Daytripper: Fábio Moon & Gabriel Bá’s Magical Life

Aspiring writer Brás de Oliva Domingos wants to be a novelist like his famous father. In the meantime, he works as an obituary writer, feeling as though his own life has yet to begin. Each issue is a chapter in Brás’s life, a year that might be a turning point. Death hangs over the story, as each installment ends in a death and an obituary. The deaths serve as a series of “what if?” questions. What if he had died at age 11, when he had his first kiss? Or when he met his first love, or later when he met the love of his life? Or just before the birth of his son, or during his first book tour when he finally found his voice as a writer?

Much as this may make the series sound like a downer, it’s not, because Daytripper is ultimately a story about life. All these potential endings serve as a reminder that life is sweet, and should be enjoyed every day, because you never know when it will end. Moon and Bá take delight in the details: Brazilian city life, family interaction, and especially the animals (Brás’s dog Dante is so expressive he’s almost one of the cast). In their hands everyday life appears magical, each friendship a gift. Seldom has marriage been portrayed so tellingly; Brás and his wife Ana delight and irritate one another in equal measure, and the relationship deepens as they grow into old age together. Chapter Eight is especially heartbreaking. Ana becomes increasingly irritated by all of the household tasks she must take on while Brás is away, and she keeps missing his calls. Finally a call does get through, but it’s the hospital…

The structure of the story changes a bit at the end. The ninth chapter, “Dream,” does not end with an obituary. It makes the theme of following your dreams explicit, and ties together events from all of the other chapters, from the whole of Brás’s life. Other chapters used a bit of magical realism, but this time dream logic is central to the narrative. The final chapter begins at the beginning of Brás’s life, and ends at…the end? The final word is not an obituary, but a letter to Brás from his father, left for him many years earlier upon the birth of his first child. It was intended to guide Brás into parenthood, but serves instead as comfort for another transition. A fitting ending for this beautiful, heartfelt story about life; a circle closed.

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About marksullivan5

Librarian, Jazz musician, comic book fan
This entry was posted in miniseries, Vertigo comics and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

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