Daily Graphic Novel Recommendation 50

Daytripper

by Gabriel Bá and Fábio Moon
Genre notes: death, life, the meaning of life
256 pages
ISBN: 1401229697 (Amazon)

Brás is occupied as the writer of obituaries and it is through this peculiar vantage that his own story unfolds. It is established early on that death is a part of life—perhaps largely so that we might get that out of the way and begin exploring what that precipitates in a meaningful way. Through the book’s constant return to the obituary, we are able to gradually piece together a philosophy of living, a valuation of lifespans. Moon and Bá present a carefully constructed yet simple meditation on what it means to be us and how life, death, and society conspire to bring meaning to the purposes we may invent for ourselves.

In trying to pin down the crowning achievement among all Daytripper‘s perfections, I find myself struggling. There are so many wonderful things about this work that to attempt to elevate one above the others seems juvenile, a task for children who aren’t really concerned with absorbing the book for what it is. So then, I guess, let’s speak broadly.

First, the art that fills and wraps the book is just wonderful. Through the pen and the brush, Fabio Moon crafts a world that is wholly believable, one that holds as much life as the characters that inhabit it. The set designs are so varied and detailed and appropriate that it becomes easy for the reader to just pass by never considering the time and thought that went into planning these breathing environments. I would recommend all readers reserve an hour after finishing the book to just flip through the pages and take in the world of Daytripper without the press of narrative or dialogue or exposition or monologue hurrying attention on to the question of What Comes Next.

The degree of life invested in these characters and—specifically—into our protagonist is something special when one considers that we are only given ten short chapters with which to acquaint ourselves with those who comprise the world through which our protagonist explores his own life, purpose, and meaning. Well before the final page, he feels like a character fully revealed—as if, were the creators to free him from the shackles of the page, an attentive reader might be able to predict the course of his life. I feel privileged to have been allowed to take part in his life while he discovers its directions, purpose, and passions.

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Good Ok Bad features reviews of comics, graphic novels, manga, et cetera using a rare and auspicious three-star rating system. Point systems are notoriously fiddly, so here it's been pared down to three simple possibilities:

3 Stars = Good
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