Writers: Matt Heistand, Dan Fifield, Evan Dempsey
Artist: Danilo Guida & Smilton Klaassen
Publisher: 315
Reviewer: Rob Patey (aka Optimous Douche – Ain’t It Cool News)

Projects like DEEP DIVE DAREDEVILS baffle me. I receive sub-par material all week in my inbox for review consideration on Ain’t It Cool. First there’s the modicum of Drek from the big houses charging $2.99 to $8.99 for the price of anemic admission. Then there are the self-published indies that are even drekier, yet believe their MSRP should be on par for bad story and even worse execution. Then there’s DEEP DIVE DAREDEVILS, a pulpy sci-fi adventure with amazing art and an even better story that will give you 50 pages of awesome fun completely and utterly pro bono.

This industry baffles me more and more each day. Our litigious society of idea stealing forces guys like this to fester in web obscurity until they can be anointed with an initial sit down. It’s a fucking tragedy, because DEEP DIVE DAREDEVILS should be a published work. For now though, I guess we all can simply keep stealing from the DDD team until they can set-up a money train to get compensated for their talented hard work.

CapReveal-FINAL_originalThere’s more pulp in these pages than Florida and California combined. From writing to art, DEEP DIVE DAREDEVILS embodies the excitement of the serial high-action era of the 30’s, while using modern sensibilities to correct the hokeyness of the time period. The Captain, whose prosthetic is the submarine stage of adventure; his 10 year old first mate and his loyal 3 legged one eyed dog; and Doctor McCarver the scientist who makes all this happen are ripped straight out of a bygone era.

Before I enjoyed the plot though, I put DEEP DIVE DAREDEVILS through my Web comic checklist. Yes, I’m a prick comic reviewer, but I’m an even bigger prick when it comes to digital presence. As a 15 year digital marketer for billion dollar brands, I quake with anger at the laziness of what some call Web comics (and sites). 3 .jpg files does not a web comic make. Likewise, no idea is so grand and great that you can sidestep Web best practices for UX & UI. Before I will even read a story, in 3 seconds, the same amount of time anyone will give to your site, I want three questions answered:

  • Did you build an intuitive website, can I find your content and purpose easily?
  • Did you optimize reading of the comic for the web, across browsers and platform OS?
  • Is there a dedication to your serial, do you have an  actual comic or merely the smattering of an idea?

I like to see a dedication to Search Engine Optimization as well, but I let this slide because I’m not Gartner. I’m not judging your business prowess. OK, I judge, but I don’t shave off points.

DEEP DIVE DAREDEVILS meets all of my criteria.

From the home page you can start from the beginning, pick one of the two adventures, or go page by page. Nice work gents.

Whale_printFINAL_originalReading is an ease and a joy for the two adventures. Most “Web” comics are a migraine inducing experience of clustfuckery. Everything is a mess and your fingers will surely cramp from CTRL – scrolling in and out to see the words then see the art, then again to see the words then back out to see the art. It’s infuriating and makes me abandon the page quicker than a teenage mom dumping off a crack baby.

Finally, commitment. You can kill an easy hour on DEEP DIVE DAREDEVILS simply imbibing the gloriously painted art, the weirdly engaging story and fun dialog. You can kill even more time if you love the comic creation process because the 50 + pages come with their own blog with writer and artist insights.

Again, choose whichever of the two adventures you please because it as easy as visiting the home page, but IO recommend starting with the already completed 40 page + Secret of the Beaufort Sea. Our three protagonist I mentioned earlier unfold a mystery 100 years old that involves tiem travel, mysticism, steampunk science and it all takes place in the gorgeously rendered Arctic Circle, circa a few years before Hitler made the world a very very bad place.

The currently on-going second adventure didn’t engage me as much. I was partial to the art in the first story and it kicked up the excitement a lot clicker. Don’t get me wrong, I know drydocking and shore leave is necessary for submarines and stories alike, but I was so floored by the first tale the second does seem tepid by comparison. And Klaassen isn’t a bad artist, he’s just far more cartoony compared to Guida’s amazing reality in the first story.

It’s pulp, it’s free, and it’s awesome. There isn’t one reason not to take a ride with the DEEP DIVE DAREDEVILS.