Monday, January 17, 2011

Best comics of 2010: No. 2 (tie): daytripper

This was a surprise.
Daytripper is the life of a writer, one Bras de Oliva Domingos. Told in pivotal moments and the events leading up to them, he dies at the end of every issue. Each death is a death of a part of him, though all are presented as literal deaths.
 This is eloquent, tender, raw and brutally honest. Daytripper avoids being saccharine or cynical.  The book's creative team, Fabio Moon and Gabriel Ba, are doing the con circuit starting this year in Peru! Gabriel is the artist on the new Marvel book Casanova, written by Matt Fraction.

Moon's and Ba's art (they work in tandem on writing and illustration)has that slight distortion that reminds me of both Paul Pope and Ryan Kelly. Its fascinating, having qualities of simplicity and complexity simultaneously.
And the writing - well, the writing just pulses.

It's a book about being there for your own life, even when that means accepting your failures without ennobling them.
It's a book of wonder, not flinching from any part of the human condition.
And it's set in contemporary Brazil.

Sadly, as well received as the book was critically, it didn't translate into sales. Following issue #1, Daytripper's sales were consistently below the 10,000 copy mark, according to monthly reports at The Beat. I am hopeful that sales of the TPB, due out next month, will eclipse that.
We've speculated here in the past that the "floppy", the conventional comic book periodical, may be little more than a loss leader for TPBs in today's comic market. Based on some of the figures Colleen Doran has reported on her blog (and if you're not reading Colleen's blog, go do so right now- it's linked on this one and I'll still be here when you're done), I've come to question that blanket supposition lately.I'm not convinced that TPBs actually sell better, despite having presumably longer shelf life and a more diverse marketing and distribution platform.
But when Vertigo, a branch of DC Comics, can't move 10,000 units of so eloquent a book as Daytripper, we have a problem.
Next: Best of 2010, No. 2, part 2: light the lights!

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