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The new Madman fun pack is a yo-yo extravaganza

Christopher Irving and Michael Allred have partnered again to produce another Madman-related Kickstarter campaign. Backers have until Sept. 4 to get their pledges in.

All graphics used with permission

Christopher Irving and Michael Allred have teamed up for yet another Kickstarter campaign and this time they’re pulling out all the tricks with their Madman Action Yo-Yo Fun Pack. This follows the team’s Madmaniverse Backstage Pass Fun Kit drive which was completed in early spring.

Despite the month-long campaign being at just the halfway point, their new fun pack is already funded with many stretch goals unlocked, meaning several bonus items will be included with physical packages in the $25 tier and up when they ship.

A $25 commitment for the most basic tier snags backers a wooden axle Madman Action yo-yo made by Yoyoplay and a set of nine trading cards that come in a clear plastic bag. The standard yo-yo comes in translucent exclamation bolt red and a “Vinyl is Black” version is also available. A metal trading card and a limited-edition tuck box, instead of a plastic bag, are added at the $40 and higher pledge tiers.

Additional items are included at other pledge levels, with swag including a 3D postcard, and autographs from Allred and his wife, Laura Allred, which come signed on a certificate of authenticity. Laura is an accomplished colorist who is Michael's artistic partner and they’re both Eisner Award winners.

An assistant professor of Media and Visual Communications at Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU), Irving is also a consulting editor, a pop culture historian, and he’s publisher of the Drawn Word, which he produces his Kickstarter campaigns through.

Irving was a high school student in the 1990s when he first discovered Madman, he said, stating it’s a comic that changed and inspired him.

Irving and Michael Allred first spoke in 1997, according to Irving. At the time, Irving was an undergraduate student at VCU and he had reached out to Dark Horse Comics for an interview, which led to him connecting with Michael Allred. The two spoke for several interviews and kept in touch through the years which eventually led to “Michael Allred: Conversations,” a book released in 2015 from University Press of Mississippi, and they’ve since done multiple Kickstarter campaigns together.

“His work brings a lot of joy to me,” Irving said of Michael Allred. “Whether I’m an awkward high school kid sitting in his bedroom reading Madman for the first time, or whether I’m a 43-year-old professor and father, his work always brings me joy. If I can’t create things that bring fun, quirkiness and enthusiasm then I’m not doing my job as a friend or a collaborator.”

Michael Allred detailed his Kickstarter partnership with Irving in an email to me.

“It’s all Christopher,” Michael Allred wrote. “He keeps coming up with super cool ideas, and all I have to do is throw in my preferences and then sit back and watch him make magic.”

The 3D postcard and Allred signatures are included with a $55 pledge, along with the items previously mentioned. Some tiers are available in which the recipient gets the Yoyoplay yo-yo in both colors — the red and black.

“[Michael Allred’s] campaigns always do well, and the backers are Madman and Allred fans,” Irving said. “I’m a big fan of Mike’s work, and Mike personally, so it’s always a blast to just get a chance to work on these things.”

Stretch goals already unlocked include five additional yo-yos, furnished by Duncan ProYos, with one of them a nod to X-Ray Robot from the Allreds' new sci-fi "X-Ray Robot" series from Dark Horse Comics. The next items to be unlocked are a Madman soft enamel pin and then a die-cut sticker. With the project already funded to more than $5,000, the sticker, which unlocks at $5,500, seems inevitable as an included bonus item for all backers.

Irving has no prior experience producing yo-yos but he said so far there have been no issues in developing this project. He’s been pleased with his contacts at both Yoyoplay and Duncan and has no concerns related to the yo-yos themselves. His only worry to date has been shipping and he’s working ahead to solve that concern.

The Kickstarter ends on Sept. 4 and items are expected to ship in October. Irving is concerned with the state of the United States Postal Service (USPS) and recent changes which have led to significant shipping delays nationwide. It may ultimately cost backers a bit more money for shipping, but Irving is hatching a plan to give backers the opportunity to get fulfillment via the United Parcel Service (UPS) instead of USPS. He’d hate for people to skip the Kickstarter due to fulfillment concerns, he said.

Madman is a popular creator-owned comic book character who was first introduced in 1990. A superhero with pop-art-infused and retro sensibilities, he was stitched back together by scientists after dying in an automobile accident. Madman got his first series in 1992 and the Allreds soon garnered Harvey and Eisner award consideration for their work with the character the following year.

“Every day I’m overwhelmed with gratitude,” Michael Allred told me. “It’s the biggest thrill to run with my creative urges and know that there are folks out there to support my efforts. Not for a second do I take for granted that all my comic book dreams come true because of all those wonderful people.”

Irving said these Madman yo-yos won’t be offered outside of the Kickstarter. He also stated there won’t be much overstock and that it’s a project being done explicitly for the backers. A keychain and other goodies are lined up as additional stretch goals, should the campaign continue picking up new backers.

Comparing the Kickstarter campaign to being a party, Irving said he wants people to join it because he’s loved putting it together.

“I want it to be fun,” Irving said. “That’s what Madman is to me — it’s a fun book. It can get pretty heavy sometimes, and it can get dark and it can get very provocative. But overall, it is a fun book because the characters are fun. It’s some of the best four-color escapism I have in my collection.”

Click here to learn more about the Madman Action Yo-Yo Fun Pack.



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