An independent comic book
superhero created by Michael Allred. The series revolves around an amnesiac reanimated corpse and the adventures he has. The series is known for its quirkiness and its ability to go from wacky to disturbing in the span of a few panels.Eccentric scientists Dr. Boifard and Dr. Flem
came upon a horrific car accident one night and discovered a dead John Doe
. They decided it was a good idea to use the cadaver as a guinea pig for their new reanimation experiment. It was a success and Madman
was born. Calling him Frank Einstein
, they studied him and used him as a lab assistant along with the beautiful Joe (Joesephine) Lombard, whom Frank quickly fell in love with. Using his superhuman agility
, Psychic Powers
, and gadgets
, he fights crime when his scientist friends aren't getting him into trouble. He has also had stints as a circus performer and professional psychic.
Frank has gone through time
, fought an Ancient Conspiracy
, aliens, monsters, robots, and even had a stint on a Super Team
called The Atomics
. The series combines horror, science fiction, and pop culture in a way few series can, amassing a cult following
in the process. Considered a Long Runner
for an indie comic, the series has also earned many awards.
This character provides examples of:
- Amusing Alien: Mott, the Hoople.
- Annoying Discs: His disc gun fires sharp discs that get embedded into his enemies' flesh. These are designed to only injure but you still end up seeing guys fighting with blades sticking out of them.
- Arch-Nemesis: Mr. Monstadt is the only real reoccuring Big Bad of the series.
- Ascended to a Higher Plane of Existence: Dr. Boifard, one of Madman's creators,used a mind-expanding serum on himself and eventually turned into a giant brain that was so advanced that no one could understand what he was telling them.
- Author Appeal: Allred created this series as a love letter to pop culture from the 1930's to the 1960's.
- Beatnik: Frank comes into conflict with a group of mutant beatniks many times. They eventually ally themselves with Frank and become The Atomics.
- Beware the Nice Ones: Frank is a nice, sweet guy who would rather avoid getting into a fight. If you gave him an excuse, however, be prepared to get brutalized horribly. Frank was a hired killer in his past life and his old personality creeps up from time to time.
- Body Horror: Frank is a reanimated corpse and looks it. Then we have the Circus ringleader who has horns, the Circus Muscle Man who has no flesh, The Puke who turned into a giant blob of vomit, Dr. Boifard who eventually evolved into a massive brain, and many more.
- Brilliant but Lazy: Frank is rather innocent but has an intellect close to Dr. Flem and Boifard. Unlike them however he would rather spend his time hanging out with Joe and often complains when his adventures make him work any harder than that.
- Channel Hop: Madman started off in a little-known self-publishing company, then switched to Caliber Comics, then Kitchen Sink Press, then Dark Horse Comics, and finally Image Comics.
- Circus of Fear: The circus Madman briefly worked for. Many of them looked very freakish (see Body Horror above) and Frank suspected at least one of them of commiting murder. He turned out to be only partially right. It was someone in the circus but it wasn't the Muscle Man as expected. It was one of the acrobats.
- City of Adventure: Snap City is the home of the main characters. It has aliens, mutant beatniks, and secret governments galore.
- Civvie Spandex: Frank sometimes adds a leather jacket over his normal spandex costume. Like Animal Man it gives him pockets to keep stuff in, but it's mostly because Joe likes it.
- A Running Gag is Frank owing Gale a jacket because he accidentally lost hers in his first adventure.
- Cloud Cuckoo Lander: Madman himself is pretty odd but the universe he lives in is already pretty surreal so it might not be noticable upon first glance.
- Crossover: with The Savage Dragon, Superman, The Big Guy and Rusty the Boy Robot, Hellboy, and simultaneously with Megaton Man, Nexus, normalman, and Bone. And that's just for starters.
- Defeat Means Friendship: Many of Frank's allies fought him when they first met for a variety of reasons and later became close friends.
- Distaff Counterpart: Joe eventually creates one for herself and becomes Madgirl.
- Dreaming of Things to Come: Happens often and the visions are usually too surreal to understand fully until the reader goes back and rereads the issue.
- Early Installment Weirdness: The first scene of the entire series features Madman ripping an eyeball out of a thug's head and swallowing it. He is shown coughing it back up once the thug and his partner leave but the character ended up going in a completely different direction. Allred himself mentioned that he hated that scene right after he wrote it.
- Eldritch Abomination: Some have shown up with little explanation, making people go insane, giving them superpowers, or just generally being creepy.
- Expy: The character Freakazoid! wears a costume that looks similar to one of Madman's earlier designs. The creators of that series apparently got Allred's blessings to do this but since Mike was never given much credit, it's is a bit of a sore spot.
- The Faceless: For the first miniseries, Frank's face was never shown.
- Genki Girl: Joe.
- Genre Shift: Atomic Comics starts out...strange, but there is still some adventure to be had. By the end of it however, things get rather less...superheroey. For example, the last two issues of the series, while including Frank briefly getting charred by an alien, is ultimately about aliens dressed as girl scouts asking the Atomics to play at a concert on their home planet.
- Girl Meets Ghoul: Aside from the initial shock of seeing Frank without his mask, Joe is pretty okay with being in a Paranormal Romance with a reanimated corpse.
