Monday, January 18, 2010

Read it: Daytripper

There’s something subtly beautiful about Daytripper, in terms of both its story and its art.

Twins Fabio Moon and Gabriel Ba have managed to surprise me with this offering, creating the first book in a long time to pull an actual “wow” from my lips after turning the final page. Like a carefully planned attack, the book loads its punch through the first twenty-one, seemingly casual pages, and then goes for the knockout with a final moment you won’t soon forget.

Daytripper demanded a second read from me and, this time through, I saw how I was being expertly groomed for the moments, and I’m assuming story, to come.

So what the hell is this book about, anyway? In truth, it’s something of a study in subtlety. The story follows Bras de Olivia Domingos, a Brazilian obituary reporter/aspiring novelist who is about to go on a journey to discover what matters most in life.

For a comic, not a lot of “action” actually occurs in the first installment of this ten-part series. This is not to say nothing happens. Quite the contrary. Everything happens. But far be it for me to ruin such surprises.

The first issue of Daytripper sets the stage for the series, introducing us to Bras and the characters that will no doubt be vastly important in the coming issues. We follow Bras on what appears to be an average day, slowly learning the ins and outs of his humble existence through expert storytelling and pacing.

He walks his dog. He gets coffee with a friend. He talks on the phone to both his fiancé and his mother. Not the stereotypical crack-and-sizzle-type stuff these funny books usually offer, but it’s all oddly entertaining.

Bras is the son of a famous author with dreams of one day becoming an accomplished writer himself. He spends his days writing obituaries for the local paper, dedicating his own life to telling the life stories of others.

While Bras may not be as well known as the artists, athletes and politicians he writes about, something tells me his story, and all the people and events that make it up, will be every bit as important.

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