maddie06.jpgI 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.


  1. This so sad and unexpected. Maddie was a great person. I had the honor of sitting in on some of her Pokemon recording sessions (she kindly let me tag along for an article I was working on a while back). I’m still grateful for getting that peek into the voice-acting world. She was a major talent, and will be missed.

  2. I had no idea Maddie was a comics vet – to me, she was just one of the voice actors who are always coming in and out of the 4Kids offices to record dialogue. I’m sorry to say I didn’t really know her beyond saying hello in the hallway or exchanging pleasantries in the elevator, but it’s always unfortunate when someone so talented, who’s entertained so many passes.

  3. This is heartbreaking news.

    Maddie was a unique individual with a good spirit.

    Sadly, I think she had more stories to tell, but she touched a lot of people’s lives, nonetheless.

    She’ll be missed.

  4. I am deeply saddened to hear the news of my long time, friend, colleague and confidant. Maddie was a tremendously talented and sincere person with a heart of gold.

    I will miss her deeply…

  5. Maddie (then Adam) did do a fair amount of writing for Milestone, as well as editorial work. Those interested in the transgender aspect of her life may wish to dig out the Deathwish miniseries, a rare positive depiction of transgenderism in mainstream superhero comics.

    (And she also included “artist” among her talents, including drawing Marvel’s Power Pachyderms.)

  6. Of all Maddie’s achievements, I feel like one of the greatest was when she agreed to answer fan questions on the Pokemon forum a few years ago. For about two weeks, she let kids submit questions about everything from Team Rocket to her gender identity, and she answered them all. The amazing thing was the number of kids who said that knowing she was transgendered gave them hope about accepting themselves–they were so grateful that she had opened up about her experience. She also didn’t hesitate to engage with the handful of, let’s say, more sheltered kids who were less than supportive. It was really incredible.

    What a huge loss.

  7. How tragic – I only met her once, but was moved by how gracious and personable she was to someone who was a complete stranger. Godspeed, Maddie.

  8. What sad news. Maddie was always charming to interact with on the old GEnie Comics RoundTable boards back in the day, and her DEATHWISH mini-series was fantastically written and makes me hope it will be collected someday. Maddie was a great person, and this is a big loss.

  9. Our paths crossed rarely and mostly online at Dwayne McDuffie’s forum. I was always holding out some hope that she’d return to comics writing, based on the strength of the material in that Deathwish mini-series.

    I’m sorry for the loss.

  10. Maddie and I worked together at Milestone and I’m glad to have known her. This is very tragic that she’s gone so young. I hope you have many more adventures, Maddie, wherever you are.

  11. I remember chatting with Maddie at the AOL Milestone forums, and like others have said, her Deathwish miniseries was really good. I’d lost track of her in recent years (I didn’t know about her Pokemon work), and I’m sad to only be hearing about her now that she’s gone.

  12. What a shame. Maddie was awesome and It was my pleasure to work together on the Deathwish mini series.

    rest in peace my friend.

  13. RIP, Maddie.

    I loved working with Maddie at DC where she was a brilliant computer illustrator who graciously me give her feedback. And always smoothed out any fly-away hair or skin problems on photos of me, saying “Don’t worry, we’ll pretty you up. I’ll do it for anyone I like.” I liked you too, Maddie and so admired and respected your bravery.

    Patty Jeres

  14. Wow, I’m sorry to hear that. 48 is so young. I did not know Maddie very well, but the times we interacted she did seem like a warm and down to earth person. I admire her voice work and her courage in coming out to her co-workers, and just being the person she wished to be.

  15. Holy s-t! One of the bravest, nicest people I had the pleasure of working with. I am stunned. I remember being told as a kid that good people die in their sleep so they don’t suffer. I hope this is true. Rest well, Maddie.

  16. That’s terrible, man. That’s really, really lousy. Does Maddie have a partner? She was such an elaborate person. There are not many people who may rightly be called “elaborate,” are there? Lousy news. Any info about services or memorials?

