Pick of the Week

Pick of the Week – 12.09.2009 – Daytripper #1

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Avg Rating: 4.7
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Size: pages
Price: 2.99

There is nothing quite as satisfying in comics as the discovery of something new that is not only great, but totally unlike anything else you are reading. Perhaps that’s why so many number one issues are selected as the Pick of the Week. When you discover something new that you really connect with, the promise of what the future may hold is enticing.

Equally exciting is when you discover that a comic book creator is equally as talented in one area as they are in another. Twin brothers Gabriel Ba and Fabio Moon are well known and highly regarded artists in the industry. And while they have written comics in the past, they are not known for it, and I have certainly never read any of them. When I heard that they had a new ten issue mini-series coming out of DC Comics’s Vertigo line called Daytripper, I was intrigued enough to read the first issue of something I would normally wait for in collected edition.

Other than the fact that it was being written and drawn by Gabriel Ba and Fabio Moon, I didn’t know anything about Daytripper before I read it. I did no research. I made no phone calls. I sent no e-mails. Sometimes it’s more exciting that way.

Once I began reading what I found was the story of one day in the life of a man told with such sparse elegance and beauty that I was immediately enchanted — by the main character, by the setting, and by the art and the writing. In Daytripper #1 we meet Bras de Olivia Domingos on his 32nd birthday. He is a obituary writer for the Sao Paulo Journal but he’d really much rather be a novelist, if only he could find the time and the inspiration to actually work on his book. This sounds like half of the people I know, but most of those people don’t also have a famous writer for a father who is being honored for his forty year writing career at a big time gala event being held on Bras’s birthday.

Daytripper #1 is very contemplative. Bras spends much of the issue pondering his life as he makes his way through the series of disappoints that make up his day. In the morning he can’t find the will to write. A phone call from his mother is all about his father’s gala and doesn’t even mention his birthday. He finds no inspiration at work. His best friend won’t commiserate they way he wants to. His girlfriend's flight was delayed and she won’t make it home in time to keep him company at the gala. Oh, and he’s out of cigarettes. It doesn’t sound like much of a birthday, and it isn’t. Bras is very unsatisfied with his life the way that, again, many people I know who are in their early 30s are. There are levels of Bras’s dissatisfaction that I found entirely relatable, and having just turned 32 myself I found that at times this issue hit very close to my emotional home. I was entirely and completely sucked into this story and this main character and that made the ending all the more shocking. When I finished the issue I was emotionally spent and had to immediately go back and read it again.

Thats’s a sign of some great comic booking right there.

Technically speaking, Fabio Moon is said to have written Daytripper #1 and Gabriel Ba is said to be the artist, but being twin brothers who both write and draw and both live in Sao Paolo, Brazil I would imagine that this was a total collaborative effort which is why I don’t want to credit either one specifically for the writing and the art. I will say this: both the writing and the art are fantastic.

When I finished the issue, and I came down from the emotional roller coaster, I thought about what I had read and in my mind I had thought that I had read a sparse and contemplative tale of a man assessing his life on his birthday. The kind of slow and serene character study that I really dig. But when I looked back it the issue it is in fact quite dense. There are a lot of words and a lot of captions and a lot of talking. Now, I don’t mean that this was jam packed with words in the way that early James Robinson Starman was jam-packed with words. I mean that compared to my memory of the story, looking back I expected each page to have two or three panels that consisted mostly of Bras sipping coffee and smoking a cigarette and thinking over his failures. Despite all the talking in this book, it never feels wordy. It feels serene. Gabriel Ba and Fabio Moon totally nailed the atmosphere of contemplation, of a day spent mostly rooting around inside one’s own head.

The art in Daytripper #1 is phenomenal. If you are at all familiar with Gabriel Ba and Fabio Moon’s past work you will find it instantly familiar, but much less cartoony than The Umbrella Academy or Casanova. The story takes place in their home town in Brazil and it looks authentic. The people look Brazilian and the city itself is full of personality. In the beginning I said that this book was unlike anything else that I am reading right now and a lot of that has to do with the unique look and feel that has been created through the art.

