Daytripper – Fábio Moon and Gabriel Bá

January 14, 2017 § 2 Comments

First published in the English as a limited comic series in 2010
Published as a collected edition in 2011

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The first thing that caught my eye about this graphic novel, was that it was an Eisner Award winner, and also that Craig Thompson, author of Blankets and Habibi, had written an Introduction for it. Being a fan of Thompson, I decided to give this graphic novel a try.

What surprised me about the Introduction, which in hindsight, should have been quite obvious, is that it’s not “written” but illustrated instead. The page had all the markings of Thompson—intricate patterns and a daydream-like style that sucks you in without you even noticing it.

DAYT_INT.indd

The book asks you simple questions: What was the best day of your life? What is the most unforgettable moment, a memory you will cherish for the rest of your days? When did  your life take a sudden turn? How have you lived?

These are pretty deep questions, things we don’t like to dwell on, that we prefer to just quietly keep in the back of our heads, blocking it from coming up with every other mundane thing there is to think about. But these thoughts push through, every once in a while, and more often than not, at the most inopportune times.

The book starts with our protagonist at the age of 32. He is stuck in a rut. He is a writer, but not one as accomplished as his dad, which builds a certain kind of envy and jealousy that can only exist between two people so close to each other. He hasn’t published, but at 32, is it too late for him to start? Has life created long tendrils that are constantly pulling him down and holding him in place, instead of letting him spread his wings and fly?

That sparked something in me, myself having just turned 30 a few months back. Is the big 3-0 a sign that there are some things that are simply too late for me to try? Are certain things out of my reach, simply because “life” has happened? But then again, what is life, but a collection of days that I spend breathing, thinking, and doing? Does age bind me? And should I let it?

There was one panel that stood out the most:

daytripper

How often do we start conversations with friends and family, acquaintances and strangers, with the question: “So, what do you do?” How have we become a society so obsessed about how someone else makes a living? Why is it that our job positions have so much power in determining where in the social ladder we stand?

This panel gave me much to think about. Since I started working, I’ve done many different types of work. They don’t always link back to each other, and my full CV would cause most potential employers to shy away from me. I’ve recently started to find my niche, in writing and editing, but somehow, when I think of myself, I feel like I’m both a writer, and not.

This has given me much grief, especially during family gatherings or when I’m meeting new people. I dread having to explain what I do for a living. What is my job? Do I even have a job? And if I don’t, then what do I do?

But, really, does it matter whether I have a job or not? Should your opinion of me be formed simply from what my non-existent namecard says? Will you not take the time to get to know me on a more personal level? Is that not more satisfying?

Is there a day in your life that you remember so clearly, it could have been yesterday? Have you experienced a moment, or many moments, that you know changed something in you forever?

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§ 2 Responses to Daytripper – Fábio Moon and Gabriel Bá

  • michelle says:

    Those two short sentences in that single panel speak volumes. I share the same sentiments too, regarding how society (including family and friends, sometimes) tends to define a person’s worth and standing, just by looking at their profession/ job titles/ earnings.
    Seriously though, I don’t think it’s ever ‘too late’ for a person to decide to go after their dreams, as long as there’s still life and breath in them to do so. Again, it’s a question of how much you want it.
    It may probably require much more effort and determination to get past the rougher terrains now, as opposed to the more straightforward route that might have been taken earlier. But then again, if you weren’t as ready to go all out for it back then as you might be now, it would probably have been a struggle at that time too, don’t you think?

    By the way, haven’t you heard that life begins at 30? 😉
    (at any rate, I’ll have to modify that and tell myself that life begins at 40, come next month!) :p

  • mee says:

    I’m not a big fan of the “what do you do” question either, but wonder whether there’s a better ‘shortcut’ to know a stranger. For me the answer to that question is about what the person spends most of their time on, as we spend roughly a third of the day sleeping, a third working, and another third “everything else”. And perhaps in some way we all wish that the answer to “what do you do”, is indeed something you *want* to do.

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