AICN COMICS Q&@: Optimous Douche talks with DC Vertigo's DAYTRIPPER creators Fabio Moon & Gabriel Ba! Plus a review of DAYTRIPPER Vol. 1!
@@@@ What the #$%! is AICN COMICS: Q&@? @@@@
@’s by DAYTRIPPER’s
Fabio Moon & Gabriel Ba!
OPTIMOUS OUCHE (OD): DAYTRIPPER is a story about life’s defining moments; first love, lost love, the finding of self and our ultimate inexorable end. Was there an impetus or defining event that sparked you to create DAYTRIPPER?
GABRIEL BA (GB): The idea first struck me one night in the shower when I realized that a lost bullet could cross my window and kill me out of the blue…no explanation or reason…just like that. What would my life be up until that point? What does death mean in our lives? Then I figured we could tell a story of this guy who dies over and over, in different ways. But this idea hibernated just like that for years until Bob Schreck asked us to pitch him ideas for a series at Vertigo. All the depth of the story, all the characters, all the chapters were developed only after we got the series approved.
OD: It’s interesting the story started with the idea of death and during such a mundane activity. For me, DAYTRIPPER was an affirmation of life, the moments that define a man, with death being an excruciating exclamation point at the end of each chapter. We see the main character Brás have his first kiss, meet the love of his life, lose his Father, the birth of his child…when you were pulling the chapters together how did you guys decide what moments of Brás life you would bring to the page?
FABIO MOON (FM): I think death makes us think about life, so ultimately we wanted to tell a story about one man's life. In the same way that you don't remember your entire life when you're thinking about it, we knew we would only show moments we felt would help tell this story, moments where there's a discovery, a learning experience, when something is acquired or lost (sometimes both).
OD: And what about the deaths? Sometimes Brás dies from natural causes and then some very not-so-natural causes, was it a simply a grab bag or was there a master plan?
FM: It's very strange trying to figure out which kind of death makes sense, and yet every death in the story also helps to tell the story. We just tried to come up with different deaths without forcing them to the reader.
GB: Ours is not a violent story and Brás is a regular guy, so we couldn't have him murdered in several different ways. We tried to choose deaths that could really happen to anyone, that we've seen happening.
OD: The book has a definite “unstuck from time” narrative approach. In chapter one Brás is in his early-thirties, and then we jump back to his early twenties, and then forward to his late twenties, until finally, he reaches old age. Was there ever an iteration that told Brás' life in a linear fashion? Even if the answer is no, what made you to decide on this approach from the outset?
FM: In a story told in chapters, one of the main goals is to keep the readers guessing what comes next, and by jumping back and forward in Brás' life we created a mystery in every new step of our tale.
OD: The jumping felt far from random though, it seemed an opening and closing of each relationship in Brás life. Is that a fair statement? If not, please feel free to correct me.
FM: I like to think that memory connects facts in a way that makes sense, but rarely it's chronological. We tried to jump from one chapter to the next trying to find this feeling of comfort we find when we remember something that happened to you a long time ago.
GB: In every chapter, there's a mention to the previous or the next, sometimes very subtle. We just followed this lead, putting the right piece of the puzzle there when the moment called for it.
OD: Was it always your plan for Brás to be an obituary writer, while he tried to find his muse?
FM: Some obituaries are written to make people focus on the deceased's life instead of their death. Death isn't the most important moment of your life, no matter what age you die and obituaries help us to remember that. As soon as we figured that out, we knew what Brás' dead-end job would be.
OD: Did you guys have any dead-end jobs before making it into comics? Please, share…
FM: I don't think we had, really. We worked a lot as illustrators for magazines, newspapers, storyboards for advertising, but always as freelancers, and always certain about our desire and commitment to comics.
GB: As teenagers, we already knew we wanted to work on comics telling stories. While we were figuring out how to do that and what stories we had to tell, we got into college majoring in Fine Arts. We worked on some things art-related like high school arts teacher, guide on museums and a lot of illustration, especially after we graduated. Nothing that far from comics, from drawing. But none of these jobs satisfied us, they just paid the bills and they were great to meet people.