  17. I’m stunned and so saddened by the news. I first met Adam around 1980 when he was assistant editor of CRAZY Magazine, worked with Maddie at DC and, later, hired her away to work with me at WEEKLY WORLD NEWS. As our art director, Maddie brought her amazing computer/Photoshop skills to the always wacky task of creating the ridiculous and often impossible illustrations we asked of her. I’m so sorry to hear this and send my condolences to her family.

  18. Matt Wayne just passed this terribly sad news on to me. Maddie was a blast, and I always looked forward to spending time with her when I dropped by the Milestone offices. I have a lot of fond memories, particularly of a Halloween night around 1995, when Maddie and Matt crashed in my hotel room for the night and Maddie kept us up by periodically moaning in the voice of Martin Landau as Bela Lugosi in Ed Wood “Eddie, I need my medicine,” which had us in stitches. It also points out just how talented she was as a voice actor. She could do both Bela Lugosi and Martin Landau as Lugosi with distinction between them. She also did a mean Harvey Korman Gazoo from the Flintstones. R.I.P.

  19. It’s a comfort in this sad time to see so many good people with good memories of Maddie.

    According to this blog post Maddie’s funeral was held a few days ago but there will be a memorial service for her at a future date.

  20. Man, 2008 is a cruel year to the last minute it seems. Her work on Milestone’s Deathwish was so groundbreaking. I keep thinking of the scene at the end of “The Doll House” in Sandman and hope that Maddie is somewhere out there, fabulous and happy.


  21. I’m truly sorry to hear of Maddie’s passing. I consider myself a fan of Milestone Media. It was here that I received my first exposure to her work. It was bad enough Milestone Media’s line of comic books went under and now this;very sad. I had hope to meet all of the creators that worked at Milestone Media some day. Obviously I will meet one person less. I did not know Maddie worked on the Pokemon series.

  22. I was fortunate enough to be friends and a coworker of Maddie’s at DC Comics and Weekly World News. I knew her very well and just had drinks with her a few weeks ago. She seemed fine and happy and we talked about friends and previous work experiences and just general life stuff. I will miss her very much. She was a great confidant and she could never be replaced.

    She loved by many and I doubt she ever realized it to the fullest degree. That’s what made her special.

  23. I was fortunate enough to be friends and a coworker of Maddie’s at DC Comics and Weekly World News. I knew her very well and just had drinks with her a few weeks ago. She seemed fine and happy and we talked about friends and previous work experiences and just general life stuff. I will miss her very much. She was a great confidant and she could never be replaced.

    She loved by many and I doubt she ever realized it to the fullest degree. That’s what made her special.

  24. Another quick story about Maddie — when she first showed up on the Comics RoundTable boards, one of her first writing credits had been taking over the SPELLJAMMER comic from DC/TSR. The series had ceased publication before the final issues were published, and I remembered how excited Maddie was that people actually remembered the comic and wanted to know what the ending was.

    It was that sort of upbeat, positive, excited nature that made so many people think highly of her, I suspect, and it’s why the world is so much poorer without her.

  25. It’s no exaggeration to say that the voiceover world has lost one of the best of the best. I’ve had the pleasure of directing Maddie a number of times over the last 5 years and just finished a show with her this November. Without fail, I could count on Maddie to deliver a top notch performance that not only fulfilled the needs of the character, but would always have something more, something unique.

    Her off beat sense of humor was a delightful mixture of silly sophistication. I wish I had known her better, but every time we hung out she always impressed me with her wit, intelligence, and warmth.

    Everyone one in our VO community is deeply saddened by this loss. We are organizing a memorial service to honor her memory and setting up a charity in her name to support the transgendered.

  26. I’m not even sure where to start. I learned of Maddie’s death last night and am still reeling from the news. I had just finished a background on an animated film which Maddie helped write and did the voices and I was excitedly looking forward to sending here a rough cut next week.

