Wednesday, 27 July 2011

Comic Review - Daytripper

An unusual comic outing today: in Gabriel Ba and Fabio Moon's Daytripper there is not one hint nor hair of superheroes. Instead, the Brazilian twins capably illustrate just how much more there is to do with the medium. This is slow and gentle, a contemplation on life and death where not much really happens, yet the world is still at stake. Or, rather, Bras' world is at stake.

Bras, our protagonist, is an obituary writer. Every day he has to condence a person's and the memories they leave behind life into a few sparse paragraphs. This is our central metaphor, and the device which keeps the work trundling onwards, asking us which moment will define the rest of Bras' life. There is little here beyond vague musings and mundane dramas and everytime I put the comic down I was not particularly compelled to pick it up again. Nonetheless, this is a very worthy read. It's not something to suck you in with its fast pace or tension, and rating it as such would be doing it a great disservice.

The art is really the hero here. Both of the brothers share the writing and art duties, but there is no inconsistency to be found. Their pictures say far more than the words do, successfully utilising the medium to it's fullest potential. There is an engaging simplicity to the art, a lack of pretention that humanises the characters and issues being explored.

This lack of pretention, this simplicity, is what really won me over. Although this comic looks at big, important issues, it cares more about the characters than making statements. It wasn't written with the pretense that it'd "change your life" or any such artsiness. This wants to share with you an intimate portrait of a man and ask questions of his life. It's a character study, fundamentally, and a very easy and engaging one. Don't come with expectations, just accept the comic as it is, and this is a very worthy read.

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