[[caption-width-right:350:[[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=icOerAhqGv4 You've never seen a hero with feet this big.]]]]

->''"Most of us inhabit at least two worlds: The real world, where we're at the mercy of circumstance... and the world within, the unconscious, a safe place, where we can escape. The Maxx shifts between these worlds against his will. Here, homeless, he lives in a box in an alley. The only one who really cares for him is Julie Winters, a freelance social worker. But in Pangea, the other world, he rules the Outback, and is the protector of Julie, his jungle queen. There he cares for her. But he always ends up back in the real world.''
->''And me? Old Mr. Gone? Only ''I'' can see that the secret which unites them could destroy them. I could be helpful... Bah, screw it. I think I'll have some fun with them first. Mwa-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-hah!"''
-->--'''[[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N61dlbDfnSo Mr. Gone]]''' ''OpeningNarration''

A homeless man only known as the Maxx fancies himself a superhero, but often ends up causing more trouble than he stops. The thing is, he ''does'' look like a superhero, though kind of a weird one. Even weirder is that he shifts between the real world and a world called the Outback (later more accurately described as ''an'' Outback) a.k.a. Pangaea (Julie's particular Outback has this name), a fanciful version of Australia populated with various bizarre wildlife.

Self-described "freelance social worker" Julie Winters has a friendship with the Maxx, often bailing him out of jail; she also exists in the Outback as the Leopard Queen. Then there is the mysterious Mr. Gone, a serial rapist/murderer with apparent supernatural powers, accompanied by a pack of Iszes, corrupted creatures originally from the Outback. He knows why Julie and the Maxx are connected, but he's not talking... at least, not at first.

As the story goes on, the role of protagonist shifts from the Maxx to Julie to one Sarah James, who was introduced early in the storyline... but all the characters are ultimately part of the same story.

Sam Kieth's very strange [[TheNineties 1990s]] series from Creator/ImageComics lasted for 35 issues (March, 1993-February, 1998). In 1995 it was adapted into a short and generally very faithful animated series on Creator/{{MTV}}.

!!Provides examples of:

* AbortedArc: Towards the end of the comic's run, a number of side stories began to be told, including one about Glory and another that featured Mickey and Dude from the ''Friends of Maxx'' spinoff. Both of these ended on a cliffhanger, and Kieth chose to end the comic rather than resolve either of them.
* ActionSurvivor: Julia proves to be this when she was able to escape Mr. Gone in the second issue/episode and [[OffWithHisHead behead]] him.
* AdaptationDistillation: The animated series, though abbreviated, equals the original comic book in quality, helped, no doubt by the heavy involvement of the original creator. (The video version of the series, however, inexplicably cuts out most of the most beautifully animated sequences.)
** Several comic storylines were also expanded for the better, including Sarah's introduction.
* AffablyEvil: Mr. Gone, sometimes
* AgeAppropriateAngst: Sarah does whine a lot, especially in her introduction, but she ''is'' 15 and in a rotten high school.
* AnimatedAdaptation: The MTV series, which was very true to the comics - and in many ways, superior (see above).
* AntiVillain: Mr. Gone, after issue 21.
* ApatheticCitizens: Most people seem to just ignore Maxx's crazy antics. One early issue has him fight Mr. Gone and several Isz disguised as old women on top of a car at a gas station, and the car's owner seems only mildly amused by the whole thing.
* ArtShift: The Crappon Inna Hat dream sequence, both the comic and animated versions.
** The art actually changed in style a ''lot'' the further the comic went on. It would oftentimes shift between realistic to cartoony and back on the same page.
* TheAtoner: After the TimeSkip, [[spoiler:we find out that Artemis, aka Mr. Gone, became this in the ten years between issues 20 and 21.]]
* BaldOfEvil: Mr. Gone.
* BeardOfEvil: Mr. Gone, again.
* BeautifulAllAlong: Subverted. Sarah tries this once, and doesn't feel it works for her.
** She's still pretty damn cute when she's not trying her hardest to look like a girl version of Maxx's hobo disguise, though.
* BlandNameProduct: Mr. Gone drinks 8Up. A few real-life TV shows and brand names were changed for the animated version. However both version reference the cosy SitCom world of ''Series/{{Cheers}}'', ironically.
* CaptainErsatz: The Image characters ComicBook/TheSavageDragon and Mako guest-starred in the comic, but were replaced by a detective and a different shark guy for the animated version. Another Image character, Pitt, also guest-starred in the comic, but the issue was adapted - [[AdaptationDistillation perhaps for the better]] - as a solo adventure (the part where Maxx is very small and attempting to make his way around Julie's apartment).
* CardboardBoxHome: ComicBook/TheMaxx used to live in a cardboard box until Julie took him in.
* CerebusRetcon: A lot of stuff that seems amusing or inconsequential comes back with a vengeance as you learn more about what's going on. One particularly jarring example are the goofy-looking fear monsters, all of them named Dave, in the Dr. Seuss pastiche. The name seems like a gag, but it becomes very significant later on.
* CrapsackWorld: Dear, God, "The City" is like Gotham without a Batman. Everything, including the Police, has been infiltrated by Iszes serving the villain.
* CreepyUncle: [[spoiler:Mr. Gone to Little Julie, though it turns out he was just a friend of the family. A lot of people who only watched the TV series think there may have been something really incestuous going on in the pink bunny suit bit near the beginning, since this is only made explicit in the comics and her dad does look kind of like a big, fat version of Gone.]]
* TheCuckooLanderWasRight: Maxx. He has a very slim grasp on reality, believes he's some kind of superhero, and narrates his exploits out loud. To people of the real world, he's a nut, but aside from Mr. Gone, he's the closest one with any awareness to how the universe actually works.
* DeadAllAlong: [[spoiler:The Maxx, at least the version of him in the real world, is actually the reanimated corpse of an out of work plumber named Dave that Julie murdered with her car, mistaking him for an attacker because she had been raped a few weeks before. He was brought back to life and imbued with the power of Julie's Spirit Animal, Br'er Lapin, when she hid the body under a pile of garbage that included a lampshade empowered with the eldritch energies of The Outback by contact with a nearby dimensional portal.]]
* DeadpanSnarker: Julie takes a lot of things, up to and including being kidnapped a rapist-murderer, with a bored roll of the eyes and a sardonic wit.
* DeclarationOfProtection: Maxx makes it his mission to protect Julie in the real world and the Jungle Queen in the Outback.
* {{Deconstruction}}: The comics and the animated series often deconstruct many superhero related tropes, such as TheCowl and WorkingClassHero (The Maxx is even referred as such by one kid in the sixth episode of the series): Not only The Maxx constantly fails to save people from Mr. Gone, his vigilante actions only cause him to end in jail, forcing July to bail him out. Ultimately, most of the actions done by the main character as a superhero fail to have the same effect they would have in a more conventional comic book.
* DerangedAnimation: Moderately deranged animation, even more deranged writing.
* DidIJustSayThatOutLoud: A RunningGag is that characters will often respond to Maxx's PrivateEyeMonologue, to which he'll usually mutter: "Damn, I was talking out loud again."
* DoesNotLikeShoes: It's safe to assume that Julie always barefoot unless explicitly shown to be wearing shoes in an earlier panel. At one point she spends some time in a dirty, trash-filled alley, and even steps on something sharp and hurts herself. All she has to say is that she should learn to watch where she's going when she's barefoot.
** Glorie is also barefoot in her appearances, and Sarah also has random barefoot moments.
* DreamApocalypse: Julie fears that if she and Maxx separate the worlds this will happen.
* DreamLand: A variant. The individual dream realms of several people appear during the series. They function as [[MagicalLand Magical Lands]].
* EvilSorcerer: Mr. Gone started off as this, but later claimed that his magic powers were limited to knowing a few "loopholes". And then later it turned out that he had no power at all and was just an ordinary dude who everyone else consensually hallucinated was an evil sorcerer. Or something.
* TheFaceless: Maxx, he's never seen without his mask on. [[spoiler:After the TimeSkip, when he appears as Dave, his face is always drawn in Silhouette.]]
* FreudianExcuse: As a child, Mr. Gone was [[spoiler:humiliated in a particular way, by wearing an oversized pink woman's coat and paper bag over his head. Later, he inflicts that specific punishment on a few of his victims.]]
* FurBikini: The Leopard Queen wears one.
