Review – Mayday #1 (Black Mask Studios)

Click to enlarge.

Click to enlarge.

Publisher: Black Mask Comics
Writer: Curt Pires
Artists: Chris Peterson, Pete Toms
Released: 29th April 2015

Ahh, the sordid underbelly of Hollywood. Whether it’s snorting cocaine off two different hookers, ‘writing your latest screenplay’ (and by that I mean snorting cocaine off a third hooker), or drowning your cocaine cravings in alcohol, it’s a magical place full of cocaine and hookers.

Wait…what am I doing again? Oh yeah, comic book review. Gotcha.

Billed as ‘Fear and Loathing meets Pulp Fiction’, Mayday is moderately successful in that regard. Telling the story of Terrence Gattica (quite where he acquired that surname is anyone’s guess) a golden-boy writer/director in the same vein of Michael Cimino, only he’s yet to produce his Heaven’s Gate. Having been paid a large sum of money to do so, he sets about doing precisely the opposite of that, using the cash to fuel a hedonistic lifestyle that’s putting the investors increasingly on edge. Elsewhere in the deliberately fractured narrative, we get to see retired actor-come-crazy-person Benecio del Cocaine initiate a seemingly naive reporter into his slightly fucked-up…well, who knows what the hell that is?

See? Now the opening paragraph makes sense? Right?!

The art from Chris Peterson on pencils and Pete Toms on colours has a lovely, scratchy vibe to it, channelling Roy Lichtenstein whilst at the same time imbuing it with a Gilliam-esque ethereality that gives the proceedings the touted fear and loathing. There’s some gorgeously warped perspectives going on, as well as Tom’s colouring palette shifting and changing as our protagonists delve further down the rabbit hole.

Pires’ writing is sharp, drenched in the sort of ironically hip vocabulary that you might hear from residents of GTA’s Los Santos, on both ends of the ‘deranged’ spectrum. The satire here is a touch more mature, given that it’s ostensibly set in the ‘real’ Hollywood, but a clear parallel can be seen across the two’s approaches to the excesses of this particular facet of the American dream. 

It can certainly be held up as a prime example of how comics can be used to successfully tell stories like this, and whilst the influences are clear, it sets in motion a fascinating chain of events that promise exciting things to come. Black Mask are fast becoming a ‘one-to-watch’ in the grown-up comics stakes, and this could very well serve as their calling card. Get on it!

Rating: 4/5.

RSavThe Writer of this piece was: Ross Sweeney
Ross tweets from @Rostopher24


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