BY SEAN CLARK

Authors: Matt Bryan and Mike McCubbins

2013, Big List of Dead People

Filed Under: Graphic Novel, Sci-Fi, Short-Run

We talked at length on the podcast a while back about Kickstarter and publishing, and followed that with a mini-episode interview with the cool cats at Anomalous Press about their own Kickstarter campaign. As part of that adventure, I backed a number of crowd-funded indie books that I thought showed promise. The graphic novel Book of Da–the campaign for which surpassed the $3,000 the authors sought all the way beyond $17,000–is the first fruit of my harvest.

I’m impressed, and eager anew to see how the other books I have coming pan out.

First and foremost, while a digital version of this comic would be totally worthwhile, the physical copy I received was leaps and bounds more professional than I expected. It’s a slim clothbound, with gold embossed details and a paper jacket that ribbons only around the middle: it looks like something from McSweeney’s. The panels are printed on heavy paper and the contrast between the blacks and whites is great, though this does cause the grays that appear every so often look a little blurry.

Book tells a very unique story: there is a mysterious sea creature called Da–part pyramid, part giant squid–that controls the sea’s emotions. The story follows an unammed diver as he explores the dark depth of the ocean, and ultimately meets and defies Da. The other half of the story follows a lizard-creature preacher in a fedora as he tells the story of Da and the diver to a congregation of similar lizard-creatures.

It’s short, so saying much more than that would give it away.

I really dig Bryant’s art style. It has a doodly quality with just enough refinement. The underwater scenes are quite enjoyable to look at, using large spaces of black to set a noticeably eerie mood. If I could bring myself to do it, I’d cut some out to hang up around my desk. These segments are far more interesting to look at than the more standard panels of the Reverend relating his tale, but McCubbins’s story is meted out well enough to keep you engaged in trying to figure out what’s going on with these lizard guys’ religion.

If you like indie comics, this book is totally worth your time. Can’t borrow mine though, go out and support the indies.

Similar Reads: The Arrival (Tan), The Squirrel Machine (Rickheit)