By Munawar Mobin
"The young open the paper to forget about life by reading the funny strips. The old do it to forget about death by reading other people's obits. My advice: don't open the paper and go on with your life.”
There are things in life which happen by chance and some of those things often bring surprisingly pleasant consequences. Finding this book, out of nowhere and from nothing but just a click on some link in Google, makes it one of the latter.
“Daytripper” is a graphic novel, published in 2010, written and drawn by brothers Fábio Moon & Gabriel Bá. This novel is about Brás de Oliva Domingos, a Brazilian who works at a newspaper, writing people's obituaries. Much more about the story can't be said but it's all just average everyday life, twisted with a little bit of that ingredient which you can never name but that which makes us smile. Perhaps it's love or passion, but whatever it was, the story was cemented to a high status with its presence.
It's not the story that's fascinating about this book. Nor is it the artwork. Granted, the plot is a bit new and at times surprising and the art work is at times breathtaking, the story is not the best part of the novel. It's the way the story is told that struck me when I read it. The authors have penned and drawn in such a fashion that Brás' life isn't told in one smooth flow from beginning to end. Nor is it told from end to beginning like most TV show finales nowadays. The story is rather told from the middle, end and beginning all at once, highlighting every major aspect and event in Brás' life and also making sure the small ones get a chance too. The many little stories give the reader a feeling of leafing through the character's life with the pages all jumbled up, but still making sense.
Each issue starts with one major event that occurs in his life, making everything change concerning his mother, father, first love, love of life, best friend and others around him. Every issue starts with a beginning, but every issue ends with the character never getting ready for what comes next, death. Sometimes, it's about him learning to fly a kite and share his first kiss and then dying as a kid, or another time it's a story of how he's 71 and discovers he has cancer. Thus, in every issue, the character is born anew with a fresh story, and in every issue, the story gets an ending.
The book at first glance seems to revolve around death, what with the character having to experience a lot of it and having to write about it as a job. However, once the last issue is read, it's easy to identify that the story telling was the true secret to the book. The book isn't centred on death at all; rather it's about the importance of enjoying and holding on to the simple victories in life. But the novel doesn't do that by cooking up a nice story and slapping on the moral in the last line as a “wise” quotation. No, the story flows and falls in such a manner that you are bound to come to that very conclusion; and it does so as if the book had nothing to do with it and it was all part of your own personal epiphany.
What's hot today
By Munawar Mobin
Avengers Assemble! The high octane movie has captured the heart and minds of comics readers as well. The mega hit Avengers Vs X-men mini series has raised a storm in readers and retailers. Most of the first prints of the mini as well as their many spin-offs have sold out. The story begins as the Phoenix force returns to earth this time to bond with Hope Summers, Alex's (Cyclops) grand-daughter. The Avengers are aware of this, and they believe it will bring destruction to the world. Hope is cited to be the saver of the mutants; and the X-men will not let any harm fall to her as long as they live. The creators involved in this event include Brian Michael Bendis, John Romita Jr. and Frank Cho.
DC comics still hog most of the top 10 list of comics today, led by the strong creative team of Geoff Johns and Jim Lee on JLA. Batman's the Night of the Owls story is reaching its climax. Written by Scott Snyder (Swamp Thing) and drawn by Greg Cappullo, this title is also burning hot, especially in the back issues section.
This month is even more exciting. DC has its Before Watchmen coming out, and Marvel has the two Spider-men from different universes meet. With all the major events, smaller publishers are pulling their weight too. Spawn celebrates its 20th year. Saga by Brian Vaughan and Epic Kill from Image have sold out. Dark Horse has its surprise hit Boba Fett is dead mini series. And Archie has given a series to its first gay character Keller. All in all, this is shaping up to be a very fun Summer of comics.