This review is long overdue, but I had trouble finding the words to describe the experience of reading Daytripper, a comic book by twin brothers Fábio Moon and Gabriel Bá. Daytripper originally ran as a monthly comic from February through November last year, and the collection was published as a trade paperback in February this year. When I argued that comics are serious literature, Daytripper was exactly the sort of book I wanted to see — if you know anyone who still isn’t convinced that comics can be great literature, here’s some more ammunition for you. It’s been nominated for Best Limited Series Eisner Award this year and is well deserving of the honor.
Just one note here since I’ll have some spoilers later: the book, while beautifully written and illustrated, is not for kids. The book does include a brief sex scene, some swearing, and a few violent scenes as well. I’d recommend it for adults and maybe mature teenagers (though you should probably preview it first before handing it off to your teen).
The story is about Brás de Oliva Domingos, the son of a world-famous writer. Brás writes obituaries, concise summaries of lives that have ended. He laments that while he wants to become a novelist, writing about life, he spends his days thinking and writing about death instead. But, as his friend Jorge points out, death is a part of life.
In fact, death is a key theme of Daytripper, and Moon and Bá weave a fascinating tale about Brás, told in short snapshots throughout his life. The story jumps around, each depicting a day or so at different times: age 32, age 11, age 28, age 76. What makes Daytripper really interesting requires a bit of a spoiler, though it’s something that you’ll likely see if you read anything about the book at all. Click ahead if you don’t mind having some secrets revealed; otherwise, take my word for it that Daytripper is a tremendous piece of storytelling that holds its own against any literary fiction you’ve been reading.