Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Thoughts on Daytripper

I might do a more thorough posting down the road where I read through all of the issues I own and go through them one by one.
Instead I will just write down whatever comes to me and I can expand on it later.

Daytripper is a 10-issue series by the Brazilian twins Gabriel Ba and Fabio Moon and published by DC's Vertigo Imprint.
Normally I would say who writes and draws, but I am not entirely sure. My best guess is Moon, as Ba's style is less realistic and more kinetic. Also, I believe I saw something on their website (http://www2.uol.com.br/10paezinhos/) that shows a copy of the original art with "Series: Daytripper. Artist: Fabio (Crescent Moon Symbol)." Moon's style is less ethereal and ghostly than what I've seen in BPRD:1947 and Casanova. (As I write more, I will try to come up with better ways to describe precisely what I mean. This will surely be hard for me when it comes to aesthetics as I have no artistic education outside of music.)
I will also try to learn to have fewer digressions, though this blog is more conversational than an academic research paper.

Daytripper follows the life of one Bras de Oliva Domingos, a newspaper obituary writer. His occupation is important as every story has a tragic end. (Though I previously wrote that I don't intend this blog to be seen widely, I still wish to avoid spoilers.)
Each issue takes place at a different point in Bras' life. If I recall correctly, the chapter numbers are named after how old he is. The issues are not in chronological order, with the first featuring Bras in his early-to-mid 30s and the fifth issue featuring him at 11. I have yet to realize either the narrative reason for jumping around as they do or their explanation as to how each story ties in with the others. They obviously cannot all be "canon," as the ending of some stories clearly prevents events from playing out as the do in future stories.
As I stated earlier, each issue ends tragically. This becomes incredibly clear after the third issue (The math geek in me knows you can't establish if a trend is arithmetic or geometric without three examples. The economist in me knows you need 200+ samples for something to be statistically significant, but it'd be rather difficult and overly burdensome to get a sample size that large). What's amazing about the series is how well it can affect my emotions. Since I know the 22nd page will always end in tragedy, I start to tense up and nearly have an anxiety attack on page 18. Every time I hope that our heroes will be able to escape their tragic fate, and every time I am crushed. Perhaps the series is a reflection on the inevitability of death as well as the irrational reactions have despite the fact that we are always aware of that inevitability.

Matt Fraction has worked with the twins on the series Casanova. He stated (I think here: http://wordballoonpodcast.wordpress.com/2010/04/12/matt-fractions-fireside-qa-part-2/) that he would be screwed once they realized that they did not need writers. While they already showed their writing chops on works like De:Tales, Ursula, and Pixu: Mark of Evil, Daytripper should make it clear to everyone else that they never needed writers.
The twins are able to make me care about the smallest moments and can emphasize the gravity of the largest. I was so surprised this past week, which featured the release of the Bendis-Coipel Siege #4 and Daytripper #6. In Siege, Iron Man uses a helicarrier as a bullet to defeat the Sentry. Not to disparage Coipel's art, but my reaction was simply, "meh." I love his work on Thor and have enjoyed numerous Bendis comics, but the use of the spectacle in superhero comics has severely diminishing returns. One can only do those huge, epic moves so many times before they wear themselves out. It's a case of one-upmanship with an easily-reached upper bound. It felt void (pun kind-of intended) of emotion and lacked any emotional resonance for me.

Daytripper #6 on the other hand made me gasp when I saw the issue's first tragic event. Though I read Siege before Daytripper, the former did not desensitize me to the latter. The scene in question was pulled off brilliantly, with Bras' wife giving a tour and finding a plume of smoke out in the far city. (If I figure out how to include scans, I might start doing that.) From there, we move to the panicked news room, where Bras is given the order to go to an airport. The "camera" on the bottom right hand page looks at Bras with some strong lighting in front of him. The page turn leaves the reader on an emotionally devastating plane crash. It struck me with a kind of emotional resonance than an actual plane crash would. Even someone answering a phone call later in the issue has more emotional resonance than found throughout Siege. It is clear that Ba and Moon are able to engage their audience because their heart and soul is truly in the work. That seems to be one of the clearest reasons to do creator-owned work. Beyond being able to capitalize further on any success of the property, one is able to invest himself or herself fully and produce a work of art.
(Scott McCloud and Roger Ebert have caused me to question what the true definition of art is. My definition would be more limited than McCloud, who defines art as anything produced that is not rooted in the desire to survive or reproduce. However, I find Ebert's belief that art requires an authorial control to be incredibly arbitrary, especially considering how collaborative film is and how any choices by the writers and directors must be filtered through an actor. I see literature and sequential art as the true auteur's media. Perhaps I will have a later chance to expound on that further.)

I'm not going to ensure that every post has a proper beginning, middle, and end. I will likely stop whenever I don't have a constant stream of thoughts to keep putting down. We'll see how that turns out.

First Post

Seeing as how it is 2010, this is by no means an attempt to get ahead of the curve by creating a blog. I honestly do not even intend for this to be a public forum. I see this blog as a tool for motivation.
The name for this blog came to me last night (5/17/2010) as I was thinking of the third volume of Scott Pilgrim, "Scott Pilgrim and the Infinite Sadness." While the term "Infinite Restoration" has apparently shown up in Bible discussions, this blog does not concern theology. I hope to use this as a place to keep my writing skills sharp, as I am currently in a situation where they could easily get rusty. I want to use it to set goals for myself and constantly improve and further myself. In a tangential way, that led me to the title, "Infinite Restoration." Perhaps Perpetual Restoration would have been better to hint at that constant state of self-improvement, but using the word Infinite just makes it sound cooler.

Most likely, I will use this blog to better flesh out any thoughts I currently have on comics or politics. I have plenty of opportunities to discuss politics in depth with friends, so this will probably be for more random tangents or incredibly obscure topics that I would otherwise not be able to discuss. I imagine when the next issue (#7) of Daytripper comes out, I will be able to expound on precisely why I feel it to be such an excellent series. (Of course, to do that, I probably need to read the magical realist works of authors like Garcia Marquez, as I will likely use the term "magical realism" when discussing the tone and Latin American adventures of Gabriel Ba and Fabio Moon.)

I don't know the degree to which I should include biographical data. I will stick with saying I am an '09 college graduate currently looking to start a career. As I don't intend to promote this blog, there should be little danger in including that information. But I'll wait to see how things turn out.