Michael Dalton “Mike” Allred is an American comic book artist and writer most famous for his indie comics creation, Madman. His style is often compared to pop art, as well as commercial and comic art of the 1950s and 1960s.
Allred began his career as a TV reporter in Europe, and started drawing comics in 1989 with the 104-page OGN Dead Air (Slave Labor Graphics). Following this up with his similarly-titled works Graphique Musique (SLG, 1990) and Grafik Muzik (Caliber Comics 1990/91), he set out the style that he was to become known for with his most famous character: Madman.
The first Madman miniseries debuted from Tundra Publishing in March 1992, and gained higher recognition with its move to Dark Horse Comics in April 1994. Relaunched as Madman Comics, it went on to be nominated for several Harvey Awards. Allred himself gained further mainstream attention with the science-fiction/rock-and-roll comic Red Rocket 7 and his art for writer Peter Milligan‘s series X-Force, which he began drawing in July 2001, and subsequently became X-Statix after X-Force #128.
His more recent work includes The Golden Plates, an adaptation of The Book of Mormon. Other projects are inking X-Statix Presents: Deadgirl, and work on a new ‘Madman’ series. He has also drawn three issues of the Vertigo comic Fables. His wife, Laura, frequently works as his colorist.
Allred is a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, otherwise known as the Mormons.
Currently, he’s performing art duties on up and coming Vertigo series I, Zombie, written by Chris Roberson. The main character, Gwendolyn “Gwen” Dylan, is a ‘zombie girl detective’.
I first encountered Mike Allred’s work in the pages of Madman #1, waaaay back in 1993. When I would stay with my grandparents for a bit in the summer, my grandma would drive me to nearby Iowa City in order to take advantage of some of the things the college town offered that their small town didn’t. Like comic shops! I don’t remember if I read about Madman before I bought it, but for some reason one day, instead of getting the newest issue of Spawn I got Madman #1 from Tundra. I was instantly attracted to Allred’s clean, retro style (though his early stuff had more of a Charles Burns-y feel as well), and read and re-read the issue multiple times. I’ve been an Allred devotee ever since.
Apart from the odd pin-up, Allred’s most substantial work on Batman appeared in his issue of Solo, entitled “Batman-A-Go-Go”. I want to say BAGG was meant to be a miniseries at one point, but I can’t find anything online to support that. I definitely remember it being an idea that was mentioned long before it eventually appeared.
Unsurprisingly, considering the influence the 60s have on his work, Allred’s take on Batman in this story is steeped in the look of the Adam West starring-TV show. The main plot of “Batman-A-Go-Go”, however, actually concerns Batman’s disillusionment about how the world is changing into a much darker place than the day-glo sound effects-laden one of the show. It’s an interesting take, and it would have been nice to see this story in full miniseries form (if that was ever actually a possibility).
So in closing, Mike Allred has long been one of my favorite comic artists, and you should do your best to seek out his issue of Solo, and everything else he’s ever done.