Thursday, February 2, 2012

Daytripper by Fabio Moon and Gabriel Ba

How would people remember you if you died at a particular point in your life?  In your 20s?  In your 40s?  As a child?  In this unique graphic novel, we see the obituaries of a man named Bras as they would be if he died at different points in his life.

Wow.  This was pretty incredible.  What a concept.  Daytripper won the Eisner Award for Best Limited Series in 2011.  I think it was well deserved.  You really have to read it.  It's hard to explain.

Through the entire graphic novel, we piece together Bras' life from when he was a small child to an old man, if he should live that long.  The story does not go in chronological order.  The first obituary is when he's 32, then it jumps back to 21, then goes forward to 28 and so on, all over the place.  It's like a whole bunch of little separate stories about some guy, and at the end of each story the guy dies.  But it you piece them all together (minus the dying) you have the story of a single persons' life.

At the end of each story, when Bras dies, there's an obituary.  When he dies as a child, it's about how he wasn't in the world long enough.  When he dies in his 30s, his obituary is about how he was the son of a great writer.  When he dies later in his life, it's about his family he's leaving behind, or his own writing.  It was incredibly poignant seeing his life summarized in just a few sentences, and how different those sentences were depending on when he died.

The last story in the book is when Bras is an old man.  Was that done so we'd be left thinking he didn't really die those other times?  That he got have all his life experiences and die when he's old and satisfied?  Or was it just another story in the book of possibilities.  I'm not sure which it was suppose to be, but I'd like to think that that's what really happened, not the other, often violent or sad deaths that could have happened at earlier points in his life.

The art worked perfectly with the story.  The color was subdued, using a lot of grays and browns and maroons.  For most of the story, the world doesn't really seem like a great place, and the color reflects it.  In the final story, I noticed there was a lot more yellow than in any of the others.

Daytripper was really something.  Check it out.

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