OD: So, which one of you is Brás, or is he a combination of both your personalities?
FM: He's neither and he's both. He's that friend we want to spend time with, the one we want to introduce to our sister. He's our hope in men, with all qualities and flaws included.
GB: I think he has a lot of us in him, on his attitudes, his character. We are telling a story of principles and beliefs, our beliefs mainly. Ones that we hope more people would relate to or that will make them pause and think about their lives. It's like a bar table conversation about life, and Brás is speaking for us.
OD: How does the process of working with your sibling differ from your other creations, is there an inherent genetic synchronicity?
FM: There's a lifetime of differences. We know each other and each other's taste so well that our communication is so fast it sometimes happens only in an exchange of looks.
GB: We know how far we can go when we're working together, how far we can push. We know for sure both of us will give their best and that we have the story as priority one. We learn a lot working with other artists and writers and we always come back stronger to our own stories.
OD: Is there any way I can get you guys to dish on upcoming projects?
FM: My crystal ball is broken today, so I'm still uncertain about the future. I'll do more CASANOVA once Bá and Matt finish the third arc, but I'm still figuring what I might want to do before that happens.
GB: CASANOVA part 3: Avaritia! Four issues that I've just started on, so it will take me some time to finish. We hope we have new ideas to work on after we're done with this.
OD: Thanks guys. DAYTRIPPER is out now in TPB, and I defy you to find a better affirmation of life and reflection on the human soul for under $20.00. Check out my review of this awesome book below.
DAYTRIPPER TPBWriter: Fabio Moon
Artist: Gabriel Ba
Publisher: DC Vertigo
Reviewer: Optimous Douche
If your heart doesn’t bleed after reading DAYTRIPPER, you simply don’t have one. Only a true psychopath can be so emotionally distanced as to not feel some level of empathy as DAYTRIPPER’S protagonist, Bras de Olivia Domingos’ life unfolds…ends…and starts anew with each chapter in this collection of the original soulful series.
Wait…his life ends at the end of each chapter and he’s reborn? Yes, Bras dies at the end of each chapter of this book, but this is not some sci-fi tale of a modern day Jesus. Make no mistake here; DAYTRIPPER is a celebration of life. Death in this book is merely a device to drive home the message of “seizing the day,” because it very well could be your last.
Bras’ story is just like any of ours, which makes this story so damn relatable even though it’s set in the faraway land of South America; his trials and triumphs of first kiss, first love, lost love, family, career and the search to answer the ultimate question “why am I here” are so common amongst human existence the setting of the story is truly ancillary (although if he grew up in my homeland of New Jersey the story would have had a hell of a lot more bullying in it with a name like Bras).
I feel sorry for anyone that read this book in single-issue format; first off you missed the amazingly creative panel drawn introduction by Craig Thompson. Secondly, if I had read only the first two chapters I truly would have wondered what the point of the series was or where it was going. And I shamefully say now, I probably would have bailed on the title. Patience is a virtue and its own reward with DAYTRIPPER. Again though, unless you’re a psychopath, you will well up with tears at the sheer poetry Moon uses to express the depths of Bras’ soul.
The first chapter opens with Bras, a regular 32 year old dude who toils as an obituary writer for a local newspaper. He loves coffee and cigarettes, he’s trying to find his voice as a true author like his father, his wife is stuck at an airport and will most likely miss an important event they were supposed to attend celebrating his Father’s latest literary achievement, his dog is bugging the living shit out of him, his life-long friend takes a few minutes to lament their collective decline into middle-age by recounting their carefree post-college days. But…then Bras dies trying to score some smokes in the wrong place at the wrong time. Close the chapter with an obituary write-up that is barely about Bras’ life, but more focused on the wasted potential of that life reflected against the achievements of his father. If you take out the cigarettes and the death, that was pretty much my Tuesday afternoon. And it’s this relatable nature that kept me pushing forward to chapter two even though I still was unsure on the ultimate point of this “comic.”
