“At least in his dreams he’s some kind of superhero. Boy this city’s full of people who are experts at avoiding reality, and with good reason.” - Julie
Wow, how do I begin to explain The Maxx animated series to you.
Well I start by saying, The Maxx animated series, which aired on MTV in 1995, was based off The Maxx comic book published by Image Comics from 1993-1998.
The Maxx comic book was created by Sam Keith, and the animated series adapts the first 11 issues of his 35 issue run.
The whole series is only 13 episodes long and each episode is about 11 minutes.
The Maxx is story about a homeless man who believes he is a superhero. He lives in a cardboard box in a disgusting alley, he can travel to a different reality called The Outback, and he is a giant purple and yellow monstrosity.
Maxx’s only friend is Julie, a social worker, he has vowed to protect. Julie counsels Maxx about his psychosis, and thinks that The Outback he travels to is just a figment of his imagination he uses to escape his harsh realty.
What Julie doesn’t know is that the Outback does exist, and a version of herself lives there to, going by the name Jungle Queen. While Maxx tries to find a way to prove to Julie that The Outback exist, the evil Mr. Gone is doing everything in his power to stop him, in the real world and The Outback.
While this story alone would make for an interesting show, The Maxx is so much more than that. The Maxx is really a dark and powerful story about the effects sexual abuse has on its victims.
I am amazed that MTV was willing to put a show with this heavy of subject matter on its airwaves. I think what helped mask the gravity of the subject matter was how abstract the show’s animation and storytelling is. The plot is so convoluted that it is often hard to make sense of what is going on, but even with its confusing narrative the show animation is able to convey the sense of emotional pain that victims go through, and they ways in which they try to avoid it.
You see, Mr. Gone, is not some run-of-the-mill super villain. He is a serial rapist and murderer with supernatural powers that allow him to travel to The Outback. There are actually multiple Outbacks that exists. An Outback is merely the world we all create when we want to get away from reality. That happy place where we go when life gets rough or when we try to avoid trauma and pain. Maxx is able to visit Julie’s Outback, which looks like almost a literal African outback, with jungle plains and weird creatures. Julie often visits her outback, hiding from the trauma of her sexual assault. Julie was raped, beaten, and left for dead, after trying to give a hitchhiker a ride. When she is not in her Outback, Julie uses her social work as a means to run away from her feelings.
Mr. Gone has his eyes on Julie as his next victim, but Julie has a protector in Maxx. Maxx is Julies spirit animal in a sense. It is the thing inside her that keeps her from breaking down. A force for good, fighting to keep Julie emotionally stable. In this world Maxx is real however, and he has his own tragic backstory that forever links himself and Julie.
The Maxx is a hard series to explain, but it is definitely a series you should watch.
The whole series is on YouTube, I recommend you watch it.
The Maxx is an incredibly dark tale of sexual abuse, depression, suicide and the ways in which victims avoid and in some cases overcome trauma. The animation is striking often changing to reflect the different worlds abuse victims live in. While the story can be very convoluted, each episode delivers an emotional stab to the senses and the heart. Unfortunately, The Maxx animated series did not adapt the full 35 issue Image Comics run, so viewers may be left with some unanswered question, but the series ending still gives some closure to The Maxx story. In short, The Maxx is one of the most beautiful and emotionally affecting animated series I have ever seen.
In a sentence
The Maxx is a beautifully animated series with a story line that is often hard to follow, but the viewers who stick with the show, will experience a powerful story of overcoming teh trauma of sexual abuse.
Rotten tomatoes: No Reviews
My Rating: 4.0 Outbacks Out Of 5
“You can escape purgatory, but you can’t escape Hell.” - Priest in My Left Foot
This has been day 26 of 30 VHS In 30 DAYS. My journey to the center of VHS Hell. Special thanks to I Luv Video in Austin, The World’s Largest Video Store, for being my spiritual and literal guide through VHS purgatory.