Comics That Make You Cry: “Daytripper”

If You Like…

  • Introspective stories
  • Tales of family and grief
  • Groundhog Day
  • Crying over fictional characters

Then You’ll Like…

Daytripper by Fábio Moon and Gabriel Bá

so sadUpon reflection on my own collection of graphic novels, I’ve come to the realization that there’s quite a few in here that have made me emotional or even a little teary. It’s the stories that draw heavy emotions from us that we remember the most, and I would be remiss if I didn’t put Daytripper at the top of that list. Let me put it to you this way — I was on a train when I finished this book and was struggling to hide the streaming tears down my face in the “quiet car”.

Daytripper is set in Brazil and is the story (or several stories) of Brás de Oliva Domingos and what he deems as major events in his life. However there is a twist — each life event ends in his death.

How Does Tom Cruise Relate to This?

Actually, he doesn’t. But one of Mr. Cruise’s recent movies does, in a way. “Edge of Tomorrow” shares a similar premise, where a man relives his death on the battlefield over and over as he makes different choices and tries to survive the day. Daytripper shares a similar premise, illustrating how Brás’ choices could result in a death, but the next chapter would show how his life would be had that death not come to pass.

Much like the obituaries he writes for work, Brás narrates his life and meets his end in different ways depending on the chapter. He returns anew by the beginning of the next chapter. It can be confusing; in fact many have argued over what readers can take away from this experience. It could be just a groundhog day premise, while on the other hand his “deaths” don’t actually happen. At the end of each death is an obituary, perhaps even how Brás would write his own obituary. Perhaps these are his own reflections on what would happen if he went through with these choices and met his untimely end.

But what I feel makes this story so emotional is this exact premise. You are seeing a character you come to know meet death at the end of every single chapter. Most are by accident, at the hands of others, or just being in the wrong place at the wrong time. On top of that, the art and coloring is absolutely beautiful, reminiscent of Brazil during Carnivale. There was a moment when I had to pause for a moment and take a deep breath.

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Tissues On Hand? You’ll Need Them *SPOILER ALERT*

So what happens if Brás makes it to the end? He lives a full, complete life, becoming a famous novelist like his father, and retiring to a comfortable life on the beach with his wife. In this end, Brás is facing his mortality. The story concludes with Brás facing a willing death: he accepts that a cancer will overtake him and refuses any medical intervention.

It’s an empowering ending; you’ve seen this man face (or at least imagine) his unexpected death for several chapters and this is the first instance that he sees it coming and openly welcomes it. He has reached the end, and as luck would have it he receives a letter that his own father had written long ago to him.

In it, Brás’ father congratulates him on the birth of Brás’ son, and how Brás will no longer need his father anymore. How fitting, that the conclusion of this book will have the reader ushered out by the words Brás’ father instead of Brás. And we are not ushered out with a final death, but with a birth. A new beginning.

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Will Make You Feel: Like taking a leap in life

Music to Listen to While Reading: “Jinsei no Merry Go Round” by Yuki Niino

Publisher: Vertigo and DC Comics

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