The protagonist dies (and that’s not a spoiler)

I just finished reading Daytripper, the 2011 Eisner Award winner for best limited series, written and illustrated by Brazilian twins Fábio Moon and Gabriel Bá. I must say, I didn’t expect to be THAT entertained by it. Partly because it’s about everyday life, partly because I haven’t read anything from the duo before so I didn’t really know what to expect.

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Daytripper deluxe edition from Vertigo Comics. Collects all 10 issues of the award-winning series.

First of all, let me praise Vertigo Comics for producing such a beautiful hardcover volume. I’ve always liked their deluxe editions but this is definitely one of my favorites as far as physical appearance goes. The art on the dust jacket is very inviting – colorful in a most soothing way, dynamic but gentle on the eyes.

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The design for the hardcover is the exact opposite, being black and white, but it is equally delightful. I like the clean white surface with the Bá’s illustration of Brás de Oliva Domingos, the book’s main character.

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I also like the black spine, accentuated by silver lettering, which gives the book its simple elegance.

Now, on to the story. Or, more accurately, stories. The book revolves around Brás who works as an obituary writer for a local newspaper. He dreams of someday publishing a book and following the footsteps of his father, who happens to be a world-renowned Brazilian writer. Sounds normal enough, right? Except each issue tells a different story from a different point in Brás’ life, and what makes it more interesting is that he dies at the end of each chapter. (Yes, you read that right.)

In one issue, Brás struggles with his job and his relationship with his father, and then he dies.

In another issue, Brás is a kid without a care in the world, and then he dies.

In another issue, Brás is a successful writer, recognized by everyone, and then he dies.

And each of his deaths happen at the most inconvenient, unexpected moment. You might find it weird, unappealing or even nonsensical, but taken as a whole, the book expounds on the fleeting nature of our existence, invites us to question the things we value, and ultimately dives head-first into the discussion on what living life really means. It is one of those rare works that can be considered a must-read for everyone – truly an emotionally-charged masterpiece.

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My favorite quote from the book: “There is no one way to live or to die. Will the choices you make to do the former affect how you’ll do the latter?”

Check out more from the creators on their blog: http://fabioandgabriel.blogspot.com/

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Saturday night reading list

This weekend I’ll be checking out three new releases from Image Comics. Over the past couple of years, Image has been silently taking over my comic book reading list with their catchy, unique and oftentimes over-the-top serials. If you’re interested in trying out graphic novels but feel like the superhero genre isn’t quite your thing, I suggest you check out their titles. Here’s what I picked up.

Saints

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Saints #1 by writer Sean Lewis and artist Benjamin Mackey.

“Blaise, Lucy, and Sebastian discover a Holy War is erupting and they, unwittingly, are the next generation of Saints poised to fight for a heaven that God has abandoned.”

From Under Mountains

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From Under Mountains #1 by writers Claire Gibson and Marian Churchland. Art by Sloane Leong.

“In the first issue of this new fantasy series, old feuds and new monsters rise up to haunt the isolated northern fortress of Karsgate.”

Paper Girls

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Paper Girls #1 by writer Brian K. Vaughan and artists Cliff Chang and Matt Wilson.

“In the early hours after Halloween of 1988, four 12-year-old newspaper delivery girls uncover the most important story of all time. Stand By Me meets War of the Worlds in this mysterious young adult adventure.”

Check out more from Image Comics here: https://imagecomics.com/comics/series

Meet the Marches

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A leather-bound copy of Little Women, which includes the follow-up volume, Good Wives. Cover art by Jessica Hische, cover design by Jo Obarowski and book design by Patrice Kaplan.

I’m taking a break from all the horror and dystopian fiction I’ve been reading with this classic from Louisa May Alcott. I’ve only read the first 10 chapters but what a pleasant read it has been so far. There is something so delightful about tales that remind us of simpler times – back when you and your siblings were all staying under one roof with nothing to do other than think of silly ways to keep yourselves from getting bored. Back then, your imagination gave life to the most mundane objects. Your biggest problem was to fit in with the other kids and being scolded in front of the class felt like the end of the world. We’ve all been there, and that’s what makes the book so charming.

It’s easy to see why Little Women is a classic: it appeals to everyone, and everywhen. Any child who reads it could definitely relate with the March sisters; their squabbles, their unbreakable bond and their deference to their “Marmee.” Adults, meanwhile, can appreciate the book’s myriad of lessons even more, having lived long enough to know their truths. Reading the novel feels almost like you’re getting a lecture from your parents all over again, and you can’t help but get a bit nostalgic as you go through each chapter. At the center of it all is family, and Alcott definitely went straight for the heart with her masterpiece.