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Frantic as a cardiograph scratching out the lines, Day 192: Daytripper #6

by  in Comic News Comment
Frantic as a cardiograph scratching out the lines, Day 192: <i>Daytripper</i> #6

Every day this year, I will be examining the first pages of random comics. Today’s page is from Daytripper #6, which was published by DC/Vertigo and is cover dated July 2010. Enjoy!

Daytripper is the 10-issue mini-series that the Brazilian wonder twins, Fábio Moon and Gabriel Bá, did for Vertigo. This page features Moon on pencils, but I have no idea how they wrote this or if Bá inked it or what – the credits simply tell us that it’s by them and that Dave Stewart (natch) colored it and Sean Konot lettered it. I do know it’s Moon on pencils, though!

It’s too bad this isn’t a more exciting page, although it does offer us plenty of foreshadowing about what’s going to happen in the comic. Whenever a character says something like “nothing bad can happen to me inside my ride,” you can be sure something bad will happen to him, and when a character takes some kind of amphetamine to keep them awake, chances are they’ll be snoozing before long. Moon and Bá, fine creators, can’t escape some clichés, and they don’t here. They also have some more foreshadowing with the news about the delays at the airport and the trucker’s assertion that he’s never flown in one – planes are very important in this issue. So while the creators can’t avoid Chekov, at least they try to do it organically.

The establishing shot shows us a truck stop, with the entrance to the right, where our eyes would finish after looking over the scene. Moon and Stewart give the interior a warm, homey glow to set it off from the gloom outside – the trucker feels comfortable inside, and the hulking trucks add to the sense of impending doom. Moon doesn’t do very much with panels or leading our eyes – he relies on a simple structure that assumes we will read this page they way we read prose, so even though he places the characters in the “correct” places – in Panel 2, the trucker is on the right, while in Panel 5, the waiter is on the right – he doesn’t do a lot to move us from panel to panel. The page is composed well, don’t get me wrong – the line from the waiter to the trucker in Panel 2; the line from the pill to the trucker in Panel 3; the line from the television to the two men in Panel 4; the line from the trucker tilting his head back to the waiter in Panel 5; and the way the trucker is framed by the empty beer, which of course is a depressant; all are well done by Moon – but it’s just not too exciting. Moon is foreshadowing, so he wants to make sure that we get it all – the amphetamine, the airport, the trucker’s beliefs, the beer. We don’t see the trucker again for some time in the book, but it’s a nice touch that he’s waving goodbye. Our eyes in that last panel move triangularly – from the glass to the trucker to the bottle – and thence to the next page. Even on a page that isn’t too creative, Moon is able to move us easily across it and make his points, both through the narrative and through the artwork.

Daytripper is well worth a look, even if some people thought it was wildly overrated. Artistically, it’s the work of two people who really know how to draw a comic. It’s often as heavy-handed as this in the writing, but Bá and Moon at least have a lot of stuff on their mind, which isn’t always the case in comics. This page shows you both the strengths and the weaknesses of the comic, which is always nice.

Today is the last day that I’m taking nominations for August’s writer-artist duos … well, unless by this date, no one has asked for any (I’m typing this on 26 June, so I don’t know what’s going to happen when all these July posts go live). I hope I have plenty of teams to choose from, but who knows, really? So nominate your favorite creative team that have put out at least 25 issues, and we’ll see if they get enough votes to be featured in August! Have fun!

Next: Does this comic really exist? It’s hard to believe it’s only been ten years since it came out, but so very much has changed since then! Seek the comfort of nostalgia in the archives!

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