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The Maxx: Maxximized Volume 1

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Sam Kieth's own quirky brand of brilliance has been wowing fans and inspiring cartoonists for more than 25 years. As one of the earliest creators for Image Comics, Kieth created The Maxx - a homeless superhero who lives in a box. Both Maxx and his social worker friend, Julie, share adventures in both the real world and in "the Outback," a fantasy realm inhabited by their j Sam Kieth's own quirky brand of brilliance has been wowing fans and inspiring cartoonists for more than 25 years. As one of the earliest creators for Image Comics, Kieth created The Maxx - a homeless superhero who lives in a box. Both Maxx and his social worker friend, Julie, share adventures in both the real world and in "the Outback," a fantasy realm inhabited by their jungle-inspired totems. In this new edition, each page has been scanned from the original art, remastered, and completely recolored under the watchful eye of Sam Kieth.


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Sam Kieth's own quirky brand of brilliance has been wowing fans and inspiring cartoonists for more than 25 years. As one of the earliest creators for Image Comics, Kieth created The Maxx - a homeless superhero who lives in a box. Both Maxx and his social worker friend, Julie, share adventures in both the real world and in "the Outback," a fantasy realm inhabited by their j Sam Kieth's own quirky brand of brilliance has been wowing fans and inspiring cartoonists for more than 25 years. As one of the earliest creators for Image Comics, Kieth created The Maxx - a homeless superhero who lives in a box. Both Maxx and his social worker friend, Julie, share adventures in both the real world and in "the Outback," a fantasy realm inhabited by their jungle-inspired totems. In this new edition, each page has been scanned from the original art, remastered, and completely recolored under the watchful eye of Sam Kieth.

30 review for The Maxx: Maxximized Volume 1

  1. 4 out of 5

    Sam Quixote

    I love superhero comics but they’re usually pretty formulaic fare: good guy fights bad guy, good guy wins. This usually takes the form of the bad guy stealing something valuable or threatening innocent lives and the good guy having to retrieve the items, save lives and punish the villain. There are variations on this in the many, many superhero titles out there but, for the most part, the song remains the same. Then there’s The Maxx. Sam Kieth and William Messner-Loebs’ long out of print but hig I love superhero comics but they’re usually pretty formulaic fare: good guy fights bad guy, good guy wins. This usually takes the form of the bad guy stealing something valuable or threatening innocent lives and the good guy having to retrieve the items, save lives and punish the villain. There are variations on this in the many, many superhero titles out there but, for the most part, the song remains the same. Then there’s The Maxx. Sam Kieth and William Messner-Loebs’ long out of print but highly regarded series from the early ‘90s has been re-released, with newly remastered pages. With The Maxx, Kieth uses the well-defined superhero genre to unexpectedly explore abuse and mental illness in an original, very imaginative and entertaining way (plus any comic that has a cow bathroom in it deserves your attention!). The Maxx looks like a Spider-Man villain - a large, muscle-y chap in a skintight purple costume with middle-finger spikes - but immediately subverts readers’ expectations. He’s homeless, he suffers from amnesia, he hallucinates, his voiceover dialogue is actually the character unknowingly speaking out loud, and he allows himself to be arrested by police - not exactly the usual superhero M.O.! In this introductory volume, a crazed lunatic (not Maxx) is murdering women and Maxx’s friend, Julie Winters, may be next. Julie is a freelance social worker working out of her dingy apartment - but is that all she is? And who is the sorcerer Mr Gone and the Isz? There are parallel worlds as Maxx jumps from our dimension to another, and characters take on different roles and identities. It is a crazy, off-the-wall story to say the east, and for the first couple of issues you’re definitely going to be disoriented as to what the hell is going on, but things do become clearer sooner rather than later, certainly by the end of the first volume. The way Kieth has drawn Julie in several pages of this book could put female readers off as she’s stripped down to her underwear and tied up into provocative poses but it does play into her real character and why everything is happening the way it is - I suppose it is gratuitous in parts and you’ll feel sleazy reading these sections, but there is a reason behind why it’s done. Kieth’s cartoony, free-wheeling art style is perfectly suited to the barmy narrative, taking in the dingy realism of dark alleys and living in boxes, before embracing the ‘90s superhero aesthetic of giant, flowing capes and bombastic fights with gangs who look like the Mutants from The Dark Knight Returns, and then sling-shotting into pure D&D fantasy. The Maxx is a superhero comic for readers looking for something a little different from the usual superhero comic. There’s plenty to recommend it from the unique art and strange script to the colourful cast and original story. Superheroes tend to have personal pain at some point in their careers - with Batman, his personal pain defines his entire character - but you’ve never read a book that explores it quite like The Maxx does. This is a series I’m pleased to say lives up to its reputation - well worth a read!

