This book is a giant love letter to Mike Allred and his creation Madman. Every one of the 250+ pages of the book is dripping with juicy love for Mike and Madman. Yes I realise that may have come off as sounding kind of gross, but just roll with it, all right.
Most of the stories are one page vignettes about Madman, with the exception being Allred's story, which is about twenty pages long. In those twenty or so pages that Allred writes and draws we get a great sense of who the title character is, and his supporting cast all get great nods.
There is a two page sequence in the beginning of his story that is incredible. I won't spoil what happens, but Allred is able to
condense the entire history of Frank Einstein (Madman) into three pages. Allred's tale is my favourite of the bunch. It shows how fun and adventurous the book is, along with some interpersonal stuff thrown in for good measure.
This book has a phenomenal selection of artists contributing to it. Along with Allred himself we get work by Erik Larsen, the Hernandez brothers, Darwyn Cooke, Paul Pope, Eric Powell, Jeff Smith, Peter Bagge, and a bunch more. And those are just the one page stories. Most are humorous, some are though provoking. It is like a Madman anthology. If you come across an art style that doesn't jibe with you, turn the page, there is bound to be an artist you enjoy some where in the book.
The rest of the book is comprised with pin-ups from some of the best people to ever put pen and ink down on a page. If you can think of an artist that has been popular in the last twenty or so years, they probably have a pin up in the book. Some of the artists that contribute are Art Adams, Sergio Aragones, Charles Burns, Terry Moore, Jack Kirby, Frank Miller, Bill Sienkiewics, Dave Sim, Michael Kaluta, Joe Kubert, Moebius, Alex Ross, and so, SO many more. The last half of the book is an art showcase. It is like having a who's who of comic book artists in your hand.
Allred has been doing Madman for almost as long as I have been reading comics. In that time he has made me a fan of his and his wife Laura's (His coulorist) work. While there have been breaks in between series, Mike still manages to come back to Madman. Twenty years going strong, and here is to twenty more. I hope as long as I am reading comics the Allreds will by making them.