    Maddie was one of the loves of my life, has influenced me in so many ways, I carry a big piece of her inside me.

    One of my favorite stories, we were shopping downtown, doing the weekend flea markets and we had bet that I could not find a pair of glasses which would look hideous on her. Maddie claimed to have a super power, to be able to wear the ugliest frames and still look cute. After trying on dozens of ugly ugly glasses we could not defeat her power.

    My dear sister, I will carry you in my heart forever.

  27. When I started at DC back in early 1999 Maddie was one of the first people to extend a hand in friendship and I won’t forget that. She was funny, sweet, kind and talented, as well as being a class act. I’m at a loss for words as I type this, but I do have it together enough to say that she will definitely be missed.

  28. I admired Ms Blaustein for blazing the trail of not only “coming out” as transgender, but creating Marisa Rahm and making a positive transgender character the lead of a comics miniseries (Deathwish). In a time when Marvel was pushing Northstar back into the closet, she was breaking down doors at Milestone/DC.

  29. This is a shame. I remember the first day at DC that she stopped “being Adam” and came in as Maddie. Adam was not someone I knew very well. I’d love to say that I was all smiles and fine with it but the truth is that it just felt… odd. And here I was working at a comics company where characters went through transformations every other day! But then I went into her office and wished her good luck. I remember being overwhelmed with how much courage and guts the act must have taken. And what was nice was that the administration was very positive about the whole experience and I don’t think she got flack from anyone. Sorry to see anyone go so young.

  30. From my blog:

    A visitor came to my office at Marvel and, finding the door locked, knocked. The door opened about eight inches to a hard stop at the foot of my assistant editor who scowled through the opening, “What.” Material would then be passed through the opening with the door locking securely thereafter. And that was the only way I ever got any work done around there. Thank God for Adam Blaustein.

    I didn’t know Maddie Blaustein. By the time Adam became Maddie, we were orbiting different planets. There was absolutely no animosity or falling out, more like a falling away, with my moving in new directions and living far from New York. So I wouldn’t be able to tell you much about Maddie, who passed away this week, but I can share an awful lot about Adam. These are just a few highlights:

    He had amazing insight and depth of character and was a constant source of personal and professional advice. He had a great place in Jersey City, where we could climb up on the roof at night and watch the most spectacular view of the New York skyline you could imagine. He got arrested once for carrying a dull sword on a New York subway. That sword is in my house, now.

    We usually patrolled the Marvel offices armed. We had full-scale, official-weight replica model Colt 1911 automatic pistols tucked into our waistbands, which Marvel VP Mike Hobson would have to routinely explain to the uninitiated straights he routinely entertained next door.

    The one time I ever borrowed money from Mark Bright was to loan it to Adam so he could take Golda—who later became his wife—out on a date. Golda, my wife’s best friend, was a Haitian American who, once they were married, was regularly harassed at department stores for presenting an Amex card belonging to “Golda Blaustein.” This is stuff you just can’t make up.

    We mainlined coffee. We played jazz cassettes on a high-end stereo—not a boom box—in the office, next to a chaise lounge, beach ball and palm tree. The Spider-Man office was the coolest editor office in the joint, which also tended to invite ridiculous criticism from the other editors. But, if the joint was cool, Adam was a huge part of that. He was the sharpest, hippest, cigarettes-and-coffee guy you’d ever meet, which geeks like me tended to find threatening. A gifted mimic, he’d have me in stitches, at times entertaining the freelancers who routinely dropped anchor in the Spider-Office.

    We moved apart in later years, which I’ll take the blame for. After my divorce, my reclusive tendencies took firm hold as I drifted out toward Pennsylvania and ultimately Colorado and out of comics altogether, losing track of a lot of friends along the way. I’m deeply saddened I could not be there for Maddie toward the end, but I have great expectation and hope for Maddie to be, finally, at peace, enraptured in love.

