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In this video I provide a brief review of the graphic novel Daytripper. This is a book that, in my estimation, is one of the most underappreciated graphic novels in the ever growing canon of what Scott McCloud refers to as Graphic Art. Books like Watchmen, The Sandman, and MAUS consistently appear on lists of truly great and wonderful graphic novels yet Daytripper is left from such lists for some mysterious reason. The reader doesn’t need my validation however, nor does the book and so in this video I try to just discuss a few of the themes addressed in the book.104_icodaytripperins03

The graphic novel is about the life of the writer Bras de Olivas Domingo who, before he publishes his first novel to great success, works as an obituary writer. His father is a world famous novelist and throughout the book Bras mourns the fact that he and his father do not always have the best working relationship, however beneath this I believe as a fascinating glimpse into father-son relationships. Every son in his own way tries to live up to what he believes to be the supposed expectations his father establishes during his life. Looking at Bras part of that standard is creating something out of his life, and so his novel, and then eventually his life, becomes that very means.

Daytripper is a book that explores life in all of its absurdity and mundane reality, and while each chapter ends in death, the larger creative goal seems to be to demonstrate that life is not purely beautiful or purely meaningless. Instead Gabriel Ba and Fabio Moon try to show the odd magic that makes up life without resorting to clichés. This last word is important because when you say “the book is about life” the reader may summon up images of Once-A-Day-Faith Calendars or else platitude ridden Valedictorian speeches. There are many works which try to tell readers that life is wonderful and strange, but Daytripper is unique amongst this bunch because it actually shows them this through Bras’s first kiss, meeting the woman who would become his wife, being a spectator in a home invasion, writing close to a hundred obituaries for a Plane Crash, discovering he has terminal cancer, and losing his friend to madness.09-Daytripper

Daytripper doeesn’t take the life of a superhero or a mythic being as its protagonist. Instead it finds an individual man who is trying to find some sense of meaning or purpose in his life. That should be a universal appeal enough to convince the reader that this book is made of magic. But if it isn’t hopefully this video, and the two essays I’ve written about it will.

The books used in this video are:

Daytripper by Gabriel Ba & Fabio Moon (Vertigo)

All Star Superman Vol. 1 by Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely (DC Comics)

Death the Deluxe Edition by Neil Gaiman (Vertigo)

The Plot: The Secret History of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion by Will Eisner (W.W. Norton & Company)

King by Ho Che Anderson (Fantagraphic Books)

The House of Secrets by Various (DC Comics)daytripper1

The Sandman: The Doll’s House by Neil Gaiman (Vertigo)

From Hell by Alan Moore and Eddie Campbell (Top Shelf Productions)

Watchmen by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons (DC Comics)

A Contract With God by Will Eisner (W.W. Norton & Company)

The Complete MAUS by Art Spiegelman (Pantheon Books)

Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic by Alison Bechdel (Houghton Mifflin)

The Adventures of Captain Underpants by Dav Pilkey (Scholastic)

Calvin and Hobbes by Bill Waterson (Andrews McMeel Publishing, LLC)


If you have any questions, suggestions, or requests for books you would like to see me review, please feel free to comment below.

Thank you for watching.

Joshua Jammer Smith