Having gone into the first issue totally blind I allowed myself a bit of research once I was finished and I now know that the next issue takes place on Bras’s 21st birthday, which was referenced in this issue. The idea of a mini-series exploring the important birthdays in a man’s life and crafting an overall narrative portrait of a character through disconnected days is an exciting one, especially if it is going to be told with the skill and with the care of Daytripper #1.

Conor Kilpatrick

So many times I typed "Daytrippers"
conor@ifanboy.com

 

Comments

  1. Chris Rohling Anson17 says:

    This looks amazing. Really wish I was able to buy some weeklies right now. Might pick this one up anyway.

  2. OddsBodkins OddsBodkins says:

    Can’t wait to crack this open tonight!

  3. petevaldez petevaldez says:

    super book!!! it really sticks with you…

  4. PraxJarvin PraxJarvin says:

    I really, relaly enjoyed this issue. Gave it a 5/5. The only thing keeping it from being my POTW is that I’m just not sure what comes next, y’know? Still, I’m excited for this. Their art is fantastic and the storytelling is amazing. My friend recently got back from Brazil (Doing research on their underground comics) and the areas of Sao Paulo they’re drawing look very familiar to pictures I’ve seen from him. Very cool. Great book! Great pick!

  5. flapjaxx flapjaxx says:

    Interesting pick. Always up for hearing about a new Vertigo series.

  6. ericwilder ericwilder says:

    Can’t wait to check it out!

  7. medz medz says:

    I really enjoyed it too.  It reminded me of Local.  And after what Conor said about jumping around on birthdays I am guessing that my feeling was right.  I don’t rush through all my comics on Wednesday night, but this may very well be my POTW too.   

  8. Noto Noto says:

    I’m intrigued about this, but since it’s a limited series I figure this would be better kept to trade.

  9. Interesting pick.

    I’m sure the art in this book is amazing. Moon and Ba are some of the best artists out right now, even though I don’t think they get much acclaim as other artist do.

    My pick though was Punisher MAX #2 for 3 reasons:

    1) It was fucked up

    2) It was fucked up

    3) It had an amazing cover by Dave Johnson (Oh and it was fucked up)

  10. Jim Mroczkowski Jimski (@jimski) says:

    I might have known. This is yet another example of a Vertigo book that had preview pages in other books that ended up dissuading me from trying it. "Whaaat is this?" said I of the out-of-context sampling. Experience should have taught me: skip the preview, try the book.

  11. edward says:

    Oh, come on! you should have picked… oh wait, it’s not Josh’s pick this week. Darn it. 

    anyway, i’m down. this looks fantastic. 

  12. Slockhart Slockhart says:

    This was an example of why the #1/$1 thing Vertigo has been doing is so great…  Had this been $1, I would’ve bought it, but it just didn’t look like something I’d want to spend three bucks on, and the preview wasn’t helping. Not sure why they didn’t do it this time.

    I still have two books to go, but as of right now my pick’s Nation X.  I have a great feeling that Batgirl (my most anticipated, and therefore last, book)  will get it in the end though.

  13. It wasn’t a buck, I didn’t buy it. I have this expectation now with Vertigo. Sell #1s for a buck and I’ll pick it up. I guess they felt the names here will have a solid demand and, therefore, no deal needed.

    I’m trade waiting, but the buck deal could of really messed me up and had me double-dipping for a few issues. Kind of like Sweet Tooth. I want the trades, but those issues are just so hard to resist now that #1 hooked me in. This should make an awesome collection.

  14. drakedangerz drakedangerz says:

    This is the only book I was actually able to get today and I loved to to. Excellent choice.

  15. Slockhart Slockhart says:

    @Rolando

    There’s a #1/$1 Grant Morrison book next month.  I think names can only get as big as that, so I have no idea why they’d skip this one.  They’re relaunching Demo in Feb. at full price too, but I guess that kind of makes sense.

