In Review: Dega, by Dan McDaid

Dega Volume 1 by Dan McDaid

Review by Luke Williams

Dega is the story of a survivor of a spaceship crash with only a small droid for company, as they attempt to escape being marooned on an alien world with mysterious horrors beneath its surface. Our protagonist soon discovers that the only way out may be within the bowels of the planet.

This intriguing title is the first graphic novel by Scottish artist Dan McDaid, known for this work on Doctor Who and the IDW version of Judge Dredd. It’s a labour of love for McDaid, who explains in the backmatter / process pages that make up the packaged after the story proper, that he spent around five years creating it between other projects.

He teased downthetubes publisher John Freeman that a follow up is “a definite possibility”.

Dega Volume 1 by Dan McDaid - Sample Art

At 48 pages of story it’s more an extended one shot than a “graphic novel”. It’s slight in length, but doesn’t lack mood or depth. McDaid’s art is redolent of Frank Miller circa Ronin; he has a similar scratchy, manga-esque, scuzzy style. When it is coloured, it’s atmospheric, the strip shifting from full colour to black and white with spot colour at a specific point and as the story moves towards its climax.

A digital copy is reviewed and the magnificent double page spreads of the print edition from Oni Press lose some of their impact, particularly when split or shrunk to get them onto one screen. Ideally, a physical copy would be in a classy oversized album format for the reader to appreciate the detail in the art.

Dega Volume 1 by Dan McDaid - Sample Art

Beautiful work. Sci fi as it should be, all barely working and scratchy.
Although on the face of it, its sounds like a retread of The Martian, DEGA gets a bit weirder than that. More The Martian via 2001 : A Space Odyssey. Minimal dialogue, but lots of inner monologue, with Kate Bush references as a bonus.

Brief, but lovely.

Luke Williams

Dega is available now from all good book and comic shops (AmazonUK Affiliate Link) | ISBN: 978-1637151969

Check out Dan’s work at danmcdaid.blogspot.com | Danmcdaid.bigcartel.com | Instagram | Twitter | AmazonUK

The founder of downthetubes, which he established in 1998. John works as a comics and magazine editor, writer, and on promotional work for the Lakes International Comic Art Festival. Working in British comics publishing since the 1980s, his credits include editor of titles such as Doctor Who Magazine, Star Trek Explorer (previously known as Star Trek Magazine) and more. He also edited the comics anthology STRIP Magazine and edited several audio comics for ROK Comics. He has also edited several comic collections, including volumes of “Charley’s War and “Dan Dare”. He’s the writer of "Pilgrim: Secrets and Lies" for B7 Comics; “Crucible”, a creator-owned project with 2000AD artist Smuzz; and “Death Duty” and “Skow Dogs” with Dave Hailwood.



Categories: Comics, Features, Reviews, US Comics

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