Content advisory: scattered F-bombs, some violence, and innuendo. (if you are a long time reader of this blog, you should be used to that.)
Moon, F., Bá, G. and Bá, G. (2011). Daytripper. Vertigo (DC Comics).
From the publisher, “What are the most important days of your life?
Meet Brás de Oliva Domingos. The miracle child of a world-famous Brazilian writer, Brás spends his days penning other people’s obituaries and his nights dreaming of becoming a successful author himself—writing the end of other people’s stories, while his own has barely begun.
But on the day that life begins, would he even notice? Does it start at 21 when he meets the girl of his dreams? Or at 11, when he has his first kiss? Is it later in his life when his first son is born? Or earlier when he might have found his voice as a writer?
Each day in Brás’s life is like a page from a book. Each one reveals the people and things who have made him who he is: his mother and father, his child and his best friend, his first love and the love of his life. And like all great stories, each day has a twist he’ll never see coming…
In Daytripper, the Eisner Award-winning twin brothers Fábio Moon and Gabriel Bá tell a magical, mysterious and moving story about life itself—a hauntingly lyrical journey that uses the quiet moments to ask the big questions.”
Spoiler alert. Seriously, we can’t talk about this without some spoilers.
What if you thought about life as just a series of profound moments interspersed with filler? How would you live your life then? Would you look for the moments? Or would you wait for those moments to happen to you? Death is very much a part of life, and you have to die, so you know that you lived. The authors, Fábio Moon, and Gabriel Bá, explore these ideas in the form of a spectacular and beautiful graphic novel.
This is one of the most profound and well-written comics I have read in years, maybe my whole life. Cliche I know, but so right. The authors took each of these great moments that the main character, bras, experiences and turns the end of each chapter into a crossroads. Bras dies at the end of each chapter (each moment), but in the next section, he lived. So he dies and lives in each subsequent episode. As a reader, you know what is coming at the end of every chapter, but you want to know what is going to happen. How is Bras going to handle this moment? I know it is a seems a little confusing, but when you are amidst Bras life, it is anything but.
The storytelling is very similar to the type of storytelling in Saga by Brian Vaughn. Again, another outstanding piece of writing. It is concise, funny, poignant and very adult. It is full of excellent writing, “It doesn’t matter where you’re from – or how you feel… There’s always peace in a strong cup of coffee.” That fit into the story, it doesn’t seem to be shoehorned in for effect. It is writing that speaks to the human condition, across all boundaries, sexes, and nationalities. We all seek out those moments that make life worth any sort of struggle. This all could have been a giant cliched crap. A self-help book full of pithy one-liners to put on a wood sign in your home. But, this book is anything but that. It is just entirely moving and beautifully done.
The art floats around the remarkable story like a gossamer dressing gown. It never upstages the story but adds another level to the work. Done in watercolors and pen and ink, it reads much like a fuzzy memory. The combination is powerful.
Why the hell did I wait this long to read this? Daytripper is a must read. Not only does, stand tall among its peers in graphic novels. It absolutely holds its own in fiction in general.
It is breathtaking, moving and beautiful…
#43 on CBH – Best Comics of all Time