I am very saddened to learn today of the death of actress/comics writer/friend Maddie Blaustein at age 48. It’s being reported that she died in her sleep after a brief illness.
Blaustein started out in the comics industry at Marvel, where he was known as Adam, but gradually went on a path that few could imagine — first as a very successful, talented and well-known voice actress, most notably as the voice of Meowth on the US version of Pokemon. Second, as a transgendered individual. She also wrote several issues of Milestone comics, including a run on STATIC.
Aaron McQuade, who profiled Maddie for The Advocate, has more on his blog:
Maddie (born Adam Blaustein) might be the most recognizable transgender voice on the planet, from her roles as Meowth on Pokemon, and Solomon Moto on Yu-Gi-Oh, not to mention dozens of other anime and video games. She was also a writer for Milestone Comics, penning issues of Static and Hardware, as well as the limited series Deathwish.
Maddie once told me the story of how she was inspired to fully transition from male to female (and to come out to her co-workers as transgender) by an episode of Pokemon. In the episode “Go West, Young Meowth” her character travels to Hollywood to make it big. There, Meowth falls in love with another Meowth, who spurns his advances. He decides to learn how to speak and to stand upright in order to impress her – but she rejects him for being a “freak.” Meowth was a human trapped in a Pokemon’s body.
Maddie and I worked together at DC Comics for a few years, and she was a character as unusual as any she played, but a true friend with a heart of gold. Meowth was my favorite Pokemon (me being a cat lover and all) and I kept a talking Meowth on my computer at DC — both as a tribute to the character and Maddie but also as a tribute to the fact that this brave, compassionate and talented person could become the voice of a character known to millions and millions of children.
My path never crossed with Maddie’s as much as it should have, and for that I am sorry. I do know that she will very much be missed by everyone who called her friend.