Review: Book of Da

This is a hard one to comment on, mostly because it's such a singular work of weirdness. A combination of deep-sea fever dream and a rousing Baptist sermon, 'Book of Da' has no obvious influences, no clear message, and no easy selling point. This isn't the kind of book you spin a career or money out of, suggesting a personal desire to tell this story,  leaving you wondering how someone came to this as their personal story. What is this? Why does it exist? And none of this is intended as criticism.

Book of Da CoverIt's just how do I review what I don't really understand? 'Book of Da' is presented as a sermon being given in a strange church populated by frog/fish people, the passionate minister telling his flock and by extension us about a mythic diver-suit wearing savior's strange rambling journey across the ocean floor, encountering monsters and gods. Nearly the entire book is just this extended sermon and the mostly wordless journey of this Holy Diver, both impenetrable and weirdly compelling.

Seeing how strange the premise is and how specific the visuals are, I had assumed that all of this illustrated by the writer, but it is in fact a collaboration between Mike McCubbins and artist Matt Bryan. The book's weakest part is its art, appearing frequently crude. However, at the same time I don't know if the book would have worked as well without it. Matt Bryan's art is distinctly unpolished but also has moments of subtle beauty, especially when creatively depicting the inky dark of the ocean floor. McCubbins and Bryan share a special collaboration here, that while Bryan could use some improvements in technical strengths, they work together to create a unique vision that makes up for quite a bit of the weaknesses.

It's a strange book but also a unique one, that is well written enough to avoid the 'look at me' pretentiousness that similar books tend to annoy me with. It's certainly interesting, and at times engaging. I don't know if I could ever recommend it to anyone, but if you see this book at a con and have an experimental attitude check it out. Good weird doesn't come along often enough.

Score: 2/5

Writer: Mike Mccubbins Artist: Matt Bryan Price: $20.00 Website