Sunday, 7 March 2021

Dega by Dan McDaid

One unexpected side-effect of this bloody pandemic is that so many comics creator are now funding and publishing their own works via services like Kickstarter. One such artist is Dan McDaid, one of my fave modern comic guys who has worked on Judge Dredd, Firefly, Doctor Who and many other strips in recent years. I bought a lovely Spider-Man / Sandman page from Dan a few years ago which you can see here.

When I heard Dan had a new, self-published graphic novel coming out I jumped at the chance to support it. The postie dropped it off yesterday and I devoured it instantly, like a hungry, tentacled alien monster eating a small human in a spacesuit... which nearly happens in the book.

Dega is a relatively slim story of a lone, enigmatic human trying desperately to survive in a hostile alien environment but there are some nice twists and turns to the narrative and a surprise appearance by a Kate Bush song. And, of course, there's the artwork. Dan's work is just bursting with energy  -  a loose but lush style of brushwork that reveals just enough details of an image and always suggests more. His alien creatures are suitably frightening and ferocious, while his humans are tough but vulnerable and full of life. I'm not exaggerating when I say Dan's style here reminds me of the lunatic visions of the great Philipe Druillet and, if anything, he can draw a better human being. And, in keeping with the likes of Druillet and Moebius, Dega is printed in a lovely, hardback edition, very much like the classic European "albums" of the '70s produced by Les Humanoids Associes.

As well as the graphic novel itself, the backers of this project also received a postcard and a sticker ( see photo above ) as well as an A5 sketch of their choice. Because I'm a big fan of the way Dan portrays Jack Kirby's characters I asked for a sketch of that scourge of Apokolips, Orion of the New Gods, and here he is:

Great isn't it? It's slightly more "cartoony" than many of the other sketches Dan's posted on Twitter recently but I like it because he captures the sheer power and anger of Orion. Darkseid beware!

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