daytripper — Moon/Bá — Vertigo Comics

This 10-issue series, which has just been collected and issued in trade paperback, makes up one of the most imaginative, and ultimately moving, books I’ve read yet this year. The Brazilian twin bothers Fábio Moon and Gabriel Bá have delivered a truly heartfelt story that transcends the comic book genre, while taking advantage of the graphic format to capture the wonder of the human experience in line and masterful use of color.

daytripper is the story of Brás de Oliva Domingoes who, when we meet him, is an obit writer for the São Paulo Journal. He toils at the daily, smokes, and works on his novel—struggling under the shadow of his father, a famous author. When he stops in at a neighborhood bar, on his way to his dad’s speaking engagement, he blunders into a robbery and, as the brothers put it, “Just like Shakespeare, Brás died on his birthday. He was 32 years old.”

That’s when things get interesting. daytripper is all about false starts (and stops), might-have-beens, the roads taken and not taken. The ensuing chapters that flesh out the life of Brás jump forward and backward in time, each illuminating a day that is no less wonderful for all its tragedy.

There is a feeling of destiny and a sense of magical realism that pervades the story and leads the reader to ask, “Is he dreaming? Am I dreaming?” The line between real and unreal is blurred, and in the end doesn’t matter. It’s all real. It’s all good.

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