Putting the names Gabriel Bá and Fabio Moon together on a comic book is the sort of thing that makes the industry take note.
The twin Brazilian artists already have more than one Eisner Award between them for their work on projects like The Umbrella Academy with Gerard Way, the self-published anthology 5 and the digital comic Sugarshock! with Joss Whedon.
Yet the idea of it being "big," exciting news that the two are launching their own 10-issue Vertigo mini-series this week is almost the antithesis of the comic's unique theme. With Daytripper, Bá and Moon explore how sometimes the smallest moments in a person's life end up being the most significant.
Set in the pair's native Brazil, the comic's title explains the basic premise for Daytripper, as readers are taken on a trip each issue to one day in the life of the main character, an aspiring novelist named Brás.
But readers shouldn't let the simplicity of that premise fool them. By the end of the first issue, the story takes a turn that won't quite register and develop until the series gets further underway. And through the intimate moments in the man's life, and the twist that gives his story an even greater weight, Daytripper becomes a surprisingly personal story of love, loss, and the importance of making every moment in life count.
Newsarama talked to Bá and Moon about the idea behind Daytripper and why they think this story of Brás will end up feeling more like a story about each person who reads it.
Newsarama: How did the two of you come up with the idea for this story?
Gabriel Bá: The first idea I had about Daytripper - not even with this name yet – had been several years back, just a line of thought that is in fact the big twist of the series. Everything else was developed after Bob Schrek liked this idea and asked for a more detailed pitch to show Vertigo, when we really came up with the whole concept of the story . Suddenly, all the right ideas popped up, like the character's name, Brás, his profession and his relation with his father.
Nrama: What's the meaning of the title "daytripper?"
Bá: Every new day something can happen or you can meet someone that will change your life forever. These kinds of surprises make life an adventure and that's the kind of feeling we want the readers to have on Daytripper. So we're following the main character's life on various moments that, in a way or another, will shape who he is and who he'll become.
Nrama: Tell us about Brás. Who is he?
Bá: Brás wants to be a writer, but right now he just writes obituaries for the newspaper. We don't know if he's there because he had no other choice or if it was because of the pressure of being the son of a famous novelist. Brás is not where he wanted to be and things not always happen the way he wished they would, and this is the perfect setting for us to make everything change in his life, right?
Nrama: Who are the supporting characters in the story? What role do they play?
Bá: His father, Benedito, has a big role on the story, being the great novelist that has always cast a shadow over his son. No matter what part of Brás life that we're showing, his family will be there somehow.There's also his friend Jorge, who works with him at the newspaper and who he met in college. His relationship with Brás is long lasting and strong, losing only to the family itself.
Fabio Moon: What role does any supporting character play? They enhance the main character's beliefs, his emotions, his choices. They make the main character more human, frail, and they'll help us (the readers) like him or dislike him more. Like any person we might know, we like them because of his or her actions in relations with everybody else around this person.
Nrama: Is his story at all autobiographical for you two?
Bá: We are dealing with subjects very close to our hearts and we want to be very truthful about them in a way that if feels true to the reader as well. But we have to remember that we are telling a story of fiction. There's a lot of references on the story about people we know, places we've been, authors and stories we like, but that's a very deep layer of this book. The main focus is to tell a story that all the readers can relate to. It's not a story about us, it's about anyone.Moon: Nothing in the story that happens to Brás happened to us, but everything could. We certainly felt like he feels in some moments of the story, but for different reasons, and as much as we brought our own feelings to the story, the story itself is made by those different reasons in Brás' life.
Nrama: Will readers experience some places you have been?
Bá: Brazil is a very big country with places tremendously different from one another, and the life experiences that can happen on these places are obviously diverse. All these settings reflect the aspects of Brás' life and persona that we want to portray. Like living in a big chaotic city and working on a big newspaper helps showing his confusion about his profession and his relation with his family. When he was younger, things were simpler and it makes sense to have him traveling around the country free as a bird. Life is an ocean of possibilities and he's swimming without a drop of fear on his heart. Having a wide range of settings to help us with the story is one of the big advantages of telling it here in Brazil.Moon: São Paulo is the main backdrop, as Brás is a big city guy, so whenever he'll go to all these different places, from a beautiful beach to an exotic town to the countryside, he'll be experiencing it just like us, with fresh new eyes.
Nrama: Fabio, how did the story influence the art style you used on this comic?
Moon: I'm trying to make the comic as seductive as I can, because that's such a big difference from my perception of São Paulo and all of Brazil to anywhere else we could have set the story at. I remember reading a book and thinking I wanted to live where that book took place because the author made it really interesting in a way I fell in love with the place. I want people to want to have a little bit of that. I want to live there, I want to have that guy's problems even, because those are the kind of problems worth getting in trouble for. I want people to look at the comic and feel they're meeting their new best friend, or their new lover, and I want readers to never want to leave.Nrama: I read the first and second issue, so I know the surprising turn it takes. It brings up so questions about life itself. Without giving away what happens, can you tell us anything about the underlying message of this twist and thus the comic itself?
Moon: I guess we can plan all we want, but sometimes life has other plans for us, and so life, for all of us, is an adventure worth discovering every single day. Every single day, life can change, life can start, end, change it's course or just get a lot more complicated. Every day, we can fall in love, fall out of it, be happy and sad and all in-between, so it all comes down to this: as we live life, are we paying attention?
Nrama: Gabriel, this is a very personal story. Was it difficult for you to write about this man's life?
Bá: When an author writes a story and creates a character, people may think he's putting himself on that story and that the character is some sort of alter ego. Since Fábio and I are coming with this story together, it's neither just my view nor his we have to portray, but a mixture of that. This way, I think only the most significant elements survive the filtering done by both of us and we end up with a better story.
Never the less, these are subjects close to our hearts, things that really matter to us and we want people to notice them and take a pause to think about their own lives. But it's really ordinary life stuff and that's the real beauty of it. This is not a story about me, or my life. It's not about Brás. It's about whoever takes this book on his hands and reads it.
Nrama: Is there anything else you want to tell readers about Daytripper?
Bá: Daytripper is a story about life and how it's such a great adventure. Every new chapter is a ride worth taking. Every new issue can bring more and more surprises. As much as in life itself, we never expect them to come and, once they do, we're forever changed. Be there and take that chance. Let Daytripper change your life too.