Book Review : “Daytripper” by Fábio Moon + Gabriel Bá

What are the most important days of your life?

That is the pressing question posed upon the luminous gem of a graphic novel entitled, “Daytripper“—a mesmerizing tour-de-force of storytelling and visuals brilliantly conceived by the Brazilian wonder twins, Fábio Moon and Gabriel Bá.

Daytripper 01

Originally done as a ten-part comic book limited serial, “Daytripper” has been wisely collected into a single cohesive volume by Vertigo Comics; presenting the reader with a continuous look at the unparalleled ingenuity of Moon and Bá, and to the limitless possibilities that the twin brothers can impart with future works in the world of graphic novels.

Daytripper 02

At once realistic and surreal, “Daytripper” tells the story of Brás de Oliva Domingos, an obituary writer for a local Brazilian newspaper, and the fascinating perspectives the reader sees of his life and deaths. Yes, you’ve read that right: deaths. Plural, not singular. And there’s more twists to be had than the protagonist’s multiple farewells to life. Moon and Bá have cleverly employed the use of magical realism in that the reader is taken back and forth through time, seeing their stalwart lead character live and die at different stages of his life.

Daytripper 05

From experiencing his first kiss at age 11, discovering the spectacular failure of a first relationship at age 28, the horrific conclusion of an estranged friendship at age 38, to the melancholic moments of retirement with his one true love at age 76—each and every gorgeously rendered panel from start to finish is an unflinching and seamless glimpse into a Brazil as we’ve never seen it before. That, and how Moon and Bá paints a deeply profound and moving portrait of the fragility of human life, the significance of facing death, the importance of sustaining close human relationships, and reflecting on the consequences of our actions.

Daytripper 06

It is hard for anyone not to be taken with the character of Brás, for he serves as a vessel of what it would be like for the reader if such moments could happen to him or her. His deaths at random points of his life from childhood to old age come across as initially morbid, but gradually sinks in to your mind and soul as emotionally gripping. Possibly everything you could ever want in a good story is here: the feelings of intense joy to sadness that your emotions will certainly be taken for a wild rollercoaster ride upon turning the pages of this astonishing piece of work.

Daytripper 07

This is one of those rare and true literary works that resonates with you long after you have put it down. Much like its parallel predecessor, “The Little Prince” by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, “Daytripper” flows through your hands like water; the overall prose surprisingly subtle but impressively elevated by the breathtaking artwork that it is no surprise Moon and Bá won an Eisner Award (the comic book equivalent to an Academy Award) for what is perhaps their seminal work to date.

Awash in excellence, and a formidable triumph of form, content, and artistic integrity—”Daytripper” is a highly engaging work of art done in cinematic breadths but with a deceptively simple message at its very core.

So what are the most important days of your life?

Read this book and the answers to that question might just very well surprise you…

Daytripper 03

Choice excerpt from the gorgeous pages of “Daytripper“.

Dear Son,

You are holding this letter now because this is the most important day of your life.

You’re about to have your first child.

That means the life you’ve built with such effort, that you’ve conquered, that you’ve earned, has finally reached the point where it no longer belongs to you.

This baby is the new master of your life.

He is the sole reason for your existence.

You’ll surrender your life to him, give him your heart and soul because you want him to be strong, to be brave enough to make all his decisions without you.

So when he finally grows older, he won’t need you.

That’s because you know one day, you won’t be there for him anymore. Only when you accept that one day you’ll die can you let go and make the best out of life.

And that’s the big secret. That’s the miracle.

Your life is out of your hands now, just like mine has been since the day you were born.

I’m writing this letter to congratulate you, and admit that you don’t need me anymore…

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