Monday, June 20, 2011

Daytripper by Gabriel Ba and Fabio Moon

Ba and Moon are twin brothers from Sao Paulo, Brazil who have created some wonderfully introspective graphic novels. De:Tales, from 2006, is one of my all time favorite graphic novels and their latest is Daytripper.

Daytripper follows the life of obituary writer Bras de Oliva Domingos. Each chapter is a day in another year of Bras' life and how he might die. At the death of each age (33, 21, 11, etc.) a portion his obituary is included.

Bras, nicknamed "little miracle" by his mother due to circumstances surrounding his birth, finds himself working at a newspaper when he really wants to become a novelist like his father. It takes a tragedy at the local airport and the fear that something has happened to his best friend Jorge for Bras to finally stretch himself as a writer. Bras is shown making mistakes, sharing triumphs with his family and experiencing many quiet, yet poignant and important moments.

The great supporting characters are as important as Bras and largely define his life. His famous author father is somewhat aloof and flawed but quite wise. At 28, when Bras' relationship with his girlfriend, Olinda, is falling apart, he asks his father about love and important moments in life. His father answers with the story of meeting Bras' mother and says,

Life is made of these moments, son. Relationships are based on such moments, such choices, such actions...and that's the one moment I will carry with me after all others fade -- The one which makes all others worthwhile. You should look for such moments in life, son. Moments you'll never forget.

Daytripper is an incredibly ambitious piece of work chronicling the life of someone working through what it means to be a man, a son, a husband, a father and a friend. I found myself becoming disappointed at the end of each chapter as Bras dies, even when I knew it was coming. Daytripper is an ultimately hopeful, compelling look at life with the interesting country of Brazil as its backdrop.

Fans of graphic novels such as Blankets by Craig Thompson (who wrote and drew the introduction to Daytripper), Cairo by G. Willow Wilson and the Flight anthology (especially #4 which includes Fabio Moon's story Cortina) will enjoy Daytripper or anything else by the twins.

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