- Government Agency of Fiction: Tri-Eye. Exactly which governments it's involved with remains a mystery (but it's probably all of them). Monstadt, Boifard, and Flem all had various connections to this organization as did Frank when he was alive. It comes complete with an Ancient Conspiracy and The Omniscient Council of Vagueness.
- Heroes Want Redheads: Joe is a redhead that has been by his side from the beginning.
- Improbable Aiming Skills: Madman almost always hits his targets.
- Incredible Shrinking Man: Frank used a shrinking formula to beat The Puke but accidentaly got some on himself, spending a brief storyarc trying to survive.
- I Thought You Meant: When Frank first meets Joe's father, he briefly talks about his psychic powers. Joe's father responds with, "So tell me, can you control it?" An aghast Frank swears that he is a gentleman and would never do anything she didn't want to do. He then finds out that Joe's father was referring to the control of his powers.
- Jive Turkey: Purposefully invoked. The characters often use slang from the 50's and 60's due to Author Appeal. The mutant street beatniks are the worst offenders. This often results in Gosh Dang It to Heck! moments.
- Killer Yo-Yo: Frank uses a yo-yo filled with lead. It's a pretty devastating weapon.
- Kirby Dots: If a machine is crackling with energy, expect this effect.
- Man Child: Frank is very sweet and innocent and often enjoys playing with his yo-yo or other toys. In the past, he had tendencies of a Psychopathic Manchild if you threatened him too much or those he loves but those days are gone.
- Man in White
- My Brain Is Big: When Dr. Boifard gains Super Intelligence, his head starts by mutating to be more and more like an exposed brain. It's when it starts expanding, until he is basically a comparatively tiny human body dangling from a brain with eyes and mouth the size of a car, that he becomes incapable of surviving without medical technology.
- My Little Panzer: Some of his weaponds include a slingshot, a yo-yo filled with lead, and a toy disc gun that has been modified to fire sharp discs.
- Nice Guy: Frank is nice and sweet, almost to a fault, one of the reasons Joe likes him so much.
- No Celebrities Were Harmed: The series has depicted characters who look a lot like Clint Eastwood, Chow Yun Fat, and other action heroes.
- Occult Detective: He moonlights as a professional psychic, often lending his powers to help a detective agency in Snap City.
- Off with His Head!: Dr. Flem, Madman's other creator, had to chop off his own head (long story) and now has it strapped to his neck. Yes, a decapitated character got better despite having a head that isn't completely attatched.
- The Pirates Who Don't Do Anything: In Atomic Comics, though mostly towards the end, Frank does surprisingly little superheroing. He has a few enemies pop up now and then, but once Monstadt is defeated, there is very little adventure to be had.
- Pstandard Psychic Pstance: Often takes this stance when using his powers.
- Psychic Powers: He has an antennae that sprouts out of his forehead that acts as a Third Eye. This antennae gives him a variety of abilities: empathy, sensing auras, probing, precognition, sense danger, and sometimes Astral Projection.
- Ray Gun Gothic: Allred is in love with this trope.
- Robot Buddy: Several since Dr. Flem enjoys building robots but the most common would be Astroman, Marie, and Warren. Marie and Warren are floating spheres with hands that are silent but have personalities all their own.
- Robot Girl: Mechana, although she doesn't look quite as human as other examples of this trope.
- Robotic Spouse: Astroman and Machina for each other in a rare robot-on-robot example. It should be noted that Dr. Flem's robots began creating robot companions for themselves.
- Shout-Out: Madman's real name (after being reanimated) is Frank Einstein. His creators named him after their personal heroes but if you were to say the name out loud, it would sound a lot like another reanimated corpse character.
- The aforementioned Machina looks a lot like the robot from Metropolis and her lover, Astro Man, looks like a cross between Madman himself and Astro Boy. Considering Allred's love of all things pop culture, this is not an accident.
- There are numerous mentions of Allred's favorite bands (Allred himself is a musician). They are mostly from The Nineties: Radiohead, Tool, Soundgarden, etc.
- The alien Mott is part of an alien race called hooples. Mott the Hoople was a band in The Sixties and The Seventies.
- When Frank notices that Mott's ship is Bigger on the Inside he states "It must be a Tardis."
- In the crossover with Superman, Cole Burns shows up to get beaten up by Super!Frank.
- Skeletons in the Coat Closet: Madman's first costume resembled a skeleton, complete with a stiched mouth that looked like a fleshless jaw.
- Super Reflexes: He was able to outperform circus acrobats without any training (including balancing on one finger while on a tightrope) and has used his skills to avoiding getting shot.
- Time Travel: The basis for the second miniseries.
- Ugly Guy, Hot Wife: Madman looks very much like a reanimated corpse, albiet a corpse that was handsome in his previous life. He has green skin, gray hair, a metal plate on his scalp, dark sunken eyes, and plenty of stitches. This doesn't stop the beautiful Joe from falling in love with him. She even mentions that she likes his scars, thinking they make him look dashing and rugged (although he really, really isn't)
- Unlimited Wardrobe: He had a different costume for every story in his early days.
- Joe's wardrobe is huge She'll sometimes change clothes multiple times per issue.
- Weirdness Magnet: Despite Frank's paranormal roots, he tries his best to keep to himself and normally avoids getting into adventures. Adventures find him anyway.
- Where Does He Get All Those Wonderful Toys?: Usually from Dr. Flem. And sometimes, they really are toys.
- Widget Series