Category Archives: You Read These With Your Eyes!

You Read This With Your Eyes: Daytripper

“What we call the beginning is often the end
And to make an end is to make a beginning.
The end is where we start from.”

-T.S. Elliot

We meet Brás de Oliva Domingos on his birthday. He’s sitting at a bar, wearing a tuxedo, on his way to celebrate the life of his father, who has recently passed away. There is blood on his tuxedo. He is 32.

Death looms large in the life of Brás – a fact we are made privy to very early in the time we spend with him. He writes obituaries for a newspaper, describing lives through fondly sculpted memories. His work, though prolific in its own small way, is brimming with character. He describes the life of a famous painter, who had been in love with 274 different women in his life, proof of this being found in the portraits he would make of each lover, every painting carrying the name “Lola”. You know this painter for a fleeting moment, and yet a life has been spread before you, rife with nuance.

He is a master of words – a talent handed down to him from his father – though neither would openly admit this. Brás’ father was a famous writer and in his death, he was to be celebrated – though as cruel fate would have it, this celebration would occur on Brás’ own birthday. As he reads the paper detailing the soiree, he attempts to believe that his father would’ve balked at the suggestion of having the event occur as his son would begin another year of life. Reality says otherwise, however, and Brás is given a rough start to his 32nd birthday.

In short order, we see our hero struggling to stay above water, awash in a sea of memory. His typewriter was a gift from his father. A bad habit picked up from his mother bares his father’s fingerprints, the smoke coming from his favourite brand of cigarette. Throughout our inaugural trip with Brás, these themes of death, family and the attempt to live with and without both swirl until an ending. There is blood on his tuxedo. There is a gun in his face.

Brás dies on the date of his birth – and his story begins.

WHAT ARE THE MOST IMPORTANT DAYS OF YOUR LIFE?

Do you remember your first kiss? Your first love? Your one and only love? How about first loss? Your first personal failure? Your first death? In Daytripper, recounted in stunning clarity, we see the most important days of a man’s life. We see the lessons he learns from these moments, and the way his old life dies – only to be reborn anew inside of a new phase – an ending making way for a new beginning.

Each chapter is told without an effort made towards linear chronology – in its stead, events enfold in such a way that themes bleed from one story to the next – love, leading to loss, leading to love, leading to life, and over and over and over. Viewing a life in such a way is far and away out of the ordinary, but much more fulfilling and hearty. Each note hits at just the right frequency, resonating in your bones before ebbing and transforming into a fresh one, lyrics dancing beautifully atop the music you don’t so much as hear, but feel. The tune is familiar, but surprising in parts. You live alongside Brás. You die with him over and over and over. You heart aches and your heart breaks. You are haunted.

STORYTELLING

“I guess everyone that likes comics and likes to draw has this kind of notion that the drawings are the most important thing. And we were like that in the beginning. Now we care much more about the overall story. We don’t make too much effort to determine who is doing what, because in the end all that matter is the whole thing, the story we create and put out so people can read it. We don’t care who’s drawing. The artist doesn’t matter; the story is what matters.”

-Fábio Moon from The Comics Journal No. 298, May 2009

The twins Fábio Moon and Gabriel Bá are phenomenal storytellers – though most people only know them from working with writers such as Matt Fraction on Casanova and Gerard Way on The Umbrella Academy. And while their art styles are certainly very accomplished and evocative, their greatest strength lies in the way they tell a story. In their projects with other writers, this storytelling aspect is limited, in a sense, to what they can convey using other people’s words. In such cases, their art works as a bit of a mixtape, using the poetry of others and infusing it with your own deliberate choices, in order to make something different than what would’ve been through one voice alone. Inside the pages of Daytripper – as well as other works where they act both as writers and artists, the twins are left to tell stories with their own words.

In describing what they attempted to accomplish with this story in the back of its collected volume, Fábio Moon stated, “We wanted that feeling that life was happening right there, in front of every one of us, and we were living it. And we did. And sometimes, we die to prove that we lived.”