    –Christopher J. Priest

  31. I grew up with Maddie’s voice literally. I loved and still do! – her role as Meowth. When I ‘outgrew’ pokemon, Maddie reintroduced the love I had for her voice through Valkyrie Profile: Lenneth and she did the voices for all of my favourite boys in there – Lawfer, Lezard Valeth, Loki, Arngrim.

    For me and all the fans in the Valkyrie Profile fandom, there will be NO BETTER Lawfer then Maddie herself.

    You will be deeply missed Ms Maddie but we do hope that you are having many more wild adventures wherever you are now =)……………..

    – Love,
    Cherricia E. Idalis + A horde of other fans =)

  32. I grew up with Maddie’s voice literally. I loved and still do! – her role as Meowth. When I ‘outgrew’ pokemon, Maddie reintroduced the love I had for her voice through Valkyrie Profile: Lenneth and she did the voices for all of my favourite boys in there – Lawfer, Lezard Valeth, Loki, Arngrim.

    For me and all the fans in the Valkyrie Profile fandom, there will be NO BETTER Lawfer then Maddie herself.

    You will be deeply missed Ms Maddie but we do hope that you are having many more wild adventures wherever you are now =)……………..

    – Love,
    Cherricia E. Idalis + A horde of other fans =)

  33. I just wanted to drop a line and say thank you to all of those who knew Maddie and have shared some of their experiences with her. I never knew her personally but as a transgendered woman myself I can’t begin to tell you how so much I loved and admired and looked up to her. It’s now been almost a full day of learning about her death and I’m still overcome with shock and grief.
    Once again thanks to of all you for sharing your memories of her. It give me fuller picture of who she was and it just confirms what I already knew. She was one of the most bravest, friendliest, funniest, talented people out there

    hell with it, I’ll risk sounding overdramatic. She was my hero.

    Jennifer Marie Dunne
    just one of the lives she touched

  34. Whoa. Sad, sad sad. I never knew Maddie as Maddie. I knew her when she was Adam. As Priest says, Adam was hilarious. And yes, the Spider-Man office at that time was the hippest joint in the place. Well, it was the only office with any STYLE. Adam was one of the reasons I got to be a colorist. He got stuck trying to get an issue of MERC out of the office and had a week to do it from scratch. Or he would be fired. (Another long unfair story) Somehow, he got a whole bunch of us, from lowly assistants like me at the time to BIG name artists to help. We banged that sucker out and Adam kept his job. And I became a freelance color artist thanks to Adam. He also used to dress up as the GREEN GOBLIN and attack whoever was dressed up as Spider-Man. And he was AWESOME. And then one dat he brought me a tape, which I still have. It was a tape full of all his voices that he was planning to use to audition for voice work. Many people laughed and told him he was nuts. Some of us actually listened to that tape and were bowled over. The late great Mark Gruenwald and I listened to it several times. We couldn’t believe it was Adam. We had no idea he had this talent inside. I never stayed in touch after he left Marvel. I heard news about him from folks at Milestone. People fall in and out of your life. Some you forget completely. Not Adam. And I do wish I could’ve known him as Maddie. And now, think I re-listen to that tape he gave me many years ago.

  35. I too, knew him at Marvel as Adam but last saw “Addie” some 10 years ago, in a dress in the DC elevator. I like to think I was as cool as he was when we exchanged greetings. I had to check around to get the story; I had been AWOL from any comic office at the time. The transition was difficult, expensive and time-comsuming. There apparently was a lot of “in-between” times.
    As Mr. Priest (above, in this “comic office wall”) says, Adam was hip and sharp and if he was supposed to be a woman or a voice-over artist, s/he’d do it with style. I made sure my son knew the voice of Meowth (“Addie” in the credits) was an old comics comrade. I had heard that he (Adam) had tried out for the voice of Mr. Magoo and could not imagine anyone else doing it after that!
    I liked her and we got along. 48 is too damn young. My condolences to her family.

