Is it too much to ask for an explanation? To want some kind of closure to a story? In Daytripper #1 from DC’s Vertigo comic line, Fabio Moon and Gabriel Bá showed us the life of Brás Domingo, a simple man trying to live in the shadow of his famous father. While his father was a great writer, Brás own career hadn’t quite taken off as he was working the obituary desk at the local newspaper, writing about the death of other people while he seemed to be waiting for his own life to begin. His life was never going to begin though as he was simply in the wrong place at the wrong time. Stepping in a bar for a quick drink before going to see more honors bestowed upon his father, he got caught in the middle of a robbery, was shot and killed. That’s how Daytripper began and for the next 8 issues, we would continue to see the life and death of Brás on a monthly basis.
After nine issues of this, I guess I hoped that in the final issue Moon and Bá would give us an explanation to the apparent many lives of Brás, to give us some idea what was actually happening, how we we seeing these separate but connected versions of his life and these many deaths occurring at various points in his life. This last issue, instead of ending with Brás death, begins with his birth seventy six years ago but quickly jumps to the current day, with Brás getting some news from the doctor. In this final issue, Moon and Bá twist the conventions of this series that they set up beginning with the origins of life. It begins with birth. Throughout this series, Bá and Moon have never been morbid or brooding. For a book that has concluded each issue with the death of the main character, Daytripper has never been about death. Moon and Bá have been showing us all of the possibilities that exist for one person and all of the opportunities, both good an bad, that we face. Each issue has been about reminding us to live because life is finite and you never know when it will end.
In Daytripper #10, Brás is an old man and it’s almost painfully obvious that death can’t be that far away. That’s where Bá and Moon twist their story; we’ve never seen Brás prepared for death. They have never shown him knowing he was going to die or able to accept it. Beginning the issue with his birth, Moon and Bá can’t much more explicitly tell us that this is an issue and a whole series, about life. In some ways it doesn’t matter how we die, they remind us but it does matter how we live.
So those nine previous lives and nine previous deaths we’ve read, what about them? How have those stories lead to this point and how do they all tie together? If they did anything, I think they prepared us for this final issue, trying to teach us about life. It’s not like they were trying to express any didactic life lessons but they were trying to teach us to be prepared for death. With it happening in each issue, it started out as shocking but became almost invisible at some point. It was there in each issue but when it happens on a regular basis, does it begin to lose any meaning it could possibly have? And when it happens as randomly as being hit by a truck on a highway, can there be any meaning to it?
With an ambitious story like this, I don’t know if Moon and Bá could have answered every question they raised. I don’t even know if this story needed the closure to it that I was originally looking for in Daytripper #10. If you require any explanation or logic behind this series, hopefully it’s enough to just accept that this story is about a man and his life. Events will happen that will alter or end the course of your life and what matters is how we accept and face those events.