Here’s one you haven’t seen before. Back in the early 1990’s when Mike Allred’s character “Madman” was first going to print, he was actually called “The Spook.” Allred dropped the name fairly quickly after learning there was another character with the same name and opted in favor of Frank Enstein’s new moniker. But the change didn’t take place until after he had produced some collateral items including a glow-in-the-dark T-shirt.
It helps to know people who know people. Through a connection to Matt Alexander, the original owner of the now defunct Captain Salamander’s Atomic Comics shop in Provo, Utah, we were able to acquire the t-shirt. Our understanding is that Matt somehow knew Mike’s brother and got the item through him. We’re not entirely sure how we came into ownership of it – it must have been a purchase or trade – but we had no idea at the time that Mike’s creation was going to become a long-lived icon. We just thought it was a cool looking character and we liked the fact that the t-shirt glowed.
Since it’s so rare, we’ve fought over its ownership and whether one of us has the right to wear it out on Halloween but thus far, it has only seen the darkness of a closet with an occasional extraction to admire it. Collectors are such dweebs, aren’t we?
And in answer to the question we’ll get from some of you. No, the t-shirt is not for sale. But we’ll trade you for it. Two round trip tickets to anywhere in Western Europe should suffice. We’ll pick up the rest of the tab from there. Yeah, so no…not for sale.
[By the way, Matt Alexander also organized the Great Salt Lake Comic-Con, where Mike Mignola drew the concept for the Hellboy character. Obviously, things have changed for the Big Red One but it’s always interesting to see the origins of a character. Related side-note (and we’re pulling this from memory, so it’s only partially formed): the sketch somehow ended up in Matt’s hands. If we recall correctly, the drawing was too big to take on the airplane back home, so Mike left it with the intent that it would be shipped to him. Matt held onto it since he was going to Comic-Con later that year anyway. He found Mike at the end of one of the exhibition days and tried to flag him down. Mike must have thought Matt was just another fan boy and made the move to give him the brush off. Matt persisted and when Mike finally gave him some annoyed attention, Matt turned the drawing over to Mike. The story gets muddled here, but if our consensus on the issue is correct, Mike was so appreciative that he gave Matt a talisman that renders the owner invisible. And that is why we have not seen Matt Alexander since. As for us, we would have kept the sketch and periodically sent Mike scans of it posed in front of various Baptist churches throughout the United States – kind of like the whole Amélie gnome thing except we would have been original since Amélie didn’t come out until 2001.]