  36. Like others here, I enjoyed a very real comraderie with Adam two decades ago in the old Marvel Bullpen. I see him now, leaning in, curled around the edge of the doorway and sharing the gift of something funny. I can see him smile, and throw his head back laughing.
    I never knew Maddie, for when that inexplicably wonderful/crazy old place turned paradise lost, many of us, with increasingly responsible noses fixed to fresh grindstones, fell out of touch. But now with the news of her passing, the memory of the spirit that powered that individual returns to me, like a other classic spirits from this time of the rolling year with something important thing to share.
    Life is short. Fear and doubt are liars. Be yourself.
    I join all of you in applauding Maddie Blaustien.

  37. Figured I mention this before this thread gets too old. I’m trying to pull together a number of people from the various communities which Maddie was part of; animation, comics, transgender, political and Second Life for a possible memorial.

    If anyone reading this would like to be part of a growing mailing list on this topic please contact me at ginak at pixeltoon dot com or via my web site.

  38. I’m so sorry to hear the news. What a loss.

    Unfortunately, we lost touch after the Marvel days, so I never knew Maddie. But I enjoyed Adam, and I’ve always been grateful to him for buying my first comic book script, back when I was writing promotional articles for Marvel Age and trying to break into comics proper.

    A funny person and a talented cartoonist. Once, we were chatting about an idea I had for a lighthearted series about a bunch of kid heroes, and Adam decided that I needed a villain. So he immediately pulled out a piece of paper and drew himself as a ten-year-old tough guy, complete with hairy arms and a cigarette. I’ve still got the sketch around here someplace…

    But my favorite Adam memory is a story he told me about a time when he was hiking in the backwoods — I think, somewhere in the south. He met a couple who were also hiking, and they started talking. At some point during the conversation, he noticed that they were looking at him a little funny, so he asked why.

    “You’re Jewish, aren’t you?” they asked. He answered that he was.

    “So where are your horns?”

    At that point in the story, I was a little taken aback at the thought that anyone in the (then-)20th century would still believe that myth, even if they’d never met a Jew before. I assumed he told them it wasn’t really true.

    “Nah,” he replied with a shrug. “I figured they believed it all their lives, so who was I to contradict them? I told them I was young, so my horns hadn’t grown in yet.”

    That was Adam — funny, offbeat, and never afraid to show anyone his horns. I wish we’d stayed in touch long enough for me to know Maddie too. I imagine she was probably much the same.

    Take care, Maddie.

    – Sholly Fisch

  39. This just breaks my heart…I was very good friends with Maddie when she was still Adam, when we both worked at Marvel, back in the 80’s, and she was absolutely one of my favorite people, with a generous spirit, incredible talents, and a weird and wild sense of humor. I loved Adam dearly, and the world will be a bright light lesser for her passing. When I found out Maddie was transgendered, as a gay woman myself, I was incredibly proud of the bravery it took to take those steps. I wish I could have known Maddie as well as I knew Adam. My favorite memory of Adam is when he used to put on the Green Goblin costume, to “fight” with Jack Morelli dressed as Spider Man when I was giving the Friday tours. Condolences to Maddie’s family and other friends.

    Blessed Be,

    Sue Flaxman Kennedy

  40. Very sad. Maddie, back when she was Adam, was my first assistant on the Spider-Man titles. It was a difficult time, as he so clearly enjoyed working with the previous editor, Jim Owsley, now Christopher J. Priest, far more than working with me. Yet we were always able to get along, and I always enjoyed his sense of humor. Fortunately, Editor-in-Chief Jim Shooter was able to find another job for Adam at Marvel.

    Over the years we stayed in touch, and Maddie and I were even connected on various online networking sites. It was always fun running into her, and I was happy for so much of her success as a voice actor.

    I can’t really believe she’s gone. Very sad.

  41. I knew Adam pre-Marvel, pre-Maddie – we were best of friends for about three years in college at SUNY Purchase — where his bizarre and boundless energy fit in perfectly with the satirical videos I was obsessed with making.

