Man, here's the deal with Ba and Moon's Daytripper. The main character is interested in like you know, seeing the world and experiencing stuff and like, man, think about how everything is just like by chance and you know, you could be just swimming in the ocean while your best bro takes photos and bam, you take a break to chill on a boat and you meet a real fine chick (#2) or like, you're taking a few moments for yourself at a crappy bar but like, it's cool the bar's crappy because that means it's authentic, and you really need a drink because your dad is famous and getting some mad important award and you're not famous or getting awards and that sucks and then like man, some real aggro dude comes in and needs some "H" so he fires his gun and yo, he totally ices you (#2). Maybe. It's about chance and fate so maybe it isn't what we think. So deep and heavy. Like films by that French guy Gaspar Noe or Quentin Tarantino or even Crash--I sold my DVD of Crash though, my African-American studies prof told me it wasn't as insightful as I thought it to be.
Before reading Daytripper, I knew Gabriel Ba and Fabio Moon were brothers, but it was only reading two issues of Daytripper that I realized they were, yes, bros. To steal from Hipster Runoff they're chill, alt-bros to be exact.
Now, it isn't that a comic book or any kind of art can't be about the privileged or the well-to-do or the plain clueless, that even the tiniest of existential crises aren't worth delving into, but Daytripper takes it all at such face value, so sincerely, that it becomes deeply insincere. It all kinda becomes really clear when Bras and the girl in the boat are wandering through a Brazilian tchotchke shop with Bras' best bro, who's busy taking photos of everything. The girl explains to Bras: "It's through his photo that he tells us his dreams".
Okay? Seriously. Fuck this girl. Look, it's 2010. Can you make any piece of art about a bunch of attractive well-to-do people experiencing foreign places via nazel-gaving journaling or douchey photographs and not sorta, kinda, maybe question it? Even just a bit? Now, I'm not saying it's the Sao Paulo-born brothers' duty to approach stuff from this angle, if anything is clear in Daytripper it's that you don't have to be a dopey white guy to grossly misrepresent and misunderstand cultures, even your own, but it's kind of amazing that they could approach a group of characters without any insight. There's not even a kind of jabbing and playful, yet serious and sympathetic critique of traveling and self-discovery as seen in say, Darjeeling Limited, this is just all at face value.
Probably not very fair--but this isn't a fair review--but I finally got around to Tardi's West Coast Blues last night and one of the most fascinating aspects of it is how the main character, George Gerfaut is having a sort of existential crisis, something of a real one too as he ultimately leaves his nice life for vagrancy for a while, and how the comic never presents this as hip or cool or searching or anything. It's depression. Not ennui or a rejection of the middle-class. Just a selfish guy being a fool. You still feel his sadness, his confusion, but it's always put into focus. That's an approach that would've helped Daytripper a bit.
But really any kind of something would help Daytripper. To even say Ba and Moon are journaling here would imply they reveal anything about the character or his feelings in an interesting or touching way. They don't. Because they don't need to. The audience for this work feels the same way as the brothers and their character. All of it's just sorta absorbed through osmosis. So slip off your Urban Outfitters Vans, put your Animal Collective LP on, and chill out to Daytripper, bro.