificial body which is powerful enough to defeat him, most of the Atomics and Joe, who was going to surprise Frank as becoming “Madgirl.” Instantly after the defeat of Monstadt, a fallen Atomic is revived and the team celebrates by a camping trip.
After a nasty incident where Frank is shot, he and Joe start moving into an old mansion which he has inherited from his previous life. During an incident inwhich one of Monstadt’s minions trapped Frank within a magical snow globe filled with strange man eating beasts, Frank and Joe now have cable.
The recent Atomic Comics series has focused more on philosophical elements than basic hero vs. villain stories.
One of Madman’s primary enemies is Mr. Monstatd, 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, and 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.
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 gave them super powers such as elasticity. Discovering these powers cleared up their skin condition, so they no longer hate Madman and have formed a super-hero 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.
Powers and Abilities
Frank’s resurrection altered his body giving him various supernatural abilities.
After his resurrection, Frank’s mind possesses supernatural intuitive talent for learning things. This supernatural ability allows him to instinctively learn any skill and gain knowledge at a superhuman rate.
Frank has also manifested numerous psionic abilities that border also on the supernatural. The first is psychometry: he can obtain information about an individual through paranormal means by making physical contact. Second is empathy: he has the paranormal ability sense the emotions of others also through physical contact. Last, Frank has the ability of clairvoyance. He is able to perceive the future, sometimes manifesting in vague dreams while asleep, other times have displayed in clear thought and had occurred at will. Unfortunately he does not have complete control over his psionic abilities.
Frank 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. In combination with his ability to learn new things and his psionic abilities, Frank can perform any feat of derring-do with ease.
Appearances in other media
Film and television
- 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, where one can see Madman in one panel beneath the light of the “blunt signal”. In the Chasing Amy DVD commentary, Ben Affleck and Kevin Smith stated 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.”
- Many have felt that the short-lived animated series Freakazoid! was plagiarism of Madman. There are undeniable similarities between the tones of the two series, as well as the designs of the titular characters (both have blue skin and wear skin-tight jump suits – of opposite colours to one another – with a chest emblem of an exclamation point). Throughout the run of the show, Allred remained silent. However, in 2003, he responded to the situation on the message board of his official website (See External Links below), saying that he did notice the similarities and asked for credit. He received no response, but he chose not to pursue legal action.
- According to Allred, he was first offered the chance to sell the movie rights to Madman back 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 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.
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.”