Can we take a moment to talk about unfair expectations because I think I have them in regards to Gabriel Bá and Fábio Moon's new Vertigo series Daytripper. I've been a fan of their work since 2006's De: Tales, Dark Horse's collection of short stories by the twin brothers. In De: Tales, the brothers created Brazil for me, or at least, they created a Brazil I'd like to discover one day. What they wrote and drew about in that book may not be real but I hope it is. There's a life and rhythm to their Brazil that comes through their stories. You can hear the sounds of the clubs of the faraway country.
It's not fair but I went into Daytripper looking for a return of the type of stories they told in De: Tales. Daytripper #1 shares similar elements to De: Tales; the Brazilian setting and the emphasis more on the little moments that make our normal, everyday life special. But for all of its similarities, Daytripper #1 lacks the excitement and joy of life found in Bá and Moon's short stories and ends up dragging through the first issue, which is more of a prologue or framing sequence to the larger story that the twins will be telling over the next nine issues.
The main character Brás' life is about other people. At work, he writes the obituaries for famous people; people who have had full and engaging lives that other people want to read about. At home, he stares at his old manual typewriter, a present from his father, searching for words and stories. At the newspaper, he examines other's lives, finding the moments and qualities that make them stand out; the awards, the families and the greatness of the men and women who have recently passed on. Life, death, family, these are the things of other people that are constantly on his mind even as he can't figure out what to do with his own.
Daytripper #1 is a interesting, if somewhat muted, story on its own. I have the feeling that in this issue, we're getting the beginning, middle and end of the larger story that they plan to tell in this series. After this, the upcoming issues will fill in the space between the panels and expand on Brás' story but we've seen his story here. It's actually a strong way to produce a first issue and this issue is pretty confident in the ending. This is the story of Brás and, by the end of this issue, we've maybe already seen how his story ends. Hopefully the issues after this one will show us some of the magic and wonder in Brás past, even as he's kind of wallowing in his own mundanity in this one.
In the stories of De: Tales there's a liveliness and earnestness in Bá and Moon's stories that made you want to read them with the same intensity as the artists must have wanted to get them down on paper. They were rushing into life and storytelling and almost demanding that you, the reader, keep up with them. Of course, those were only short stories, 8-12 pages. With Daytripper #1, maybe the twins are having to pace themselves as they have to spread the energy out over 10 issues. Hopefully as they get into more of Brás' life, they'll remind us of the thrill of life that they've shown in the past.
"Chapter One: 32"
Written and Drawn by: Fábio Moon & Gabriel Bá
Colored by: Dave Stewart
Lettered by: Sean Konot