There’s something fishy going on under the sea. Writer Mike McCubbins and illustrator Matt Bryan have met their Kickstarter goal and created the graphic novel, Book of Da — an underwater adventure of otherworldly proportions.
A fish-like reverend recounts a tale to his underwater fellowship. He charismatically tells of Da, the spiritual being who controls the emotions of fish. Once, Da grew upset; and when Da is upset, the sea creatures are not too happy either. This did not bode well for the deep-sea diver who had, unfortunately, offended Da. Trying to make things right and learn more about Da in hopes of protecting others in the future, the diver journeyed into the depths of the sea in search of a long-lost ruined city; however, the creatures of the ocean — big and small — were after the diver, making his quest as difficult as possible. But there is more to the story and the reverend is clearly hiding valuable information.
I have mixed feelings about Book of Da. While McCubbin’s story as a whole is engaging and unpredictable, it was hard to follow along as countless pages had no words at all. For a graphic novel to pull this off, the story needs to have a seamless partnership with the illustrations. Unfortunately, while Bryan’s art is beautifully stylistic — almost in the same vein as M. C. Escher — and the monochromatic expanses accompanying geometric patterns left me with a sense of wonder, it did not help me to fully grasp what McCubbins was trying to relay.
While reading Book of Da, I felt as though I was traveling through a dream with hardly any explanation of my surroundings. Although there were sporadic moments of nearly awakened amusement, I was continually dragged down into the vast expanse of the oceanic reverie — lost to the world and wishing for clearer, bluer waters.