Daytripper

<< WARNING: It is pretty much impossible to discuss this book without revealing some pretty important spoilery plot points. You have been warned. >>

I have two daughters who are 8 and 5. “Daddy, I need you” is a phrase heard quite a bit in my house. However, it is usually not because they are requesting me to impart some sage advice or life lesson. It is usually due to much more mundane needs (reaching something on a high shelf, fixing the rear-view mirror on Barbie’s pink VW Bug). “Won’t it be nice when they can finally do this for themselves,” I mutter. When they are self-reliant enough to successfully address all of their problems and worries? When they won’t need me anymore?

Daytripper is an amazing ten-issue collected trade paperback by Brazilian twins Fabio Moon and Gabriel Ba. Each issue follows Bras de Oliva Domingos through a moment in a particular year of his life, and then at the end of each issue, kills him.

Its pretty jarring the first time it happens. Issue #1 introduces Bras in his 32nd year. Bras is the son of a famous Brazilian writer, and has his own writing aspirations while holding a job writing obituaries for the paper. He is on the way to an award ceremony held in honor of his father when he stops in for a drink at a pub. There, he is gunned down by the desperate nephew of the bar owner.

Just like that, Moon and Ba kill the main character of their story in the first issue. But in Issue #2, Bras is back, but we have traveled back in time to his 21st year as he is traveling Brazil with his friend Jorge. End of Issue #2, Bras drowns.

You get the idea. Each issue jumping around to a year in Bras life, and killing him at the end. While the first few times it is jarring, you really aren’t invested in the character so it doesn’t hurt as much. However, as the book goes on, while the reader knows what is coming, it begins to hurt much more when it happens.

It all builds to a crescendo in the final issue as both Bras (in his 76th year) and the reader, accept his own death.

This book is one of my favorite stories I’ve ever read. It has important things to say about life, death, love ? all of the good stuff. In addition to the incredible story there is the gorgeous art. You may remember Gabrielle Ba’s previous work on projects like The Umbrella Academy. Both the line work and the coloring here are fantastic and contribute to the overall outstanding package.

If you can’t tell, I think this is a pretty special book. Written by a pretty special pair of brothers. About all of the ordinary moments in our lives that make us special.

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At the end of issue #10, Bras is reading a letter from his father:

“Only when you accept that one day you will die can you let go ? and make the best out of life. And that is the secret. 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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