We go through life looking for that elusive sense of control – wake up at 8:00 AM, clock in at 9:00 AM, clock out at 5:00 PM, bed by 11:00 PM – rinse and repeat. A routine creates that illusion of control.
'Daytripper' is a comic book by twin brothers Fábio Moon and Gabriel Bá that throws a wrench in our dazed trudge through life to remind us that it is full of unforeseen turns and twists that can either lead us to a new beginning or bring us to an untimely end.
Divided up into 10 issues, Daytripper centres on Brás de Oliva Domingos, the son of a world-famous writer. Each issue can be read as a stand-alone comic book. But when read together it is an experience that will leave you with goosebumps, as Moon and Bá create vivid and dreamlike snapshots of Brás's life.
The brothers give readers glimpses of the stillness that pervades a quiet moment or draw you into deep introspection about the uncertainties that make up life. It asks you to gently accept that life and death are not in our control, but how we choose to live it and shape it is within our grasp.
As an obituary writer, Brás feels that he is wasting his potential when he could be writing masterpieces with larger-than-life plots, instead he writes about lives that have ended. But Jorge, Brás's best friend, reminds him that death is a part of life.
In Daytripper, death plays an important part. Every day in Brás' life is like turning a page in a book. Each one lays bare the people and things that have shaped him into the man he is today: his mother and father, his child and best friend, his first love and the one that got away.
Also, like all good stories, each day has a surprise twist that he will not see coming. The story bounces around in time, showing a day or two from Brás's life at various ages: 32, 11, 28, and 76.
What makes Daytripper so compelling demands a spoiler, but rest assured it is not a spoiler that gives away the core of this stunningly penned comic book. Here goes: Brás dies, again and again, in every issue.
Every chapter concludes with Brás' obituary, but as you put together the seemingly haphazard vignettes, a pattern starts to emerge. The days in Brás's life are to a certain extent influenced by the people or events introduced in prior chapters.
Each chapter focuses on a pivotal moment or person in Brás' life, such as his first love, best friend, parents, or childbirth. And Brás faces a significant life twist that he is unprepared for each day.
Moon and Bá ask a simple yet poignant question - on the day that life begins, would we even notice? If we decided for a day to look at life as a compilation of profound moments interjected with moments that blur together – how would we arrive in our own life then?
Daytripper leaves readers with a need to call your best friend who lives in another continent and tell them how much you miss them, or hold your ageing parents in the warmest embrace and let the silence say it all. Death is an inevitable part of life, and Fábio Moon and Gabriel Bá explore these ideas in a spectacular and beautiful graphic novel.
From February to November 2010, Daytripper was published as a monthly comic, and the collection was released as a trade paperback in February 2011.
Fábio Moon and Gabriel Bá, Eisner Award winners, deliver a wonderful, intriguing, and emotional story about life itself in Daytripper, a hauntingly lyrical voyage that leverages the little moments to confront the important questions.
It's a fantastic piece of storytelling that can stand up to any literary piece you have read.