  2. 4 out of 5

    James DeSantis

    A weird, dark, and extremely interesting look into multiple themes and subjects ranging from violence, rape, heroism, and more. The opening of the book is basically a woman getting attacked by a couple of low lives but Maxx, the big dude with giant teethes, stops them. After that we're introduced to Julie who's been through some shit herself. A social worker who tries to help people, but in a way uses them as a way to fight her internal thoughts and mindset. A complex story without a doubt, with A weird, dark, and extremely interesting look into multiple themes and subjects ranging from violence, rape, heroism, and more. The opening of the book is basically a woman getting attacked by a couple of low lives but Maxx, the big dude with giant teethes, stops them. After that we're introduced to Julie who's been through some shit herself. A social worker who tries to help people, but in a way uses them as a way to fight her internal thoughts and mindset. A complex story without a doubt, with a bit of superhero and supernatural twist on top of it. Good: Liked the art a lot. Looks different, weird as hell, yet really 90's but in a good way. The dialogue is strong, feels fresh, and also a lot of interesting themes and topics from multiple people. I loved the last issue the most. While issue 1-3 are strong, they have a couple of issues. Issue 4 really shows how powerful this book can be. Bad: Didn't love the villain. I got what he stood for and meant, but a little too in your face at times. Pacing can also be too quick at times. Overall, really interesting, trippy, and fucked up comic. The more I read the more I wanted. I'll be checking out volume 2. A 3.5 but I'll bump it to a 4.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Malum

    I needed something to wash the taste of Spawn out of my mouth, so I decided to read a comic that came out around the same time. The only thing I remember about The Maxx is that MTV had a really trippy cartoon based on it. So is the comic any good? Yeah, it's pretty fantastic! The art is beautiful, the story has lots of twists and turns, and even the paneling and lettering are super creative. I also like how the world looks subtly dark. People are chunky and paunchy, trash litters the ground, and t I needed something to wash the taste of Spawn out of my mouth, so I decided to read a comic that came out around the same time. The only thing I remember about The Maxx is that MTV had a really trippy cartoon based on it. So is the comic any good? Yeah, it's pretty fantastic! The art is beautiful, the story has lots of twists and turns, and even the paneling and lettering are super creative. I also like how the world looks subtly dark. People are chunky and paunchy, trash litters the ground, and they certainly don't skimp on the violence and gritty themes (the main villain-the sorcerous Mister Gone-is a serial rapist, for example). While Spawn uses dark themes to be edgy, The Maxx really has something to say. There is way too much going on here to cover in this review (such as themes of alienation and hopelessness, the otherworld of the Outback, and the deadly isz), so I can just say that I wholeheartedly recommend this series to people that are looking for something unique, different, darkly beautiful, and something that will make you think and keep you On your toes.

  4. 5 out of 5

    James Kibirige

    Wild ride, didn't really understand what was going on Strange and outlandish, probably need to re-read to understand what I just read. I need to collect my thoughts and come back to this one, I give this issue a 3 for now! Wild ride, didn't really understand what was going on Strange and outlandish, probably need to re-read to understand what I just read. I need to collect my thoughts and come back to this one, I give this issue a 3 for now!

  5. 4 out of 5

    Diz

    The art is very imaginative and it's beautiful to look at, but as a story it's not very interesting. It's a confused mess that feels directionless and heavy-handed at times. Another thing that I didn't like is the way that Sam Kieth handles women characters, which feels very dated now. In fact, some pages were very uncomfortable to read due to the situations that women characters get into in this story. The art is very imaginative and it's beautiful to look at, but as a story it's not very interesting. It's a confused mess that feels directionless and heavy-handed at times. Another thing that I didn't like is the way that Sam Kieth handles women characters, which feels very dated now. In fact, some pages were very uncomfortable to read due to the situations that women characters get into in this story.

