Posted tagged ‘Atomics’

Review: Madman Atomic Comics Vol.2

March 29, 2009

Mike Allred continues his artistic evolution in the second volume of Madman Atomic Comics.  There’s not another artist in comics willing to push himself in the way that Allred does in this series.  In the first volume he began using a new pencil shading technique, took his writing in a metaphisical direction, and spent an entire issue highlighting his influences.

I’m ecstatic to see that Allred was not content to rest with that.  This time around he’s begun to play with cel shading.  And in one of his biggest experiements he attempts a comic with a single panel (the pages can be lined up end to end to form a single image).  The story’s pretty good too, mainly focusing on my one grievance from the last volume, which is handled in a truly unique and unexpected way.


Review: Madman Atomic Comics Vol.1

August 14, 2008

Mike Allred is one of the greats of modern comics, being the best pop artist the medium has ever produced (with the possible exception of Steranko).  And now, after taking a number of years off to work on other projects he has finally returned to his greatest creation, Madman.

Now Madman had always been a great comic, fun, clever, and full of brilliant art (and 70’s rock references), but in the time off it is clear that Allred has grown enormously as an artist.  He’s picked up a new pencilling technique (influenced by a new friendship with Eric Powell) and has begun to experiment far more in each issue.  Most notable in this collection is the third issue in which Madman goes off on a metaphysical journey to redefine himself, passing through a series of images in which Allred exorcises all of his artistic influences.  Every panel of the issue is modeled on a different artist, and Allred nails each and every tribute (these range from illustrators like Maurice Sendak to animators like Chuck Jones to comics luminaries like George Herriman and Gil Kane).

Allred has also picked up some changes to his writing after working with Peter Milligan on the X-Statix, a book that was unafrad to completely upset the story in every issue.  Madman is now a book in which anything can happen at any time.  This approach isn’t entirely without its faults.  In a seeming effort to prove how far he’s willing to go Allred has opted to kill off two of the more important characters almost randomly, and their death scenes ring a bit hollow.  But overall Allred’s gambles have paid off and Madman has become a comic truly worth watching.