Thursday, December 10, 2009

Review: Moon and Bá map the moments leading to a life in Daytripper

Daytripper is, quite simply, unlike anything else out there.

Sure, there are plenty of heartfelt, poignant and well-done stories on the shelves, but I can't think of any that match the unique sense of time and place seemingly grown so organically by brothers Gabriel Bá and Fábio Moon. In the first issue of a 10-issue limited series, Daytripper's Sáo Paulo, Brazil is at once new and familiar, a feeling which only gets stronger when the reader meets Brás, the drifting center of a delicate story that still evokes the scrape of concrete and the hum of power lines overhead.

Brás is an newspaper obituary writer, a job that pales when compared to the literary success of his father, an author considered a national treasure in Brazil. Making his way, alone and lonely through a day that is special for his father and which should have been special for himself, Brás wrestles with feelings of disappointment and the fact that those feelings come as no surprise. Instead the reader gets the sense these feelings are an ever-present ache, not an unexpected stab of pain, quietly endured and masochistically nurtured and prodded.

Still, Brás isn't unhappy and he isn't unloved, which makes the sudden and violent turn the story takes all the more tragic, giving readers a powerful and intriguing plot with a beginning disguised as an ending. Coupled with beautifully rendered artwork — as well as a gorgeous palette of color from Dave Stewart evoking both time of day and Brás' emotional state — Daytripper is equal parts heart and heartbreak

I've been a fan of Moon and Bá for a while now, an opinion that was cemented with their excellent De: Tales: Stories from Urban Brazil. But, De: Tales did have a sometimes tiresome tendency to fall into the realm of magical realism, and I'm hoping Daytripper avoids that. The story of Brás, and the days that come together to make up a life, have enough magic on its own.

Highly, highly recommended.

Read a preview of Daytripper #1 here.

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