  6. 5 out of 5

    C. Varn

    Sam Keith's the Maxx was a hit in the 90s, and that is actually odd given that it only superficially resembled the "edgy" Image books of its area or even Superhero comics in general. It's subject matter was not dark because of violence, but because it took its female characters seriously, really dug into the meaning of trauma, and took ideas from the zeitgeist very seriously. Keith's style was gritty and cartoony, but also slightly whimsical. His female characters were sexualized, sure, but with Sam Keith's the Maxx was a hit in the 90s, and that is actually odd given that it only superficially resembled the "edgy" Image books of its area or even Superhero comics in general. It's subject matter was not dark because of violence, but because it took its female characters seriously, really dug into the meaning of trauma, and took ideas from the zeitgeist very seriously. Keith's style was gritty and cartoony, but also slightly whimsical. His female characters were sexualized, sure, but with the bodily imperfections maintained and they were not generally treated as objects of desire for its own sake. The politics around rape were kind of a blunt instrument, but Keith is also not remotely using that as a plot device to motivate male characters. Indeed, it is the central acts of violation that drives the comic's narrative and the creation of multiple fragmented psychic narratives. Now, it is not perfect. Later additions show Image trying to shoe-horn other tie-ins (although not happen here), and some of the dialogue's Jungian themes can be a little forced. It is still lightyears ahead of what most comics where doing at the time. The rescans and the recoloring really aid in the story, letting Keith's art really shin. I am glad these are back in print with IDW.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Jennifer

    A SPECTACULAR recoloring! Not a mere dayglow HD dazzle job, but a substantive squaring of Kieth's original page conceptualizations. Also, the scans of his b&w artwork are cleaner than I've ever seen them before. And the glossy, hardbound finished product? To be ravished! Like Mr. Gone smooshing isz in a cow bathroom, 'tis pitch perfect. A SPECTACULAR recoloring! Not a mere dayglow HD dazzle job, but a substantive squaring of Kieth's original page conceptualizations. Also, the scans of his b&w artwork are cleaner than I've ever seen them before. And the glossy, hardbound finished product? To be ravished! Like Mr. Gone smooshing isz in a cow bathroom, 'tis pitch perfect.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Noel

    There is nothing quite like The Maxx. A dose of superhero, a sprinkle of insanity, imagination, fantasy, intelligence, sadness, and determination presented in excellent art. And that counts for something. Meep.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Quentin Wallace

    This is...different. This was an early comic from Image at the time when they were doing straight forward, honestly pretty predictable superhero fare. This isn't predictable superhero fare. This is innovative and weird. These new versions have truly gorgeous art as the new coloring is really nice. The story is not the easiest to follow, but I'm hoping will be worth it. We're seeing two worlds: one where the main character is a superhero in primal Australia, the other where he's a bum (but also a This is...different. This was an early comic from Image at the time when they were doing straight forward, honestly pretty predictable superhero fare. This isn't predictable superhero fare. This is innovative and weird. These new versions have truly gorgeous art as the new coloring is really nice. The story is not the easiest to follow, but I'm hoping will be worth it. We're seeing two worlds: one where the main character is a superhero in primal Australia, the other where he's a bum (but also a superhero sorta) in modern times. I'm assuming the real world is the truth, but it's been hinted the real world is the fantasy. I suppose half the fun will be finding out. If you're looking for something different in comics, this is it. Sam Kieth's art can be a little polarizing but here it's never looked better.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Clint

    This comic came out during the early 90’s when I was a too poor to read comics on a consistent basis. I have heard good things about this series, but I am hesitant to revisit the comic books of the 90’s too often; however, I remember liking the trippy cartoon of it that ran on MTV. By the mid 90’s comics became all about the art and collectibility with little attention given the story. There were exceptions, and it pleased me to discover The Maxx is an exception. The art is crazy in a great way, This comic came out during the early 90’s when I was a too poor to read comics on a consistent basis. I have heard good things about this series, but I am hesitant to revisit the comic books of the 90’s too often; however, I remember liking the trippy cartoon of it that ran on MTV. By the mid 90’s comics became all about the art and collectibility with little attention given the story. There were exceptions, and it pleased me to discover The Maxx is an exception. The art is crazy in a great way, the story is great. I look forward to volume 2.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Shaya

    4.5 Stars

  12. 4 out of 5

    Bria

    The Maxx was one of those things I happened across as a teenager and decided I liked it just because it was unusual. It's hard for me to form an honest opinion on it now. The Maxx was one of those things I happened across as a teenager and decided I liked it just because it was unusual. It's hard for me to form an honest opinion on it now.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Alex

