This excellent animated series has now been released on DVD. It took quite a while from its initial release, which was a shame, because The Maxx is one of my favorite pieces of American animation, and certainly in the top five of animated features produced in the 1990’s. When arguing with Philistines about the joys of adult animation, I often use this one as a hammer–because The Maxx is what American animation could always be, if we were really trying.
While not overtly obscene or pornographically explicit, this series is authentically violent and extremely adult. It ain’t kid stuff—matters of sexuality, especially sexual violence, are dealt with very frankly and openly, and the way our heroine is drawn shows you right away that the women in the story are going to be real—no sanitized, corseted Disney heroines here. Julie Winters is one of the most complex and authentic women I have ever seen in an animated feature…or any Western entertainment medium you want to name for that matter.
Based on the famous comic by Sam Keith, The Maxx is a tale of the struggle between a human’s Inner Truth and his outward appearances. Featuring some of the most fully explored characters I’ve ever seen, The Maxx thoroughly examines a variety of themes…especially the way the strong prey upon the weak, in our society. The piece contains some extremely pointed commentary on the subject of crime in general, but rape in particular.
The true definitions of words like “beauty”, “heroism”, “love” and “loyalty” all come into question, in the course of this story…not to mention the traditional views of Good and Evil. We explore the inner realms of several characters and look the issue of American homelessness straight in the face. If you can appreciate a truly unique style of animation and a truly original take on human life and relationships, try this one out.
–“Dumpster Diving: a review of MTV’s The Maxx”
originally written for Video Picks magazine
© 2000 Arinn Dembo All Rights Reserved
Directed by Yeol Yung Chang, Eugene Salandra, Ilya Skorupsky, Greg Vanzo
Comic by Sam Keith
Scripts by Bill Messner-Leobs
Animated Series: voices by Michael Haley, Glynnis Talken, Barry Stigler