Gabriel Bá and Fábio Moon have got plenty of good reasons to sit back and coast on their successes of the last several years, but the brothers are determined to do anything but taking it easy.
This December, the Eisner-winning artists behind such acclaimed projects as "Sugar Shock," "Umbrella Academy," and "BPRD: 1947" will present "Daytripper," their first original title from DC Comics' Vertigo imprint - and no, the series has absolutely nothing to do with either the Beatles song or the long-defunct Marvel comics character of the same name. The comic, which jumps around moments in the life of Brazilian aspiring novelist and newspaper obituary writer Brás de Oliva Domingos, will follow the main character as he explores and evaluates his own existence and attempts to discover the answer behind the mystery of the meaning of life itself.
CBR News spoke with the twin Brazilian brothers to glean more information about the enigmatic title and to learn about the unique challenges and creative processes behind "Daytripper."
CBR News: What is the central concept behind "Daytripper?"
Fábio Moon: Any day can be the most important day of your life. Any given day, something can happen that will change your life. Any given day, you can meet someone and your life will never be the same. This is your life, one day at a time. Make it count.
Gabriel Bá: Also, "Daytripper" is about putting the puzzle together of what do you want to do with your life, and how exactly do you join this weird pieces life has given you to make your plans become a reality. How will your life, your friends, and your family help you or get in your way?
You've mentioned previously that the main story is about a young newspaper writer in Brazil who is aspiring to be a novelist. Is this story autobiographical at all?
Moon: Of course. We just forget to mention in the story the young writer has a twin brother.
Bá: And that what he really wants is to be a comic book author, but he's too embarrassed to tell his father that, so he says he wants to be a novelist.
Moon: It's our view of this world, which is our own world, but at the same time, it's completely made up. I think every writer puts something of himself or herself in the work, even if it's about aliens. I think there are a lot of information in the story that comes from our personal experience as much as from the research we did for the story, or even stories we heard or got from friends. But it all only works in the story if it works as good fiction. Fiction will result in stories you believe, no matter how unbelievable they are.
The hook that has been permeating the promotion of "Daytripper" is the big twist that you've got at the end of the first issue. While I know you can't reveal any actual details about the surprise, I wondered how difficult it was to write something like that. Did you start with the twist and write backwards from there, or did it come about organically?
Bá: When I came back to the first line I wrote down on paper about what eventually became "Daytripper," the twist was already there. I can say it was the initial spark that made me curious to see where I could go with it, and it made Fábio curious also, so he joined and made the whole story his own, and it made Bob and everyone else curious as well. When I work with Fábio, there's always one element that starts the process. It can be one interesting image, or one line of dialogue. If we agree on that one element, we build our story around that common ground.
Moon: I don't think we're writing backwards. We always like to know what happens next in our stories. We specially like to know how each story ends, and we always write towards that ending.
The story jumps around in this character's life, hence the title "Daytripper," but is that the entire story, or is there a central time period where we follow the character?
Bá: We'll jump around as much as it's needed in order to really know how some life choices of Brás came to be, or to have a good notion of how your life can change, and how do you manage to stay the same, to stay yourself, while living it.
Moon: There're at least half of the issues that are closer to each other. But it works like memories. One memory from yesterday can take you back ten years before you come back to find out what will happen tomorrow.
"Daytripper" is scheduled to have only 10 issues - do you plan on expanding the project if it does well, or does your story completely end at issue 10?
Moon: We're building this story like a puzzle, so in order to see the big picture, we came up with 10 pieces. If we were to look at the story in a different angle, I'm sure other pieces would arise, but the pieces we need for this story are there in the 10 issues. Hey, even if you only look at one piece, you might think that's the entire story, as each chapter was also created to work on it's own. If that one issue is the only "day" you'll be around with us, we better make that day count, right?
Bob Schreck has mentioned in interviews that it was your initial pitch for "Daytripper" that won him over - was there anything you recall about the pitch that seemed particularly special to you?
Bá: We looked good delivering it.
Moon: That's almost true. I think the pitch gains a lot of interest because of our background. I think the fact that we come from Brazil, and the way all the stories we told show how "Brazilian" we are, or at least how interestingly "foreign" all these seemly ordinary stories come out on paper, all that made the pitch much more interesting. Bob had read everything we had done prior to the pitch, and he wanted us to multiply that by 100%. And we did.
Bá: I think the pitch sounded true to Bob's ears. He recognized himself in what we wanted to tell, and he believed in our story the same way we did as we delivered that pitch. And we looked good doing it.
What is it like working with each other on this project?
Moon: It's like coming home. We wrote and drew stories for almost 10 years together before we really started to work with other writers, and that's the most comfortable "battle" for us. Making comics is a battle, you know, and you struggle, and you have to conquer your ground every day. Even if your writer wants to fight the same battle you're fighting, it's much easier when you're working with somebody who's right next to you, fighting there side-by-side.
What do you think was your greatest challenge for "Daytripper?"
Bá: The covers.
Moon: Yeah, the covers. We always say in interviews, we're not really comfortable doing covers, which we're still not, even if Bá was nominated for an Eisner this year for his recent "Casanova" and "Umbrella [Academy]" covers, but we felt that "Daytripper" was such a personal project for us that it needed our covers to have a complete package from the twins. And these covers are a lot of work.
Bá: We're much better at telling a story with pages and pages than at putting everything into one image, and there's so much we have to make fit into each cover. It's been really rewarding after the covers get done. I think each new cover gets better than the last, but it's a constant challenge.
Moon: I think this entire story has a flavor. It's the Brazilian accent, you might say, and to make sure this flavor remains fresh and clear is a lot easier inside the book than on the cover.
Why do you think fans and readers will be excited to read it?
Moon: Because I think we're creating a story that will keep the readers guessing. We're taking the readers on a ride to a strange new world, we're talking about the dreams that wake us up.
Bá: Because we rock!
Bá: Seriously, now, I think we've been very fortunate with our recent projects. I think we grew as storytellers in every one of them, from "De: TALES" to "Casanova" to "Umbrella Academy" to "Sugar Shock" to "5" to "PIXU" to "BPRD 1947." We love doing comics, and we're always trying to do the best we can. We're super excited about "Daytripper," and we believe it's the best thing we've done so far, and we hope all this excitement is contagious.
What aspect of "Daytripper has both of you the most excited?"
Fábio: It's finally coming out! Stories are only really working when they're told, when they're read, so we had this feeling for over a year that this story still didn't exist, and to finally have it out will make it exist because it will be read.
Bá: I think "Daytripper" is really different from anything we've been doing, so I'm excited to see where this story will take us, and where this story will take the readers.
Check out "Daytripper #1," in stores December 9.