Memoria, a ComiXology Original, drops on its platform today. The book is a dark tale in the spirit of True Detective and American Rust. Memoria is written by Curt Pires, with art by Sunando C, Mark Dale drops the color, and you will read Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou’s letter work.
About the graphic novel:
When an aged terminally ill detective and a young burnout are partnered up and saddled with an unsolvable case, they begin to unravel a sprawling conspiracy that points to one thing: The most prolific serial killer in American history. As they further investigate the case, they make discoveries that will force them to question everything and everyone they know.
Pires joined Monkeys Fighting Robots to talk about his new book and the darkness between the pages.
MFR: Memoria is a dark book, talk about where you were as a person writing it.
PIRES: It’s certainly the darkest thing I’ve ever worked on. It could be hard to spend time in that world, but at the end of the day, it’s just a book. The real world, the challenges we face out here are darker than any fiction.
MFR: Sunando C’s art has the perfect amount of grit for Memoria. Why does Sunando C’s style work well for the story?
PIRES: Just a gut instinct really. Sunando’s art has a grit to it but is also just jaw-droppingly beautiful as well. He’s a great storyteller, which I think is the most important thing.
MFR: Mark Dale adds graininess to the color. Did you request that, or was that all Mark?
PIRES: I think early on, we might have talked a bit about the palettes in Fincher films and how I love the sort of green and yellows and browns of those films. But the credit really goes to Mark. He’s a great storyteller with color.
MFR: The crime genre is way older than the superhero genre; how did you find a new lens to tell a story like Memoria.
PIRES: I don’t think of Genre really when I’m creating my stories. I have the idea for a story, which is usually influenced by stuff I like and thinking of how I can put my own spin on things, or push things forward, and then we run from there. I think just looking at crime – there are so many subgenres and different types of crime storytelling, it’s an incredibly diverse space to play in.
MFR: Se7en was a film that broke me as an 18-year-old kid. What crime thrillers had a significant influence on you and your writing?
PIRES: I loved Se7en, but I haven’t watched it as much as I watched Zodiac or Fincher’s amazing GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO adaptation. Mindhunter was an influence too. The films of Michael Mann – Manhunter and Thief. That first season of True Detective. Cormac McCarthy’s stuff. It was important to move beyond these influences and craft something personal to me and unique. There’s nothing worse than a cover band. I think we succeeded.
MFR: Since I’ve watched more than a few films and read more than a few comics, my imagination takes over when I read a comic, adding music and voices to my read. The more immersed I get in a book, the better the experience. Do you think about how people interact with your writing because every interaction is unique?
PIRES: I do think about it. I hope people get what I was going for and feel something. Evoking emotion is really the point of all art.
MFR: There were a few pages in Memoria where there is no dialogue, and the art carries the narrative. What is your thought process with a page with no dialogue?
PIRES: I’m prone to do that in my books. I think it’s important to let the artists tell the story at times. Like silent sequences in a film. There’s an epidemic of overwriting in comics – often with the goal of appearing intellectual or showing off as a writer – that I just find insufferable.
MFR: I was surprised by how quickly the book moved. What was the editorial process like, trimming down the script?
PIRES: Lots of writing and rewriting until I had exactly what I wanted. It’s the hardest part getting everything perfectly calibrated, but once you do, you just know it.
MFR: There was one censored panel. Did you try to push the envelope of what you could show in a ComiXology Original?
PIRES: That was less of a censorship issue and more of a clarity issue. It looked like something was happening, that wasn’t happening, so I just playfully redacted the panel. I think everyone at ComiXology will attest to the fact that I’m constantly trying to push the boundaries of what we can show in these books – and I’m grateful for their seemingly infinite patience in that regard.
MFR: Memoria is a story that will linger with me for a bit. As the writer, does Memoria ever leave your soul?
PIRES: I’ll miss the characters. Those two detectives. Lots of the broken parts of myself ended up in those men. Godspeed.
MFR: Curt, thank you again for talking with me, and best of luck with Memoria.