* GeckoEnding: The animated series ended with the Maxx finding peace [[spoiler:in his own Outback, as the one he thought was his was in fact a part of Julie's psyche]] while the comics version continued the story without anything like this happening.
* TheGlassesGottaGo: Shortly after the Time Skip, Sarah inexplicably starts being drawn without glasses.
** TheGogglesDoNothing: She's oftentimes seen wearing some pilot goggles though, for some reason.
* HairofGold,HeartofGold: Julie counts cause she finds the Maxx to be interesting.
* HugeGuyTinyGirl: Semi-platonic version (despite some misunderstandings). Julie and The Maxx, The Maxx and Sarah, Sarah and [[spoiler:her Maxx]].
* IgnoredEpiphany: Mr. Gone knows the psychology for why he does what he does and feels bad about it. It doesn't stop him..
* JunglePrincess: The Leopard Queen.
* KarmaHoudini: Mr. Gone, who [[spoiler:along with the rest of the remaining cast, is reborn in a different reality, though he also is seen living happily with Sara(h) (who is a white Isz and also apparently de-aged) in Julie's Outback, to raise the daughter he was never there for.]]
** Not quite -- if you know the full story, Mr. Gone has quite a good deal of pain inflicted upon him. Especially if you consider [[spoiler:not only getting his head cut off repeatedly, but also stepped on and blown right off. Keep in mind, said abuse doesn't kill him but simply hurts a whole heck of a lot. And that's not including the fact that his head continued to rot while he was still living in it after its initial decapitation.]]
* LifeOrLimbDecision: A boy gets his hand stuck in a portal leading to the Outback. His friend finds a solution to his problem by pulling out a hacksaw...
* MagicalLand: The Outbacks.
* MamaBear: [[spoiler:Julie with her son Mark]].
* MindScrew: Oh yeah. Especially after chapter 30.
* MindScrewdriver: A few of the oddness and mystery of the series did get explained. We never did find out the answer to a few others.
* NewAgeRetroHippie: Sarah's mother, Tilly James. Julie subverts the stereotype, having elements of the archetype but breaking from it in other ways.
* NinetiesAntiHero: Some of the goofy kids providing colour commentary ''think'' The Maxx is one of these. However the truth is something else.
** If anything, the entire series is a very surreal {{Deconstruction}} of this type of hero, as well as the comics being released at the time.
* NoGoodDeedGoesUnpunished: Most of the time, the efforts done by The Maxx to protect the people from the city only cause him to end in jail.
* OffWithHisHead: Julia cuts off manages to cut off Mr. Gone's head a couple times over the course of the series. He spends a large amount of time trying (and failing) to put it back on.
* PaperThinDisguise: Played with. The Isz, who are short, eyeless things with MoreTeethThanTheOsmondFamily often go about in the human world with nothing in the way of disguise but ill-fitting clothes. Fortunately for them (and unfortunately for everyone else), this is all they need, since they possess a latent psychic ability that causes any {{Muggles}} who look at them to see them as whatever they're dressed up as.
* PoliceAreUseless: Shown in the first issue/episode no less. The cops arrest Maxx for apparently threatening a thug (who had been in the process of stopping the latter from mugging a woman), leave the thug where he is, and never once notice the woman who was attacked. And when they're gone, Mr. Gone rapes and murders the woman himself.
* RapeAsBackstory: [[spoiler:The childhood of Mr. Gone. Later, the crimes Mr. Gone reveals he has done to others.]]
** [[spoiler:Julie's rape and her trauma after the event cause her to hit Maxx with the car in the first place.]]
* ScaryShinyGlasses: In her first appearances, Sarah is often drawn in silhouette with only the blank lens of her glasses visible
* ShootTheHostage: In one of the most memorable moments of the series.
-->"Now surrender, Hopping Boy, or this charming young chippy's added to my score!\\
"You killed my hostage... You ''killed'' my hostage! '''YOU KILLED MY HOSTAGE!'''
** Turns out [[spoiler:it was just a dummy. But neither of them knew that.]]
* ShoutOut: To ''ComicBook/TheSandman'' (or possibly a TakeThat, with, "Death is hard an' cold an' ugly. Not some cute chick!"). Sam Keith worked on the very earliest issues of the comic. Actually, Death (''ComicBook/TheSandman'' version) appeared in a poster in the ComicBook.
** The Crappon Inna Hat dream sequence from episode 7 of the animated version is done as a full nod to Dr. Seuss, complete with rhyming speech and a shifted art style. The Crappon himself is a cross between the Cat in the Hat and the Warner Bros. singing frog, and Julie herself refers to one of the long-necked outback creatures as a "Seussadon".
** The animated series had BeavisAndButthead appear on a TV. Well, it was an {{MTV}} production after all.
* ShowWithinAShow: ''The Crappon Inna Hat'', ''Fred Flower and Uncle Italian Moose Show''.
* SpellMyNameWithAnS: Strange InUniverse example: The character's name is spelled "Sarah" at first, before being written as "Sara" after the TimeSkip, but, bizarrely enough, her name is spelled as "Sara" in flashbacks during the second half. As well, Artimis/Artemus/Artemis's name is never consistently spelled right.
* {{Stripperific}}: The Leopard Queen again. Some of Julie's regular outfits would also qualify. Despite often being casual clothes, they are still quite stripperific. On more than one occasion, she almost looks like a hooker.
* SurrealHorror
* TertiarySexualCharacteristics: Parodied with [[spoiler: Sarah's version of the Isz, which are "faeries" with ribbons, dresses, and pink bodies. But they're still carnivorous and extremely creepy]]
* TimeSkip: A ten-year jump from 1995 to 2005, starting with issue 21.
* TwentyMinutesIntoTheFuture: The post-issue 21 stories took place in the future year of 2005.
* UrbanFantasy
* WickedCultured: Mr. Gone.
-->'''Julie''': You! I always knew you weren't dead. Now I want the truth!\\
'''Gone''': Talk to Descartes, toots!
* WillNotBeAVictim: Julie takes this attitude as a way of coping with her traumas, holding that people have no one to blame but themselves for their suffering. It makes her a poor social worker, as she has nothing but contempt for most of her clients, and she cannot sustain a healthy relationship with anyone, including [[spoiler: her own son.]]
* WhoWantsToLiveForever: After his HeelFaceTurn, [[spoiler:Gone unsuccessfully attempts suicide because he's wracked with guilt over all the raping he did, only to find that the power of The Outback has rendered him immortal]].
* WrongGenreSavvy: Maxx, especially at the beginning, believes he's the protagonist of a typical superhero comic. If only it were that simple...
* XtremeKoolLetterz: The title.
* YouHaveOutlivedYourUsefulness: Mr. Gone kidnaps a doctor at some point to have his severed head sewn back on while talking to him about his life and Julie's. It's implied that when it's finished, Gone then had him fed to the Isz.