The First Day - 32
This was a very intriguing first issue. Fascinating considering we, as a consumer, weren’t spoon-fed a lot of information as to what this series was about. We just knew it followed a Brazilian man and that it would most likely be well made. The fact that many readers were in on this premise alone shows you what a wild card the twins are and what trust we have in them.
This opening issue presented us with Bras, a man on his thirty-second birthday going to a literary gala event for his novelist father. Bras is in the trade of words as well, he knocks up the obituaries for the local paper. He always wanted to be a writer but instead of chronicling the delights of life he’s stuck announcing the death knell of each man and woman. Bras clearly isn’t happy in his life and we are quickly shown this through his interactions with those around him, his oppressive mother, his absent father, his fantastic best friend, Jorge, and a mysterious lady whom he loves.
The first issue leaves us with a dead main character at its final panel and, considering there are nine more issues to fill, this is a bold move. The tale is one of a lost soul and the release of such a being. It’s sad and a great introduction to Bras. I had no idea where Daytripper would go from here but I knew I was along for the ride. To be so bold as to offer the end up as the first dish made me salivate for the next course, what could it be?
The Second Day – 21
This issue is the ultimate romantic, boy-meets-girl tale. We see Bras on his way to Salvador with Jorge, both using their youth to travel the world and conquer it one sight at a time. Bras uses the morning of his twenty-first birthday to take in a stunning sunrise across a perfectly drawn and coloured canyon. It’s at first alarming to see Bras as a long-haired youth as the previous issue showed him as a much more defeated and square adult. Bras here feels like he can do anything purely because that is his mind set. He convinces me through pure force of will. It’s a very impressive feat for Ba and Moon to give us the same character in such a different mind-set and still make it believable and consistent.
The end of this issue is much more open with much to interpret and ponder. There are many different meanings to what we think we see or read. It’s a tale that rewards repeat readings and in the end all we are seeing is another snapshot of Bras and what has formed his life. Each issue is like a painting of one important aspect of Bras life, and his death.
The Third Day – 28
This issue would be my favourite so far in that I love a good break up tale. And this is a great break up tale, if there can be said to really be any. The beauty of Olinda is back, and this time juxtaposed against the cruel ugliness of heartbreak and the aftermath that love always leaves us. She has just left Bras and he is left alone in their apartment. Ba and Moon use single panels to tell us so much, an opaque Olinda haunts Bras’ memory, a picture on the fridge shows him that though some things stay the same other things will always change and decay, and a forgotten hanging pair of underwear signals what once was and shall never be again. We see Bras as a crushed little man with far too much space around him to ever find the needle of happiness in the world of a haystack that we find ourselves in.
With the shining light of life guiding his heart, Bras guides his legs straight into the front of a delivery van. It’s another issue and another death for our lead man and suddenly a very frightening trend is appearing. If we are going to see the life of Bras then we also have to see the death. It sucks and it’s not fair and so it’s a perfect portrait of just how the world so often turns.
The Fourth Day – 41
This is the oldest Bras we have yet met and his life seems good. His wife, presumably the woman glimpsed in the previous issue, is pregnant with his child and they’re on their way to the birth at the hospital. This Bras seems a fair bit more in control of his world and able to cope. Though he still is a slave to the cigarettes and when he pops out for one he finds his mother is also at the same hospital. His father has just died, a grandfather out as the grandchild comes in. It’s a circle of life that concentrically flows around Bras.
It's a striking difference to see Bras be the rock in the situation while everything else around him is in flux. There's life and death and Bras is simply doing his best to weather the storm and get everyone through to the other side. It was nice to yet again see a different side to Bras. Just like real people you know can change dramatically from decade to decade, here we have the many faces of Bras.
The Fifth Day –11
We finally see Bras as a child and this issue feels the most like a montage of images and scenery, much like many childhood memories are. Bras is a young lad and yet he still unmistakably looks like the person we have seen in such other adult ages. This tale is very much a valentine to the sort of upbringing, and child holidays, that most of us can relate to. You don't need to have chased an Angola chicken, eaten the same foods, or had to crap in the yard to conserve water to understand what you are seeing and what you are feeling. Everyone's childhood is special when in actuality we all have one, it's just that it is so special to us that makes the difference.
It is eye-opening to see where Bras has come from. We have previously met all of his family, however because they were all much older the relationships were already established, all of the ideas they had of each other were set. Here we get a much more fluid understanding of everyone, and Bras even finally comes to understand that everyone grows old. A sad understanding for a child to come to as we, the reader, have the odd feeling that Bras won't be getting any older. We know what happens to Bras at the end of each issue and for it to happen to an eleven year old boy is sad. Moon and Ba handle this exit to the tale well. We know what happens but we don't need to see it, we instead leave with an image and a few words that really make you stop and think. It's sweet, as usual, and possibly more heartbreaking than usual.
One thing I like about monthly comics is the constant delight of covers for each part of the tale. Sure, most collections put the covers into the deal as well, hell, they usually throw in some unused ones as well and some sketches just to really get you through the door. You can get the covers online or however you like but I really like seeing the covers in person and Gabriel Ba is one very big reason to hold this comic each month. Ba crafts a piece of art that gives you so much of the story in one image. He hands you an emotion on the cover and simply takes your breath away. Not once have I been disappointed with what Ba does with his tangled webs of Bras and his world.
This series has been exceedingly interesting up to the halfway mark and after all these words surely you don't need me to actually tell you this is a Must Read title. It is. We have seen five different days in Bras’ life that have made him who he is, the understanding that his life amounted to nothing close to what he wanted it to, the discovery of that one true destructive love, and then the crumbling of that love, we see the birth of his child and death of his father, then we see his own childhood. Each day is structurally important to the holistic making of Bras as a man within our minds. Does this necessarily read better in floppy than trade, I think so, but I'm a man who likes the pauses in between the stories just as much. I wouldn't want to experience these glimpses into Bras life one after the other, I take the time to digest and really ponder Bras and his little moments. However, I can see that this series will make a brilliant collection, in whatever way they decide to do it, and I hope many will pick it up.
What Bras' deaths mean is yet to be revealed, whether it is all alternate realities or simply inventions by Bras the writer we don’t know. I, for one, don’t want to dwell on what it all means but would rather feel what it means to me. Daytripper is about eliciting an emotion rather than fishing for a response. It’s a series about us not Bras and I am welcoming the chance to view the world through the gorgeous eyes of Ba, Moon, and Dave Stewart. It’s a magical ride and one that might have lots of endings but ultimately it’ll only end when I want it to.