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> Daytripper by Fabio Moon & Gabriel Ba
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, Red Queen
(last edited Sep 12, 2012 08:37PM)
Sep 12, 2012 07:23PM
Gabriel Ba's and Fabio Moon's
attempts to translate those ambiguous, silent moments within the chaos of life. This graphic novel narrates the life of Bras de Oliva Domingos, an absent father and aspiring writer whose career is overshadowed by his father's, who is also a famous writer. Instead of being told in chronological order, each of the ten chapters recounts significant moments in Bras' life by selected age. In issue one, he's 32. Issue two, he's 21. Issue three, he's 28 and so forth. For a book that's supposed to be inspirational and thought-provoking, I thought it was poorly written and the concept lacked any type of innovation. There were too many pauses… and ellipses… throughout scenes that were simply… not that touching in any shape… or form.
Mantras such as "living each day like it is your last" and "death is inevitable" are recurring themes in this series. You see these archetypal themes all the time in movies and literature, and Ba/Moon doesn't lay them out in any way that I consider original nor profound. If anything, Ba/Moon comes off repetitive and I quickly got bored by the third issue. I think Daytripper was meant to dig deep into our insecurities of how we are living our lives and who we are as a friend, a father, a grandparent. For me, it barely scratched the surface, and I was left thinking it was superficially executed. Another recurring pattern is that Bras dies at the end of every chapter which becomes a distraction. Having no solid script to fall back on, I started to look forward to how Bras will die in this issue and the next and the next. It becomes predictable, and I don't know about you, but I don't like my stories predictable.
Besides his best friend Jorge, his son Miguel, and Bras himself, I found the rest of the characters one-dimensional. I find it hard to feel sympathy for his wife Ana, and it seems like the women are present only to complete the family portrait. The only chapter I find remotely interesting is #7 when Miguel travels halfway across Brazil to look for Jorge who's been gone for years. I also empathize with 6-year-old Miguel who has to cope with his father's absence while he's frequently abroad promoting his book.
The only thing that I can take away from Daytripper is the stunning artwork and watercolor. Dave Stewart does a breathtaking job at capturing the cultural essence of Sao Paulo with vibrant hues. It feels like the mood of each panel was carefully matched with precise colors. Each character looks distinct, and I was more engaged by the art then I was with the storyline by a long shot. It's so unfortunate that the content couldn't meet the visual.
All in all, I wouldn't recommend Daytripper as a good read to a friend. It's more something you flip through on a long Sunday afternoon when you're bored and have nothing to do. I'm puzzled as to why it has so many raving reviews, and even won a few awards (Eisner being one). I've read that it made people cry and introduced others to graphic novels. I question if this is some kind of domino effect, because the dialogue of this book alone had me cringing at times (>_<).
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