My first introduction to the format of Daytripper – the graphic novel format – was a series of comic books called Tintin. Tintin is a famous comic book series that feature Tintin the reporter and his dog Snowy on their adventures around the world. The stories are among my favorite in their scope and suspense, and I believe much of the impact they had one me was a result of the format. The imagery and words together provides a foothold for the imagination, and when pulled off well, can provide a more compelling experience to the user than just words alone.
Daytripper follows the story of Brás throughout his life. Each chapter, except the last, sees him die at a different part of the story. My interpretation is that the story is a giant “what-if?” While from Brás’ viewpoint, the story reads like a “what if I died here?” To me, it reads like a “what if I lived?” The books are organized non-chronologically. It starts with Brás as a middle aged man though. The choice to me seemed more appropriate than having the chapters go in order. By starting off with an older character, the author is able to establish the circumstances and issues in Brás’ life. The character is developed and plot points constructed in the first chapter itself.
The series revolves around the concept of death. It seems to give the idea more weight and meaning than many other stories I’ve read. One of the most powerful moments for me was when Jorge calls from Rio to confirm that he is not dead. Brás spent the month assuming that his best friend had died on a plane crash and was depressed as a result. What really struck me though was Jorge’s reasoning to not come home. He said that he “can’t go back to that life,” because “life is too short” (Vol. 6 p. 20). It really made me take a step back and think about myself and what I would regret if I died today. There aren’t that many moments in stories I read where I really stop and think introspectively.