“Mayday” #4 concludes Curt Pires’ strangest series to date. What began as a “wrong place, wrong time” thriller evolved into this metaphysical, metatextual fever dream. While the commentary here wasn’t as crisply outlined as it was in “POP”, “Mayday” delivered a uniquely structured narrative with a handful of unforgettable imagery.
WRITTEN BY: Curt Pires
ART BY: Alex Diotto
PUBLISHER: Black Mask
RELEASE: July 22, 2015
Well it didn’t take long for Curt to become a character in his own book. Calling Curt self indulgent is like calling Grant Morrison inexcessible. And while I’m certain he would not take that label as an insult (and may relish the comparison) it is true that, more and more, his writing is not for everyone. One benefit of writing in such a distinct style is that the reader develops a relationship with the writer; the story becomes more personal because of the amount of personality injected into the writing. The downside is that maybe people are thinking less about the content and more about how you’re an asshole.
Not that Curt is an asshole, he’s a very warm, insightful guy. The characters in “Mayday” on the other hand are definitely assholes. By the end of the book it becomes difficult to discern the the writer himself from what is written, and I wonder why its neccessary, and to some extent, what it really adds.
I don’t begrudge bold choices, and doing something no one else is doing deserves some credit. Going back to Morrison, he eventually introduced himself as a character in his “Animal Man” series, explaining to Buddy that he was the writer that controlled everything that happened to him. Curt doesn’t break the fourth wall this directly. Rather he has the characters reference him and his previous work, and then spell out what they are referencing. “Mayday” becomes a screenplay within the “Mayday” universe, and Curt himself is heard on the phone discussing fucking someone’s wife with the producer at “Black Mask” production company. Its sort of cute and novel in a David Lynch way, but it didn’t bowl me over. It didn’t make it all come together, it didn’t say something profound or twist the story in some incredible way. It seemed like so much weirdness for weirdness sake. I like the obscure, but it does not a good story make.
“Mayday” feels like Curt testing his boundaries. Its like Pires Unchained; the madness that ensues when nobody’s there to rein him in. I’m glad I got to see it, but personally Curt is at his best when narrative structure takes precedent and he can fill in the gaps with his flavor. A little bit of his brand of nuttiness goes a long way, and I think “POP” was a fantastic example of a great premise and a strong plot can become something extraordinary when Curt tells it. “Mayday” is so much style, and not enough substance.