Daytripper: wrenching existential graphic novel

By Cory Doctorow

Daytripper collects the full run of award-winning Brazilian comic-creating twins Gabriel Bá and Fábio Moon's acclaimed graphic novel. Daytripper is the story of Bras de Oliva Domingos, the son of one of Brazil's most treasured writers. Bras aspires to write novels, too, though the closest he manages for some time is a job writing obits for a daily newspaper.

Daytripper tells Bras's life story through a series of vignettes, and at the end of each one, Bras dies, usually in some horrible, tragic fashion. And then the next installment begins, and Bras is alive again, and his terminal accident never happened, and his life proceeds.

With each iteration, Bras has the chance to come closer to doing the right thing -- for himself, for his lovers and friends, for his family, for his son -- and with each turn on the wheel, Bras learns something new.

This existential device works extraordinarily well, making for a story that grows progressively more moving with each chapter. Somehow, the impacts of the inevitable deaths are never diminished through repetition, but rather increase in their tragedy.

DC/Vertigo were good enough to supply us with an exclusive reprint of cartoonist Craig Thompson's (Habibi, Blankets) introduction in comic form. Click through below to read it in full.

Daytripper

Published 6:45 am Tue, Feb 8, 2011

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About the Author

I write books. My latest are: a YA graphic novel called In Real Life (with Jen Wang); a nonfiction book about the arts and the Internet called Information Doesn't Want to Be Free: Laws for the Internet Age (with introductions by Neil Gaiman and Amanda Palmer) and a YA science fiction novel called Homeland (it's the sequel to Little Brother). I speak all over the place and I tweet and tumble, too.

10 Responses to “Daytripper: wrenching existential graphic novel”

  1. Avram / Moderator says:

    Oh, man. Moon and Bá and also a Craig Thompson intro comic? I’ve gotta pick this up.

    For a moment there, seeing the Amazon link to Habibi, I thought it might’ve come out already without me noticing, and I was gonna explode with excitement. But no, gotta wait till September.

  2. g0d5m15t4k3 says:

    Is it worth re-reading? I am cutting back on buying graphic novels now since I have so many. And regular novels too now that I think about it. They have to be good on a second, third and fourth reading. Otherwise, I am just buying something I’d turn around and immediately sell to a friend/used book store.

  3. gewurztraminer says:

    I read Daytripper in monthly comic book format. I think the delay in getting to the next chapter added a lot to the story. Swallowing it all at once in a graphic novel may not be the best way to go for some people.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Definitely going to download this.

  5. UncaScrooge says:

    Looks like fun, but I’d rather read the rest of Casanova. Casanova is the best science fiction comic I’ve read in ages.

  6. Hell's Donut House says:

    “Click through below to read [the intro] in full.”

    That link goes to Amazon buying page — any chance of posting the correct link?

  7. jackbird says:

    Daytripper tells Bras’s life story through a series of vignettes, and at the end of each one, Bras dies, usually in some horrible, tragic fashion. And then the next installment begins, and Bras is alive again, and his terminal accident never happened, and his life proceeds.

    Funny, the protagonist didn’t look anything like Bill Murray to me.

  8. Anonymous says:

    @Jackbird

    You are mistaken.

    The story continues through the different stages of his life and he’s never the same age when the story starts again. If you re-read the segment then you will see that this was mentioned.
    Also, it is never explicitly made clear whether the character is aware of of these do-overs.
    Finally, this isn’t played for laughs and feels and looks completely different from Groundhog Day.

    Best comic I read in 2010. Urge everyone to read it, because it’s brilliant.

  9. dagfooyo says:

    Skimming this article got me all excited for a second when I saw the signature on the art, because I thought this was a new graphic novel by Thompson himself, and not merely his introduction. Blankets is one of the most beautiful and heartwrenching graphic novels ever written.

    Still intrigued by this book but I wish there was an actual example of the drawing style used by the twins. Occasionally I’ll buy a graphic novel based on its plot/premise alone and then be sorely disappointed by a spare or unaccomplished drawing style.

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