When we play the “remember the 90’s” game with comics, many of us comics fans from the period will look back on the flashier, embarrassing parts of the industry: the rise of characters with names like “Bloodwulf;” the Chromium era; Superman’s mullet. What we forget sometimes is that brilliant comics like David Lapham’s “Stray Bullets” or Mike Allred’s “Madman” were doing big, exciting, and strange things with the format without the benefit of 47 variant covers.
IDW plans to release “The Maxx” in a series of hardcovers as “The Maxx: Maxximized.” The new editions, announced on the 20th anniversary of the Image Comics series, will feature new, painted covers from creator Sam Kieth, as well as remastered and re-colored versions of the book’s pages.
The publisher also has an Artist’s Edition planned for the series: one of their oversized hardcover black and white editions featuring a low page count and high quality reproductions of the original line work.
IDW hasn’t revealed how many volumes their reprints of “The Maxx” will be spread across, but it would be a surprise if it was more than three volumes for the “Maxximized” edition.
“The Maxx,” which ran across 35 issues from 1993 to 1998, followed a possibly psychotic homeless man who donned the mask and costume of the titular character, convinced that he was the protector of the mythical realm called The Outback. In this idealized wilderness, The Maxx served (kind of) the fierce Jungle Queen, who in the real world was the tough but trouble social worker Julie. Previous editions of the series were released as softcovers by DC/Wildstorm at the beginning of the 00’s.
In writing and illustrating the series, Kieth explored everything from homelessness to cynicism in the media, to female body issues all in the context of a dark, quasi-mystical story about a possible-maybe serial killer from another dimension. In 1995, “The Maxx” was adapted for MTV as a 13-episode series which covered the comics’ main storyline up to issue #11 with its own ending for the man behind the mask (at the time, you could catch single 11-minute episodes paired with another animated curiosity, “The Head”).