Ah, the collected TPB of Daytripper by twin brothers and artists Fábio Moon and Gabriel Bá. Released 2nd Feb 2011 and published by Vertigo, Daytripper flew a little under my radar and after missing out on the first issue I thought I’d wait for the trade. Those unfamiliar with the creators’ names might be more familiar with Fábio Moon’s wonderfully deft lines with Matt Fraction on Casanova: Gula and Gabriel Bá most impressive work in The Umbrella Academy with My Chemical Romance frontman Gerard Way. This marks another collaboration between the Eisner winning talented twins, after the autobiographical De:Tales, Ursula and the collaboration with Becky Cloonan and Visilis Lolos, Pixu: The Mark of Evil. This they they return as a pair again, save the colouring by multi-Eisner award winning Dave Stewart.
Drawn almost entirely by Fábio Moon (but I believe they shared the writing duties), Daytripper, at it’s core, is all about death. Death is never an easy topic to handle, but here they try to make sense of death. Daytripper revolves around the life (and deaths) of Brás de Oliva Domingos – the son of one of Brazil’s most celebrated writers. We first get to know Brás making a living by writing the obituaries for the papers – from then the story then jumps back and forth throughout Brás’ life, each issue explaning how Brás’ life is with surrounded by death. (Don’t believe the reports that Brás dies every issue – he doesn’t.) If I were to nitpick the story, I’d say that one or 2 of the deaths seem almost forced – but when placed in juxtaposition to the others, one realises that that is how death is, hardly predictable, and always sudden. More than once my breath was taken away by the shock of the death, and another time the inevitability of it hung around the pages while I was forced to read on, this death I could not understand at all.
Daytripper is unterminably, heart wrenchingly sad, but that is what makes it beautiful. I teared up quite a few times while reading, but never is Brás’ life actually tragic or built to milk your tears. His life just… is. He exists, and death surrounds his life. If art is meant to make you think, Daytripper is art that succeeds in spades as you contemplate each and every frame, and linger on each word. There is a poetry in Fábio Moon’s pencils, and with Dave Stewart’s colours always important but never obstrusive, each frame says just enough each time. When we’re finally introduced to Gabriel Bá’s pencils in the dream issue (unmistakable, really) it all makes perfect sense. I would have loved to see more of Bá’s pencils, but honestly as it is, Daytripper is inpeccably illustrated.
Perfect for reading in a lonely cafe while the rain hammers away outside – Daytripper is a work of perfection. Fábio Moon and Gabriel Bá have totally outdone themselves this time, and I look forward to what they have next up their sleeves. The trade comes complete with a drawn foreward by Craig Thompson (Blankets) – the icing on the cake. Even now, hours after reading Daytripper, it still hangs over me – and I hope I did it some justice.