Looking back on it from 2016 through the lens of neo-noir and true crime histories, California in the early '70s seems intimidating to say the least. And if that's the case for me, imagine how it strange, frightening and dangerous it might have been to someone sent there from another country on a mission of murder.

That's exactly the situation facing the main characters of Alex de Campi, Tony Parker, and Blond's Mayday, in which two Soviet agents are sent to California to assassinate a defector, and find themselves trapped in America.

The Image Comics series makes its debut in November, but you can read a preview below, along with a few of de Campi's thoughts on the series.

 

 

I reached out to de Campi to ask her how a story about being trapped behind enemy lines changes when the hostile territory is America. Here's what she had to say:

There's nothing like making the familiar into something sinister and different. It's the bread and butter of a horror writer, and I use it here for thriller purposes. I spent a good half my life outside the US (in Hong Kong, the UK and places in-between) and so I'm a good little American, up until the moment I'm not. I still have the ability to see this country through another lens, and... we're a weird place. I remember stories about British Army friends patrolling in Northern Ireland and how it was so much worse than Iraq (Afghanistan had not yet happened), because everything looked the same as home. Now, that's not the case for our two little Soviets here -- Palm Springs is very different from Petropavlovsk in 1971 -- but there is still that fascination / repulsion going on with the Great Capitalist Satan. And of course the exhaustion of existing in a second language, a language you aren't fluent in. Nothing is familiar; nothing is understood. And I have to make the reader feel this from the two Russian operatives' perspective. The difference is that the woman, Rose, doesn't see the US as strange and dangerous as Felix does. Rose is, in this instance, very wrong."

Here's the official word from Image's press release:

Critically-acclaimed writer Alex de Campi (NO MERCY, Grindhouse) teams up with artist Tony Parker (Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, This Damned Band) and colorist Blond (Red Hood and the Outlaws, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?) for the Cold War thriller MAYDAY, an all-new series launching this November from Image Comics.

It's 1971, and two young Soviet operatives are sent to California to kill a defector and recover top-secret information. As the mission dissolves into a mess of good sex, bad drugs, and ugly violence, the young Russians face a new problem: they’ll need to rely on each other to escape America, but to survive Russia they’ll have to betray each other.

“MAYDAY is a very fast-paced, violent, 5-issue miniseries with a lot of sex and drug use (hey, they always say "write what you know"). But it's also got that early-1970s thriller thing going,” said de Campi in an interview in Image+. “You can tell a lot about an era by its criminals.”

“It's not the ‘70s that most people envision,” said Parker in the same interview. “Most people picture the late ‘70s and the Disco era. This was a disillusioned, dark, distrusting, dirty, and angry time.”

Blond aptly summarized: “the band is back."