Episode 20: The Maxx #1&2

Things don’t get much more surreal than this. And if I’m being honest, I’m far too in love with this title to ever be close to impartial about it. So that’s why I brought in Kyle Benning, who’s never read it before! Listen and find out how that went!

Listen to Episode 20: The Maxx 1&265.

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You can subscribe to the Council of Geeks Podcast, home of 90s Comics Retrial on iTunes or on Stitcher.

Hear some more from Kyle at his blog: King Size Comics Giant Size Fun.

Finally, a reminder that the podcast theme song is by Erica Driesbach,and you can find more of her work at her website right here.

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3 thoughts on “Episode 20: The Maxx #1&2

  1. This was a fun episode to listen to because I found myself agreeing with and feeling sentimental for both yours and Kyle’s differing opinions.

    I picked up THE MAXX right from the beginning. I think I followed the first three issues until, like Kyle said, I had way more questions than patience, and gave up on the story until MTV’s Oddities rekindled my appreciation for it.

    I loved Keith’s art, the bizarre design for Maxx, the unconventional-yet-still-cheesecaky Julie with her gut and hips, and the endless black of Mr. Gone’s cape: all of these designs continue to resonate today. But the story? Even after watching the cartoon I couldn’t remember what the hell these books were about until you guys recapped them. Probably the only moment that really struck my memory was Julie sneaking up on Gone and slicing his throat while he villain monologues.

    I also understand the difficulty in ruling one way or another on whether the issues are guilty of “90s comics awfulness”, because the problems with the book are not necessarily reflective of typical 90s comics. If anything, the biggest problem is the decompression of the story, taking way, way too long to explain simple character and plot concepts–which feels more like a problem of early-2000s comics.

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  2. Frank says:

    Barring the creation of a commentary community like Fire & Water, from observed and personal experience, the comments on podcasts inevitably dry up as novelty becomes routine passive listening. So long as you still get downloads and shares, the work has to be its own satisfaction. For my own part, I’ve been juggling podcast production even more than usual with an erratic work schedule and ambitious comic convention related projects (I’m working on getting art commissions of the cast members of the movie Aliens so I can take them to be signed by the actors this weekend. God laughs.)

    Spider-Man was one of my favorite super-heroes as a kid and also a clear indication that you can outgrow a favorite without intending to or even realizing it. My peak Spidey fandom was during Peter David’s first arc on Spectacular, and despite offering one of my favorite ever scripters on a story arc I was utterly inmersed in, I drifted away from buying Spec a few months later out of simple disinterest. I picked up odd issues and brief runs of the various titles here and there, but my interest always had an expiration date. I was reading adjectiveless Spider-Man because my brother was picking it up when I decided to buy the Amazing holofoil issue. It as pages and pages of stuff I could not give any cares for with a cheesy gimmick cover and a hefty price tag. I think it was this specific book that forced me to ask why I bothered to buy Spidey books I didn’t dig, and I never came up with a good answer, so I just don’t anymore. Aside from the marriage and the middle of the road creative teams, Spidey hadn’t changed, but I had. He wasn’t what I needed from my super-heroes anymore, so why pretend otherwise?

    I tried The Maxx a time or two, but it was not my bag. Sam Keith was closer to the McFarlane school than Jim Lee, and I had my preferences. I didn’t “get” the story, and had no motivation to try. I also (unfairly) resented MTV’s Oddities for replacing my beloved Liquid Television, and saw Maxx as a lesser Image property given how many of the rest were turned into their own cartoon series. The chapters of the show I caught at the time did not woo me, and the random comics I read left me puzzled.

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  3. I read the Maxx for most if not all of its run because unlike other Image titles, it had an artistic vision (besides dollar signs, he said, unkindly). It was weird and wonderful and up my alley in the early 90s when I was also getting into Vertigo-type stuff. But I don’t disagree with commenters here that it may have been too opaque, as I don’t have much memory of the story. But is that because it wasn’t memorable, or because fandom hasn’t talked about it as much as other oddball books of the same era?

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