Monday, April 28, 2014

From Comics to Toons: The Maxx (MTV Oddities, 1995)

MTV's Oddities was supposed to be an anthology series that featured two concurrent serials. However, the final product wasn't how it was drawn up in the blueprint.

Writer-artist Sam Kieth's The Maxx became the 3rd Image comics series to be adapted for television, after Savage Dragon (USA Network) & WildC.A.T.S. (CBS), all within a single year's time (1994-5). Like the others, it wasn't as successful on the air as opposed to the printed page. Also, it aired in primetime, around 10 (ET), due largely to its mature subject matter. The psychological drama would've been too intense for younger viewers anyway.

No one's ever been able to explain why The Maxx wasn't ready when Oddities launched. Maybe Kieth wanted the half hour all to himself. He was, after all, given an executive producer's credit, along with MTV's Abby Terkuhle. Maybe it was just the process of transcribing Kieth's printed artwork into animated form for television. Oddities' other feature, The Head, wasn't quite as dark, a diametric opposite of Maxx, which would have formed a perfect karmic balance had the two features aired together, as originally planned.

Let's take a look at the intro to The Maxx:

Overall, Image would have 1 more series make it to television, and that was Spawn, which landed on HBO for three short seasons (1995-7). The Maxx faded from shelves well after the MTV series ended, and the cartoon is available on DVD in case you're interested in scoping it out from the beginning.

Rating: B-.

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