A popular toyline of rubber balls with grotesque faces, the Madballs had a short-lived comic book adaptation printed from 1986 to 1988 by Marvel Comics
subsidiary Star Comics.
Originally starting off as a three-issue miniseries, the comic began with the first series Madballs being normal balls mutated and brought to life by toxic chemicals from the lab of Dr. Frankenbeans, who becomes obsessed with capturing the Madballs.
The miniseries proved popular enough to be extended into an ongoing series, which introduced the second series Madballs and the Super Madballs, but the series was cancelled after ten issues.
- Abhorrent Admirer: Snivelitch is one for Miss Tic the Mystic. Miss Tic is very disgusted by his ugliness and Snivelitch is oblivious to her rejections.
- Snivelitch would also be on the receiving end of this trope in one issue where Dr. Frankenbeans created a female Madball named Madbelle, who fell for him. Snivelitch's disgust at Madbelle's affections caused him to blurt out that she was made to trick the Madballs into turning against each other. Needless to say, the Madballs were not amused.
- Absentee Actor: Many of the later Madballs issues would only have a handful of the Madballs appear in the stories, especially after the second series Madballs and the Super Madballs were introduced. The only comics that had all of the existing Madballs present were the first three issues and the ninth issue.
- Big Bad: Dr. Frankenbeans, the local Mad Scientist who schemes to capture the Madballs for his scientific experiments.
- Covers Always Lie: One issue involving a Fountain of Youth plot gave the impression that the story would have Frankenbeans' assistant Snivelitch become a baby as well as the Madballs, but such a thing doesn't happen. Instead, Frankenbeans and Snivelitch both become children at the end of the story when the Madballs punish them for using the water from the Fountain of Youth on them.
- Even Bad Men Love Their Mamas: In one issue, Snivelitch is shown to have a picture of his mother.
- Evil Knockoff: Ever since the first Madballs were born and attacked Dr. Frankenbeans, the villain tried to defeat the Madballs by creating his own versions. His efforts resulted in the creation of the Badballs, the second series Madballs, and the Super Madballs. The latter two evil knockoffs changed their ways and sided with the original Madballs after their first encounter.
- Flying Face: The Madballs were depicted as floating heads in contrast to their animated counterparts each being a Cephalothorax.
- Heel-Face Revolving Door: The villain Anchor Man, whose real name was Ben DeFax, reformed after his first appearance, but would return to his supervillain persona once more in the penultimate issue of the series.
- Heel-Face Turn: The second series Madballs and the Super Madballs originally began as Evil Counterparts to the Madballs that Dr. Frankenbeans created intentionally until they learned to get along with them.
- The Igor: Snivelitch. He is ugly and short and often assists Dr. Frankenbeans in his plans to stop the Madballs.
- Incredibly Lame Pun: Colonel Corn's super power. He was able to tell jokes so awful that it weakened the Madballs.
- Legion of Doom: The ninth issue had Dr. Frankenbeans and Snivelitch attempt to defeat the Madballs by teaming up with the other villains Miss Tic the Mystic, Colonel Corn, Maiden Hong Kong, The Badballs, Anchor Man, and Captain Weirdbeard.
- Name's the Same: The comic book's Badballs are not to be confused with the Badballs in the Madballs cartoon that are the second series Madballs subjected to Adaptational Villainy.
- Punny Name: Many of the comic's villains, such as Colonel Corn, Bermuda Schwartz, Grammar Moses, and Miss Tic.
- Sssssnake Talk: Snake Bait was depicted as speaking in this manner due to the Madball's reptilian nature.
- Terrible Trio: The Badballs. They are the first Evil Counterpart to the Madballs created and there are three of them.