    I did not realize how faithful an adaptation the MTV show was. I have all their voices in my head while I read the page.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Tinker Jet

    I finally got around to watching the series from MTV's Oddities and really enjoyed it, so I figured I'd give the comic a try. The series honoured much of the source material from volume 1 to a tee. This wasn't necessarily a bad thing as many of the panels were familiar, however, it initially made me wonder if the purchase was worth it. For other people, maybe not, but I was delighted to experience the comic. The feeling it inspires is different than that of the show. There was a certain rawness to I finally got around to watching the series from MTV's Oddities and really enjoyed it, so I figured I'd give the comic a try. The series honoured much of the source material from volume 1 to a tee. This wasn't necessarily a bad thing as many of the panels were familiar, however, it initially made me wonder if the purchase was worth it. For other people, maybe not, but I was delighted to experience the comic. The feeling it inspires is different than that of the show. There was a certain rawness to it. And when additional context did turn up, it was exciting to experience something new that, in most cases, added additional weight to already devastating situations. On the less exciting side, the comic dated itself pretty heavily by referencing shows and such from the era in which it was made. This might make it more difficult for younger readers to follow what is already a deeply complicated narrative. The Maxx does get around to clarifying what's going on with a lot of exposition, but it can come across as cheesy at times. Overall, I'm happy that I got to experience the story in this form. I intend to dive right into volume 2 next.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Brett Perlman

    see between the worlds , read between the lines Maxx appears to be a superhero but he is something more. The villain Mr. gone appears to be evil incarnate but he's much more as well. This work is mature not because of the subject matter even thought some may think it's offensive. This is mature because only a truly developed mind will appreciate the real mean and simultaneous the story. There is psychology and spirituality for those who are wise enough to read between the lines. give your self a g see between the worlds , read between the lines Maxx appears to be a superhero but he is something more. The villain Mr. gone appears to be evil incarnate but he's much more as well. This work is mature not because of the subject matter even thought some may think it's offensive. This is mature because only a truly developed mind will appreciate the real mean and simultaneous the story. There is psychology and spirituality for those who are wise enough to read between the lines. give your self a gift. experience the maxx

  16. 4 out of 5

    Tomas

    It takes a little bit to get rolling, but there's a definite brilliance here. The feminist argument it makes feels a bit dated at the start, but gets more compelling once the book is finally willing to delve into the characters themselves. If the next volume is good I could see myself bumping this up a star. It takes a little bit to get rolling, but there's a definite brilliance here. The feminist argument it makes feels a bit dated at the start, but gets more compelling once the book is finally willing to delve into the characters themselves. If the next volume is good I could see myself bumping this up a star.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Jack

    Almost didn’t finish this when I started it last week, but I was stuck in a car for most of the day so I finished it to kill time. The art is neat, I guess, particularly the kooky panel layouts. Everything else is kind of incoherent.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Todd

    Beautifully strange. Can't wIt to see where this goes. Beautifully strange. Can't wIt to see where this goes.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Ryan

    Feels like Keith was using this series to learn how to tell stories. Art is uneven an inconsistent and the narrative is a jumbled mess. But it gets points for being to weird.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Derek

    Beautiful but borderline incoherent at times. Still looking forward to volume 2 though.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Ame

    Man, I miss this show!

  22. 4 out of 5

    michael

    Cool This was an interesting story. It was violent and funny. I did enjoy the characters and their view of the world around them. Thumbs up.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Brendan Ferraro

    I didn’t really enjoy this. I didn’t know what was going on at all. The only thing I did enjoy was the artwork.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Oron

    3.5 stars In a word: Weird. In two: originally weird. In three: Will keep reading.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Macha

    3 and a half stars.

  26. 4 out of 5

    XO

    Cool looking dated sad confusing feminist attempt by a male author in the 90s?

  27. 5 out of 5

    Casey Taylor

    Weeeeirrrd. But I read it in high school so I'm nostalgic and it's some sweet illustrations. Weeeeirrrd. But I read it in high school so I'm nostalgic and it's some sweet illustrations.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Stephen Hines

    Sam Kieth is the David Lynch of comics. This series is ingenious.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Scott Finlay

    Super weird and pretty confusing, yet fascinating enough to keep me wanting more. The artwork is great and has very distinct style, and the writing is surprisingly sophisticated.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Amber Lea

    The show was very faithful to the comic. (At least so far.)

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