Review – Mayday #4 (of 4) (Black Mask Studios)

Click to enlarge.

Click to enlarge.

Publisher: Black Mask Studios
Writer: Curt Pires
Art: Alex Diotto, Christopher Peterson
Release Date: 22nd July, 2015

What a way to conclude this series. It’s some blend of genius and madness and really, really hard for me to try and summarise. Remember the end of Blazing Saddles where during the final chase scene they all stop at a movie theatre and go inside to watch how the chase scene ends? Well, Mayday #4 is kind of like that, but on a loop. This Onion had many layers.

I think that is the point, actually. By the end of the comic it’s hinted that the protagonist, Terrance Gattica, is perhaps an embodiment of Curt Pires, and in fact the entire series is perhaps a parody of Excess and Redemption. I think maybe the story itself represents a crucible for Pires, the difficulty of writing new material, and so he wrote a comic about trying to write new material – sort of like Charlie Kaufman’s Adaptation script.

Having James Dean appear as moral guide at the start of the issue is, I think, symbolic. This is the avatar of the live fast and die young route the protagonist seems to be on, yet Dean makes him question this very thing, and subsequently Gattica then resolves to fix his previous mistakes. This then starts the repeating loops, each loop seemingly resolving one flaw. I don’t want to list them all, but one example is the drive (and walk) through the desert clearly represents Gattica’s journey to sobriety.

With each new loop we move a little bit out of the fictional mayhem of the Mayday comic world and into a more grounded reality, step by step, as Gattica’s (Pires?) script is finalised. The more I think about it, the more I’m appreciating this, it’s remarkable how much I’m actually having to think about this story over such a short run, and how much story is there when you think about it past the actual art in the frames.

I should mention the art, because it’s pretty clever in as much as Diotto’s work here looks to be heavily influenced by the Pop Art of Roy Lichtenstein, but clearly he has made this his own and it works really well in this medium.

Mayday started off as a fun, random and totally crazed story and ended up – if you look for it – an essay in introspection. It’s an amusing and wacky adventure if you read it on a high level, but if you start to plummet the depths there is a real richness there. It’s a definite recommendation from me.

Rating: 4/5.

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The writer of this piece was: Andrew McGlinn
Andrew Tweets from @Jockdoom.

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