    And yes, Batgirl did end up getting my POTW.  I don’t think I’ve had a book that good since that Black Hand issue of Green Lantern that came out right before Blackest Night started. It wasn’t nearly that good, but better than everything since.

  16. wayne2001bc wayne2001bc says:

    Great pick.  I went into this one blind also and it was a great reading experience.  The art was awesome..and there was something about the the colors that was really appealing.  For my POTW I’m debating between this and Murderer.  I really enjoyed that book also.  But this was something else.

  17. patio patio says:

    Another vanity project pick for Ron… wait, what?

  18. FACE FACE says:

    it took me sooooooooooooooooo long to find out, but i found out?

  19. KieronGillen says:

    I’m so excited by the twins doing this.

    KG

  20. boostergold4 says:

    What Earth is this Conor from and where is our Conor!!!

  21. Patman2 Patman2 says:

    This is my POW too, I saved it for last and thought this week would probablly be Iron Man 21. But then I read this and the last page completely blew my mind.

  22. vadamowens vadamowens says:

    @conor to your recollection, how many times have you personally picked a Vertigo book?  I believe you favor DCU titles more often than not.  (This is not a attack about bias, just a general query).

  23. GotNoel says:

    I, too loved this issue… BUT, I felt like some of the early narration was clunky and some of the dialogue was overly expository. Despite that, I was still sucked in by the story and art. That’s damn good storytelling when it’s so fluid and beautiful that you can overlook any flaws.
    Also, the facial expressions were amazing. Excellent acting. Everyone should give this a go.

  24. OttoBott OttoBott says:

    A random POTW selection for one or more of my subscriptions adds to the anticiaption my monthly comic shipment gets tremendously. C’moooon, Heavyink, send it out soon.

  25. Josh Flanagan josh (@jaflanagan) says:

    @GotNoel – I chalked that up to the fact that the brothers are from Brazil, and their english, at least as of last year was not the greatest.  So imagine, which isn’t hard, that a native Brazilian is telling you this story in english, and then it sounds natural.  As that’s what’s actually happening.

  26. Conor Kilpatrick conor (@cskilpatrick) says:

    @vadamowens: I’ve Picked SCALPED many times. The thing about Vertigo is that I only read a few of the titles in issues, I mostly read Vertigo books in trades.

  27. vadamowens vadamowens says:

    ah

  28. IroncladMerc says:

    I like this issue, and even though I don’t speak Spanish, somehow I think I’d be interested in reading this issue in Spanish. Surely DC published a spanish language version of this somewhee?

  29. AmirCat AmirCat says:

     @Ironcladmerc – or rather Portuguese … ;)

  30. Chris Rohling Anson17 says:

    @patio – I wouldn’t call this a vanity project by any means. Maybe that’s just me being nitpicky.

  31. Conor Kilpatrick conor (@cskilpatrick) says:

    @Anson17: You’re not being nitpicky. You’re correct.

  32. patio patio says:

    @anson17 – probably not. I was just joking. But with this being a project by two talented rtists, it felt like a Ron pick and I was surprised to see it was Conor’s.

  33. drakedangerz drakedangerz says:

    @IroncladMerc-Yup, Brazilians speak Portuguese, not Espanol.

    I got the sense that the artwork was handled at different times by both of the brothers. Some panels felt distinctly like Ba, while others had Moon’s style. Great blending of the two styles though, and the muted Vertigo coloring fit this book perfectly.

  34. Crippler Crippler says:

    I had been interested in this, especially after reading the previews that have been in the back of some books these past few months.  I had decided to wait for the trade, but now…  this review makes it hard to do.  Even if I do end up waiting, I’m really glad to hear that it’s going to be worth the wait (for 1/10th of it at least!)

  35. The Vertigo $1 first issue only applies to series which are ongoing. The Unwritten, Greek Street and the upcoming Joe the Barbarian from Grant Morrison are all series with an undefined serialisation length. As such they receive the $1 treatment. Daytripper is only 10 issues.