The words sum up the work as a whole more beautifully than I could ever hope to capture it – present in every page is a life well lived – one perfectly realized and captured using the drapes of small moments, dressing the bones of large, personal events. While adding their own measure of the fantastic to the regular events in a life, the twins manage to allow this story to become larger in the readers minds. Really, the story of Brás is no different than the story of mine or yours – but by adding the aspect of death, these everyday occurrences gain meaning. As Moon said, “We die to prove that we lived.” Death gives all moments meaning.

Without thinking about the story first, and letting the art really become a part of that, to be in service of that, rather than the driving force, this point is made with a subtle touch, staying at the fringes of your mind as you continue through one man’s life. And then, of course, there’s an ending – just as there must be with everything.

BEGINNING

There’s a magic present inside Daytripper that I can’t even hope to capture. I could go on for hours, for days attempting to parse every nuance, but the would be an exercise in fruitlessness. The book is much better experienced as it was always intended – through the medium of comics, wherein words can inform pictures, and pictures can carry words. It would do your heart good to go out and experience this book. Do it soon – because before long, something new will have to begin.

Brandon Schatz // Twitter // Facebook

Submetropolitan is powered by Variant Edition Comics + Culture – Edmonton’s best source for comics, used books + mindful pop culture.
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You Read This With Your Eyes: Skyward

YRTWYE is where we recommend things that you can read. It happens with a frequency, but not as frequently as we’d like.

IT’S ALWAYS THE END OF THE WORLD SOMEWHERE

The shift happens in a moment. A sudden event, a quick shift, and the world as we knew it, the structures, the systems, is gone.

The world loves a good apocalypse. If it happens in seconds, then we’re not to blame for the things we’ve done. That’s a great hook right there. “Sure, we pushed the earth past the brink and doomed future generations with our thoughtlessness, but huzzah! The zombies are here.” So nice to think of.

I’m listening to sad boy music and reading comics today, and clearly that’s been working out well for me. Howsabout we talk about a comic that’s been sitting in my head for the past few days?

LOOK, UP IN THE SKY

One day, years ago, gravity left the earth, taking the heart of a young man with it. Years later, his daughter Willa is feeling cooped up, and is seeking release. Removed from the experience of the event and the loss of so many, this woman struggles to understand her father’s needs as he continues to live with severe agoraphobia. It’s a tie that keeps her tethered as someone needs to earn money for a place to live and to have things to eat. Frustrated by this, she sets out to solve some problems… and in doing so, sets forward events that will change the entire world again.

The world contained within Skyward is beautifully realized. A touch of science mixes with a loose, bombastic movie feel to create a vibrant story about family, friends and survival. There’s a beautiful heart at the core of this specific apocalypse, one that didn’t see the world end, but shift entirely. There are elements of conspiracy, of social disparity and of disparate ideologies that send characters crashing into each other in unique and wonderful ways. Like all good apocalypse fiction, it is a story about humanity, and the ways it evolves when faced with adversity, in good ways, and bad.

TL;DR

The end of the world is too small for Willa, and she’s looking to take to the skies to find more. Only her will starts a chain of events that will change the world around her in significant ways once more.

Recommended if you like lighter apocalypse fare, and sci-fi stories with a lot of humour and heart.


Brandon Schatz // Twitter // Facebook

Submetropolitan is powered by Variant Edition Comics + Culture – Edmonton’s best source for comics, used books + mindful pop culture.

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You Read These With Your Eyes // January 18th, 2017

On some weeks (here’s hoping most weeks) Brandon goes through everything that came in at Variant Edition and pulls out his picks for great introductory reads. Your milage may vary.

This week, there are dystopian futures, wizards, and grime-covered bible stories mixed in with some more straight forward superhero fare. Enjoy!

Continue reading You Read These With Your Eyes // January 18th, 2017

You Read These With Your Eyes // January 11th, 2017

On some weeks (here’s hoping most weeks) Brandon goes through everything that came in at Variant Edition and pulls out his picks for great introductory reads. Your milage may vary.

