Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Dominic Deegan

I'm no stranger to the fantasy genre.  I was reading Tolkien and C.S. Lewis in grade school (and yes, even at that young age I found the last book in the Narnia series abominable).  I find it to be a powerful genre, unfortunately I've also found it to be a genre fraught with disappointment.  I no longer remember how I came across the link to Dominic Deegan, and it took me an age before I finally sat down to work through the archives.  

I was not disappointed. 

In fact, I found myself tense and anxious when forced to quit reading for the day in the midst of an emotional story line.  The next day I actually found myself swooning over a particularly tender romance.  (Though it should be noted that I'll violently deny any such swooning.)  The comic now rests rather securely in my top-ten.

Astonishingly, Dominic Deegan updates seven days a week.  Granted, there are many comics that manage this feat, but very few manage to do it well and fewer still do it in an eight panel format framing an intricate plot.  Drawn in detailed black and white Monday through Saturday and excellent color on Sunday the comic has a very natural feel to it.  Because the writing seems so effortless I very quickly gained the sense that these are real people and the art supports that feeling flawlessly.  The comic is believable.  No pretension, no blatant fan service, no cloying gimmicks. There are injuries so grave that even the most experienced healer is powerless, there are evils that penetrate even blood bonds, there are acts of heroism that fail with shattering consequences, lives are lost.  The character's circumstances are quite dramatically different than my own - but never do I get the impression that they are.  The emotions are genuine, and the body postures and composition elegantly display their subtlety when words cannot.

While the archive may seem a daunting task to overcome, with well over a thousand strips, it's worth the time.  The plot lines you'll find within are character driven, and the characters and well rounded and skillfully crafted.  Dominic Deegan himself is an Oracle for Hire, and it's his power of second sight that often kicks off a story line.  At Dominic's side is Luna Travoria, a powerful sorceress with a disturbing family history.  Spark is Dominic's talking cat, and though often used for comic relief his character is charming and well defined.  In Dominic's brothers you find both an optimistic and powerful healer in Gregory, and a ruthless necromancer in Jacob.  There is a thorough cast section in wiki form linked on the main page - but do yourself a favor and get to know the characters on their own terms. Should you ignore my advice and head to the cast section be forewarned:  There is a great deal of spoilage.  In fact, the entire plot is nearly played out as it relates to each character.  Pitiful way to enter such a beautiful story.

The comic isn't without humor, of course... though it often comes in the form of puns which are admittedly an acquired taste.  I've been blessed/cursed with a partner who's particularly partial to his penchant for puns, so I find their inclusion rather charming.

All in all - this is my favorite dramatic/fantasy comic.  It's never failed to hold my attention and I eagerly click the site link every day knowing that I'll be rewarded.  The only thing that would please me more is to have it all in book form so I could snuggle in bed and page through it all over again from the beginning.