When you look back on your life, what moments stick out the most to you?
Maybe it was a conversation that you had during a random encounter? A special moment shared with someone you care about deeply? It could’ve even been a fond childhood memory with your family and friends. The summation of our lives revolve around these different situations that may not seem like that much at the time, but compound on one another to be truly important as we look back.
Thoughts like this and more kept me coming back to this wonderful graphic novel titled Daytripper by Fabio Moon and Gabriel Ba’.
At around 250 pages, it’s not a long read, the story being brilliantly told more so through the gorgeous artwork of the twin brothers Fabio and Gabriel and the text guiding it. The overarching premise leads with a writer named Bras’ de Olivia Domingos, who writes obituaries for a local paper in Brazil. The son of a well renown writer, he too wishes to make his mark, spending his free time on his own book hoping to establish a career as a novelist. The irony never escapes him that his day job includes capturing the end of stranger’s lives in a succinct obituary while his own story is just beginning.
Attending a gala celebrating the career and life of his father, a man whom even as an adult he views as someone larger than life, the story takes a turn I quite frankly didn’t expect. So much so that I had to reread that chapter twice to ensure that I hadn’t missed a subtle hint at the direction it took. I honestly don’t want to divulge too much further into the narrative because I REALLY want people to experience this book for themselves.
When I talk about media in my life that I gain inspiration from, this came to mind because of the masterful way the story and art combine to push forth such an endearing personal narrative.
It’s one thing to write exactly what’s going on in a particular scene (Something that I still try to tone down on. I can be a bit too verbose). It’s another to literally express it simply through what the reader sees on the page. In recalling fond memories, the colors are bright and vibrant, an almost warm and inviting feeling literally dripping from the panels on each page.
The violent moments brought the opposite. The colors were dark and much more muted, still dynamic in a way that spoke to the unstable anger that bubbled beneath the surface with certain characters in their actions. Arguments felt real, the conversations striking visceral and personal chords within me feeling like an unwelcome third party witnessing something that I shouldn’t. I felt uncomfortable at times, like I would if I was really engaged in that dialogue. Although the tone shifts many times, I never felt like it was unwarranted. After all, life can change very quickly for a myriad of different reasons. Why would I expect any different?
Bras is a human being, faithfully actuated on the page. Like any regular person he has his flaws and his saving graces. In some ways, he’s the reluctant protagonist that’s being pulled toward a destiny that he doesn’t want. In others, you question his decision-making. Due to the story that’s told over many years, your opinion of him will deviate in different directions. But by the end I found myself rooting for him, seeing a bit of myself in his personal search for identity.
Daytripper is a wonderful read for those firmly entrenched in their love of graphic novels as well as being a worthwhile introduction for those who’ve never gotten their metaphorical feet wet in the medium; and while I remain vague on plot details, it’s only because everyone deserves a chance to experience the same journey that I went on.
You will shed a tear, you will smile, you will cringe at the familiarity, but most importantly, you will understand.