Madman Atomic Comics #9 - The Entire Issue

Madman Atomic Comics #9 - Entire Issue

For readers of Mike Allred’s Madman Atomic Comics, June’s issue #9 was something unique. In it, Allred opted to turn the action of the issue into one, single panoramic scene, that is, fourteen double-page spreads that, when connected end to end, form one, long, continuous image.

But how to view it as its creator intended? Tape, scissors, and the horrible mutilation of a comic book? (Hey – scratch that last bit, we’re of the opinion that the best comics get rolled up and stuffed in a back pocket – easier to share them with friends that way…)

Well, for those wanting to see it as one image, we’ve got some help to save your issue. Image Comics and Mike Allred have provided Newsarama with the full image, all connected as one. It’s a bit long, so some side-to-side scrolling will be needed, and it’s a little lower resolution than the printed form, because, well, honestly, we’d (along with Image and Allred) prefer that you would buy the comic, and that this image doesn’t go up on torrent sites as the full issue.

We also spoke with Allred briefly about his decision to go this way with the issue.

Newsarama: Mike - the obvious question - this is one heck of a long image....what were you thinking? What was the inspiration for this?

Mike Allred: It was something I've been wanting to do for a very long time. I'm always daydreaming about ways to stretch the possibilities about what can be done between the covers. And what can be done with covers too. Every issue of Madman Atomic Comics has involved some kind of experiment—even if just an experiment in technique for the sake of my progression. This rescue sequence just fell in to finally attack the idea of making an unbroken action panel throughout an entire comic book.

NRAMA: How did you draw it? Obviously, it was printed, traditionally, that is, page-wise, but to draw it, did you...what, tape the boards together? Draw it on a roll of paper?

MA: I roughed out the action, knowing I would use a left to right tracking motion with a city street as the backdrop. Then I simply laid out standard comic book Bristol boards taped on the back. From there I looked to animation design, finishing the backgrounds as a whole. Then I drew all the monsters and characters separately, so that I could lay them in and adjust them like you would foreground characters on animation cels. This might sound more complicated than it was, but by keeping the characters and backgrounds separate, I was free to alter them without being concerned with going back to the drawing board if I messed something up.

NRAMA: Was there any other special production that had to be done with it?

MA: Once the backgrounds and character sheets were scanned into the computer, I broke everything into double page spreads for the comic book, Laura was able to work her color magic, and then I simply made a gigantic single file to sew the entire thing into one unbroken panel.

NRAMA: Given that this was going to be printed out in comic form, not as a fold-out, why'd you do it? You're presenting it in a way that the reader won't be able to experience it (without scissors and tape, of course...) they way you created it....

MA: Hah! Well, I was hoping to encourage an interactive art project with folks pasting books together, maybe even wallpapering their living rooms with the book... Seriously, I wanted to push the panel borders away and play with that classic left to right story flow. Not just with the dialog flow, playing with "battle jabber", but also play with a mysterious caption narration that deepens the events on the page as well as set up what will come in the next couple issues.

NRAMA: What was the hardest aspect of this approach?

MA: Keeping all the horizontal lines together. Other than that, it was flat out pure fun.

NRAMA: So this approach to the art can be checked off your artistic "to-do" list...what's your next mountain to climb?

MA: I'll let you know when I'm near the peak.

Click here to see the full image. It will make you wish you had a monitor that stretched off your desk.

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