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Graeme On Daytripper: A Sunday Driver, Yeah

Graeme McMillan

Taken on its own, DAYTRIPPER #10 is a weirdly underwhelming end to what’s been one of my favorite series in recent times; it continues with last issue’s break from format by not killing Bras at the end of the issue, and offers, instead, something of a happy ending – but it also feels… I don’t know, sparer than earlier issues, for some reason, less of a story than a coda, if that makes sense. Thing is, when you read the entire series in one sitting – and I really, really recommend that you do – that calm and space seems more fitting, and has more impact.

Like I said, Daytripper has been something that I’ve really been enjoying on a monthly basis, and up until the second last issue, that’s all it’d been – I’d taken each issue on face value, another alternate Bras meeting his end at another point in his life, each issue “done in one” with poignancy and beautiful art and great because of it. But as #9’s dream sequences overlapped details from each story with one another, I went back to re-read them all to date, and realized how well they worked together, how important is was that they were read together, or at least considered individual chapters of one long story – of Bras’ life; set-ups from the first issue pay off in the fourth, the story from the second leads (in)directly into the opening of the third, and so on. It’s left up to the reader to interpret exactly how they all fit together (Is each issue “real” and happening to a different Bras? Does each issue tell a real story with an imagined death? Is each issue one of the dreams that the Bras from the final issue – the one who’s come to terms with dying – has had, and are they ways in which he’s come to terms with dying? That last one is my take, but whatever way you choose to put them together, what’s left is an impressive piece of work that tells the story of the important events in one man’s life, from birth until… well, almost death, in the end.

Even if the writing hadn’t turned out to be so impressive (And, separately, so peaceful and… I don’t know, lyrical, almost? Moon and Ba tend towards sentiment and oversimplicity at times, which can make for mawkish reading if you’re not inclined that way – I am, I blush as I admit – but even if you find their dialogue or plots cloying, it’s hard to deny the power of their writing, even just based on how different it is from most comic writing; there’s a value there, on that alone, I’d argue), it’d still be a series I’d recommend on art alone. I love Fabio Moon’s art – he illustrates essentially all the series, with the exception of Gabriel Ba pitching in on some of the dream sequences in #9 – for his brushwork and the way his characters act, understated and exaggerated at the same time. It’s only made better by Dave Stewart’s amazing color work, which adds depth and texture in such a wonderfully subtle way that shouldn’t be overlooked; I hope that Stewart’s involved in whatever Moon’s next work is (Casanova, maybe?).

Overall, Daytripper was something magical, and beautiful, and unexpected – It’s not got the immediate hook of a lot of recent Vertigo launches, and it doesn’t fit into the five-issue-opener-and-then-more format, either. But it’s all the better for all of that. It’s not for everyone, I know, but for me? Daytripperwas Excellent.

3 Responses to “ Graeme On Daytripper: A Sunday Driver, Yeah ”

  1. Daytripper pretty much follows the tendencies set by the brothers previous material (Details by Dark Horse), so it wasn’t unexpected. While I thought the first eight issues had more of an emotional impact (for the obvious reasons), the final two kind of lazily crept by, much in tune to the type of point they were trying to make.

    While I appreciate the overall ending, the dynamic content seemed to slip a bit compared to the final death scenes of the previous issues. Overall, a great intro to the westernized masses of a type of story and finale that makes for a well rounded diet….good ruffage for those accustomed to the hamburgers of North American menus…

  2. I was very excited when this series was announced, and have enjoyed it as singles, never going back to review past issues. I knew I’d have to read it in a sitting some day, and if I’d had time recently, I’d have read 1-9 just ahead of 10’s release. I’m very glad to see this review and know that the underwhelming 10 is part of a whole that really works together. I look forward to sitting down with all ten issues and enjoying this thoughtful, lyrical and beautifully illustrated stuff as a single work. So thank you, Graeme.

  3. Yeah, thanks for shining your love-light on this series, Graeme. Although I was expecting more smooth Ba action I soon grew to love Moon’s thinner linework. As I am quite a bitter little man sometimes the writing veered a little too close to my my personal Too Precious barrier but the fact it never actually crosssed it is testament to the skill of the practitioners.

    Daytripper had wonderful art, writing, lettering and colours which made it an incredibly satisfying, and often surprising, comics experience. My thanks to all the creative personnel involved.

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