Traipsing across Times Square with a mischievous grin and a spring in his step, a carefree oddball in a purple fedora spreads his randomness on the long-faced New Yorkers, instigating a period of chaos. A cop and a pedestrian perform a waltz. A middle-aged man quacks like a duck. Two businessmen act as bull and matador. Where Madcap cavorts, lunacy follows.
His identity undisclosed, seldom is known of this upbeat prankster, save the tragedy that perpetuated his descent into madness. Raised in a Christian household, he was a devout believer and highly involved with his church. Sadly, his faith was dismantled during a church field trip to Bear Mountain. A tanker truck bulldozed the bus carrying him, his family and members of his congregation. The collision led to combustion. The impact swept the religious man away from the accident’s fiery epicenter.
Face down in asphalt, he began to feel different as green liquid from the truck oozed into his bloodstream. The substance was Compound X07, a developmental nerve agent manufactured by Advanced Idea Mechanics (A.I.M.), a global sect of science-terrorists. Awakening in a hospital bed uninjured, the distraught man asked the doctor if there were any survivors. The doctor informed him there wasn’t. This uprooted the man’s faith in God and an orderly world. Baffled that he should live when 42 died, he fled outside and hurled himself into an incoming car to reunite with his loved ones.
Alas, he soon discovered the accident had given him powers. For starters, he could heal from any wound. Even more, he could not feel pain. This pushed his psyche further over the edge. He pondered why he should be rewarded when his dear ones were decimated. He concluded there was no reason. Things happen devoid of purpose or outcome. He resolved to spread his epiphany to the masses. “I stopped into a costume shop—-and picked up some snappy looking duds,” he recalled to Nomad, a sidekick of Captain America (Captain America#309). “If I wanted people to listen to me—-I had to get them to notice me first. And so dubbing myself Madcap, I set out to show the world how to go coocoo for coco puffs!”
His second power allows him to accomplish his objective. Madcap can induce temporary insanity on those who look into his eyes. He can contort even the sternest of individuals. He enables people to be unencumbered by restraint. Abnormality becomes normality. The timid begin dancing. The professional act like buffoons. Mobsters hop like monkeys. The overbearing mom pushes her stroller like she’s driving a race car.
While humorous in some instances, tampering with minds can also prove deadly for his victims and the uninfected nearby. Madcap once compelled a cop in Grand Central Station to go trigger-happy. The cop ended up firing shots into the crowd, killing a slew of bystanders (Ghost Rider vol. 3#33). Ghost Rider exacted vengeance with the Penance Stare. This caused the mischief-maker to actually feel pain again, a sensation he hadn’t experienced since the accident.
To expand his message of craziness to a larger audience, Madcap partnered with Dollar Bill, a talk show host who witnessed the aftermath from one of the quipster’s late night excursions (Daredevil#234). Originally entitled, “The Dollar Bill Show,” the funnyman convinced him to change it to the “Madcap Comedy Hour” after the success of his debut interview. On it, he revealed his regenerative ability and his power to drive others bonkers. The theme of the show was there was no theme. Everything is meaningless.
He maybe considered an absurd nutcase and his methods unconventional, but Madcap is original. He incites randomness and fun wherever he frolics. Sometimes the degree of fun is borderline dangerous, but more often it’s harmless, slapstick humor. He lives his life loosely and on his terms. So why not follow his example? Dare to be odd. In a world of squares, be an octagon.