    The cheaper first trade for Vertigo books also adheres to this discounting scheme. 

  36. drakedangerz drakedangerz says:

    @hownovelbooks-Joe the Barbarian is an 8-issue limited series.

  37. vadamowens vadamowens says:

    I thought the narrative was exceptional and the art equally fun.  This was an impressive fucking book!!!

  38. edward says:

    yup, i had no problem with the language

  39. Paul Montgomery PaulMontgomery (@fuzzytypewriter) says:

    I thought the narration was great. I went in with the expectation of clunky narration or language issues because of the above comments, but I was met with some really nice prose. It’s not casual syntax, but I thought it read quite well. Beyond just the text, the storytelling in here was really lovely. Probably the best I’ve seen from Moon and Ba. Five star book all around. 

    Also really loved BPRD War on Frogs this week. Arcudi and Snejbjerg should work together more often, because this was a total slam dunk. Great little ghost story. You don’t even need to be fully caught up on BPRD to get it.  

  40. FACE FACE says:

    so let me get this straight. this is the story of A Day in the Life of a real Nowhere Man, and it just so happens to be his Birthday?

  41. odare77 says:

    I just read this and had to immediately comment on what a great pick it is.  In just these 32 pages Ba and Moon created a character who was recognisably real and who I found I liked, only to wrench my heart out by killing him on the last page.  He doesn’t even do a great deal in the book, there’s very little that he does which would explain why he appealed to me, yet that ending was a killer.  The art was the icing on the cake, I love the way it flows. Just gorgeous.  Can’t wait to see where this goes.

  42. Conor Kilpatrick conor (@cskilpatrick) says:

    @odare77: I don’t want to delete your comment because it is a good one, but man, we were doing so well with avoiding the big spoiler…

  43. Neb Neb says:

    This was a really fantastic book.  I felt that this, and The Unwritten were really very strong this week.  I’m still working through my books, but this is a definitely POW contender.

  44. muddi900 says:

    The art and the story were brilliant. Like odare, they just ripped my heart out. I did have a problem with the translated prose, but I have problem with all translated prosed.

  45. edward says:

    Hey guys, Edward here.

    so some thoughts on the book? well, only because you asked, especially josh.

    Trying to pinpoint the appeal of the book is difficult. My inital response came from the tonal quality of what i want to say is writing but is more likely the whole execution of the comic considering the creators. A strange compination of optimism and the macabre. I was reminded of Jonathan Safran Foer which is a great achievement for two unseasoned writers.

    I think that there is, perhaps, a type of young man or woman too concerned with the inevitable conslusion while not experiencing the what life has to offer. Here, the reader saw this clearified. I always found this idea mellon collie but enjoy the concept explored in entertainment.

    The expressiveness of the twin’s art present in the dynamic and exciting composition and layout of other work was tampered to a more muted state. the introspection and quite epiphany of the character was depicted gracefully with a wry smile. The coloUring was toned down and wasted out, matching story. I also enjoyed the used of many panels per pages, making the most of the sequential nature of the comic format.

    Another quick observation, on a metatextual level the writers are in concert with the character. While he writes only about death, the writer’s write about he’s death… pretty deep, huh ladies? I, on the otherhand, remain obstantly superficial.

    what just happened? i think i blacked out

  46. vadamowens vadamowens says:

    @edward wow.  there actually is some relative emotion and reflection in that haughty exterior you project;)

  47. NoName7579 NoName7579 says:

    Really enjoyed this bookrd.

  48. hey if u guys enjoyed this issue, you should check out the brothers’ earlier work De:Tales

  49. Dumeer Dumeer says:

    Do Fabio and Gabriel have a last name? Do they have different last names or are those just their pen names?

  50. Diabhol Diabhol says:

    I was under the impression that Ba and Moon were their middle names, but I have *no* idea where I got that idea.

    Anyway, I went and read this so I could listen to the POW podcast. Turned out it was pretty damn good.

     

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