Chapter two, entitled “21”, opens with Bras and his best friend on the post-college adventure their middle-aged selves reflected on in the last chapter. Huge props must be given to Ba at this point. The way he masterfully adds and subtracts years from Bras visage is a sight to behold, never veering into caricatures and each age a reflection of the true styles from that time period (why we all thought long greasy hair was attractive in the 90s is a mystery I still haven’t unraveled). Bras meets the first love of his life on this adventure and after a night of passionate lovemaking he goes out to the sea and accidentally drowns.
Chapter three we see what happens to this passion after six years together, which becomes another life lesson: smoldering passion does not mean a lasting love.
And that’s really the best way to sum up DAYTRIPPER: life is a series of unexpected surprises, and each surprise no matter how blissful…or painful…leaves an indelible print that shapes the existence of self and the paths of others we might cross.
A child certainly won’t “get” this book, hell I wouldn’t have truly gotten this book before I turned thirty-four. When we are young we are indestructible or immortal. Whether too much science fiction or simple delusion on my part, I once believed wholeheartedly that science would have discovered the key to immortality by this point. Then one night, shortly after my 34th birthday, I lay in bed with my wife next to me and I began to have chest pains. We still didn’t have children, because there would always be time. I still hadn’t written my first graphic novel (a bucket list item), because there would always be time. Essentially I had not become half the man I thought I would when I was a child. Thankfully my chest pains were simply my first experience with indigestion. However, I sat down the next day and started my graphic novel that’s being published this year.
I’ve been in love with Ba’s art since my first reading of UMBRELLA ACADEMY. Sadly I could never figure out what was so damn alluring about his skewed reflection of the world. Fortunately, DAYTRIPPER drove the point home, and Ba’s words in the bonus material sum it up best: “the most difficult thing wasn’t trying to create a world that would look real. No, the hardest thing was creating a world that would feel real.” Never truer words were spoken. DAYTRIPPER puts the feelings of life under microscopic scrutiny, and Ba’s captures the essence of life’s moments with a haunting accuracy.
And DAYTRIPPER is haunting; when its message is fully imbibed it stays with you, reminding you to love deeper, laugh longer and remember that every day is an inexplicable gift.
Optimous has successfully blackmailed fellow @$$Hole BottleImp into being his artist on Average Joe. Look for Imp's forced labor on Optimous brain child in mid-2011 from COM.X. Friend Optimous on FaceBook to get Average Joe updates and because ceiling cat says it's the right thing to do.
Proofs, co-edits & common sense provided by Sleazy G
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Feb. 8, 2011, 9:46 a.m. CST
Truly. Great article about one of my favourite comics of last year: http://bit.ly/dStX2S
Feb. 8, 2011, 10:20 a.m. CST
...exactly because we had no idea where the story was going or what it was going to be about. "Discovering it" for myself instead of reading a review about it and being told how amazing it was. Regardless, one of the best comics I've read in years. Here's a review I wrote for MTV Geek: http://tinyurl.com/4msjsob
Feb. 8, 2011, 7:01 p.m. CST
It was a great moving through the different stages of life a month at a time. Gave me time to reflect. Reading the whole thing at once actually sounds strange to me, but I will probably check out the GH at some point.
Feb. 8, 2011, 7:02 p.m. CST
Really incredible! Tudo bem!
Feb. 9, 2011, 5:49 a.m. CST
A real rare gem of a book. I can't agree more with kungfuhustler. After wrestling with the idea for some time, I was about to give up on monthlies in general. I'd decided that trades were the way to go. But this series completely changed my mind. It was really one of the rare few monthly comic books where after reading an issue you'd be yearning for more and yet still be completely satisfied by the story you'd just experienced. For me the idea of reading it all in one go without the chance to pause and reflect on the wonders of Moon and Ba's story is just plain wrong. I will be picking up the trade as well though. Maybe an extra one or two to lend out to friends if the budget can handle it.
Feb. 9, 2011, 10:32 a.m. CST
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