    He not only played dozens of roles (Dr. McCoy, Dr. Zaius, Boromir, the voice of Sulu, and Kermit the Jedi and about a hundred more I can’t remember), he also tirelessly helped built sets, models, lugged equipment and did some pretty complex makeup (he was awake for two days helping out with our Planet of the Apes sequence using Dick Smith’s Make-An-Ape Kit!). At the premiere party for our biggest effort (two years in the making), he presented me with a huge scrapbook full of sketches, photos, scraps and more that remains my favorite keepsake.

    During the dark days after college, full of crappy jobs and lowered expectations, rather than get along we increasingly got on each other’s nerves and eventually lost touch. I was pleased to hear of his successes both as Adam and later as Maddie, and sometimes thought about dropping a line, but never did. Now the option has sadly been withdrawn.

    Though we were close, I had no idea of the nature of his internal struggles. Looking back, I recall he was very happy one Halloween when he wore a lovely wig and evening gown. Then again, he seemed equally happy dressed up as a talking ape, so who knew? I’m glad life provided the opportunity and the courage for her to both become a woman and to continue vocalizing for sentient animals.

    Many will rightly recall Maddie for her vocal talent, artistic ability, writing skill, sense of humor, and her bravery in championing transgender issues, but for me he’ll always be an integral part of what made me think of college as home. Adieu, Adam!

    – Stefan Petrucha

  42. I too am stunned by the very sad news of Maddie’s passing. I first met Maddie as Adam, when he was an assistant editor, probably working with another comics’ good guy, editor Jim Owsley. I was doing a lot of work with toy companies, producing books and audio tapes for some of those “talking” toys that were popular in the 80s. Adam often came up to my offices, across town from Marvel, he bringing me pages of Transformers to color, and me telling him about the world of voice-over possibilities, a career move he was considering at the time. He was funny, charming, and a very decent human being — one of the most likable and sincere people in the industry. Years passed, and we went our separate ways. The next time I saw him was when I went to work at DC, and he was introduced to me as “Maddie.” It had been years since we had spoken, and I had no knowledge of his transformation, but our connection was immediate. He was as endearing and gracious as ever. We were all blessed to have known such a fine, unique human being.

  43. As a comics fan, I was thrilled to meet Maddie online on AOL. She had just begun her transition, and it was a pleasure to meet another transgendered person, one who was out and proud. She was encouraging, not only about our transgender issues, but also to a fan and aspiring writer. She was gracious and friendly and I wish I’d gotten to know her better. We’ll miss you, Maddie.

  44. I knew Maddie as a friend and roommate. She took me in when I had nowhere else to go (even if her darling parrot Jake was not as fond of me). I’ve read the remembrances of those of who knew her as Adam and lament that you never knew her as Maddie; I’d like to reassure that we knew the same beautiful, brave, funny, loving soul.

    My favorite memory of her is the night we had a few drinks and listened to Air America, the only “music” the two of us listened to at the time. She called into the show whilst doing a spot on George W Bush impression. I s*** you not. Went on and on about Joe Lieberman’s lips feeling like ripe mangos…. I’m laughing even thinking of it now….

    I would say how saddened her passing makes me, but ultimately I know she would just tell me to get over it and drink my damn coffee. So I will. Good night dear lady.

  45. I worked with Maddie at Milestone as Adam. A sweet and unique person. She is someone who I will always remember and someone who will be missed. I’m trying to recall some interesting stories she shared.

  46. As a member of the immediate Blaustein family, things have finally settled enough for the family to thank each and everyone of you – for loving Maddie (Adam) Blaustein as much as we did. Your thoughts, your prayers and your praises have helped us deal with our loss in the same way as many of you are. Thanks again for loving Maddie for who she was.

  47. i miss you soo much maddie. sad, that i found out you passed on today. rip girl and you kicked ass playing meowth. Fly high as well. im sure a lot of people loved you doing meowth an will surely pass down my pokemon moves to my kids and tell them about you.