Making killing off the main character work

At the end of each chapter in Daytripper the main character, Bras de Oliva Domingos dies only to start the next chapter alive again, and at a different point in his life.

That might seem a little spoiler-y, but come on it happens in the first chapter. And even with that knowledge, you should still read this devastating and beautiful graphic novel by twin brothers Gabriel Ba (of Umbrella Academy fame) and Fabio Moon.

So yeah, they kill off the main character, the protagonist of their book every chapter and resurrect him again when you turn the page. I can’t explain how it works or why it works, I can just testify that it does.

Bras is an obituary writer, the only son of a famous Brazilian author. His mother calls him a miracle baby and is fond of telling the story of his birth (which is pretty awesome), and how Bras almost never was.

It’s pretty heavy life and death stuff here, what with the character dying all the time. But it’s interesting how the emotion builds and each death feels a little more devastating than the last. With all the new information you learn in the current chapter, you reflect on how if the previous chapter had been the last all the wonderful stuff Bras would have missed out on — births, lovers, etc.

The graphic aspect of this graphic novel matches wonderful with the South American magical realism of the story. The colors are bold even though the illustrations themselves are a little floaty, dreamy.

It all adds up to a stunning graphic novel about life and death and what it means to be human. It sounds so big and abstract, but when you think about all this while reading about the life of one man, it’s not so big or unspecific.

It’s kind of hard to talk about because this is one of those books you just feel in your gut. You can’t explain the specifics of why it’s so amazing without giving too much away. But what I can tell you is that it has catapulted onto the list of the Ten Best Graphic Novels I’ve Ever Read, right up there with Maus, Persepolis, and Blankets.

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