Reading List – The Maxx
Alright, so if you need to take a break from reading X-men all day, and you’re all caught up with Captain Marvel, here’s the next comic on my recommended reading list: The Maxx. If you are familiar with The Maxx, then I probably don’t have to say much, because I have literally NEVER heard anyone say anything negative about this comic. So, if you are familiar, I urge you to revisit the series, because it is amazing. If you aren’t familiar, then, well, this is one of my most highly recommended anythings ever. I recently re-read the entire run, and it left me quivering naked on the bathroom floor trying to claw my eyes out. Also, I may be a little bit drunk right now, but don’t let that knowledge dissuade you from following my advice about reading The Maxx.
The Maxx was one of the first titles published by Image Comics. It ran in the early nineties, and was the brain child of Sam Keith, who has done roughly one metric fuckton of work for Marvel, most notably on Wolverine. It’s a 35 issue run, which, as I am very aware, can easily be consumed in a single day, but is not as easily digested. The Maxx is a distressing look at the human condition masquerading as a superhero comic. The titular character, Maxx, is a huge, violent, homeless wacko who dresses in purple spandex and wears an enchanted mask that may or may not control his actions (and also may or may not just be a lampshade).
The Maxx lives in a dirty, corrupted city, but is constantly pulled back and forth between that world and a fantasy world called Pangaea. The worlds mirror each other, and they both contain a woman that our hero has sworn to protect: the Leopard Queen, Julie Winters. In one world, the fantasy world that Maxx considers real, the Leopard Queen has gone insane and must be protected. However, in the city, where Maxx always inevitably washes up, Julie is the one who bails him out and takes care of him. It’s just perfectly beautiful, really.
This series is a convoluted mess, and, like a lot of the stories I love, doesn’t really make complete sense, but it doesn’t have to. By the end, there are so many inconsistencies and so many plotlines left unresolved that the reader just feels lost, which is kind of the point. This comic touches on some serious emotional fault lines, such as rape, suicide and child abuse, and at times approaches complete screaming horror. However, all of the characters are so real, and so many of the stories (despite the fantastic setting) seem so honest and so human that the reader can not help but feel affected. It’s like a dream.