01. OCTAVIA BUTLER’S KINDRED GN (Abrams Comicarts)
by Octavia Butler, Damian Duffy & John Jennings

This classic sci-fi novel is adapted into a beautiful graphic novel. A couple of notes: I have yet to read the original novel, and I’m only halfway through this book, but if you do a quick search, you’ll be able to find unending articles about this book’s importance to the world of pop culture. From my experience so far (as though that particularly matters) there’s good reason for this. Whether you’re a fan of the original novel, or want to experience a particularly powerful and poignant piece of fiction, give this book a read.

(I’ll be sure to give my full thoughts on the book later. Stay tuned.)

02. GRAVE LILIES #1 (Z2 Comics)
by Cullen Bunn & George Kambadais

Cullen Bunn is one of the most prolific writers in the industry today, and for good reason. He’s one of the best, especially when it comes to creator owned content, which brings us to Grave Lilies. Along with co-creator George Kambadais, Bunn tells the story for four young women who are awoken to discover they don’t know where they are, what powers they have, and why they are being hunted. The first issue sets up an intriguing plot that will be very interesting to see play out. Keep in mind: this series comes out from Z2 Comics, a great small publisher – but as it comes from a small publisher, many stores will not stock this book, or if they do, will need to know if you’re interested in continuing with the series, as orders from smaller companies are difficult to adjust orders for.

03. DETECTIVE COMICS #948 (DC Comics)
By James Tynion IV, Marguerite Bennett, Ben Oliver & Marilyn Patrizio w/ Dave Wielgosz, Chris Conroy & Mark Doyle

Batwoman Begins here in the highly anticipated prologue to her own ongoing series. This story welcomes Batwoman writer Marguerite Bennett to the creative team to help set up the new series, and introduce a great new character to Gotham. As is typical with Batwoman stories, the art is gorgeous, with Ben Oliver turning in some of the best work of his career as the story pulls on some threads from previous Detective stories to kick off something exciting and new.

04. UNBEATABLE SQUIRREL GIRL #16 (Marvel Comics)
By Ryan North, Will Murray, Erica Henderson, Rico Renzi & Travis Lanham w/ Charles Beecham and Wil Moss

It’s Squirrel Girl’s 15th Anniversary, and Marvel has put together an amazing issue to celebrate the occasion. Not only do you get an amazing new story from the usual creative team, but Squirrel Girl co-creator Will Murray swings by for a sequence, with a cameo from Steve Ditko. Also, the story itself is a great one-off story that runs through various eras of Doreen’s life. Heartfelt and kind, like all issues of Squirrel Girl, this is a book to check out if you’re looking for a pick me up, or if you’ve always wanted a good spot to check the book out.

05. JUSTICE LEAGUE / POWER RANGERS #1 (DC Comics / Boom! Studios)
By Tom Taylor, Stephen Byrne & Deron Bennett w/ Kristy Quinn and Dafna Pleban

In full on insane news, this series exists, and it’s a ton of fun. The story begins in the Power Rangers’ world as things suddenly and swiftly go awry, bringing in… Batman? Wait, what? Yeah. So this is bonkers, but in the best ways possible. If the team-up intrigues you in any way, I highly suggest you try the book.

For a complete list of what’s out this week, you can check out our shop’s weekly Incoming post where we list everything that we’re getting.

You Read These With Your Eyes // January 4th, 2017

On some weeks (here’s hoping most weeks) Brandon goes through everything that came in at Variant Edition and pulls out his picks for great introductory reads. Your milage may vary.

01. THE UNSTOPPABLE WASP #1 (Marvel Comics)
by Jeremy Whitley, Elsa Charretier, Megan Wilson & VC’s Joe Caramagna w/ Alanna Smith & Tom Brevoort

If you’re going to try one comic book this week, let it be this. The Unstoppable Wasp is explosively good. Jeremy Whitley does a fantastic job putting all the introductory elements you want into play as Nadia flies through her first solo adventure. Giant robots and brilliant imagery fill this book, which promises science adventures for all… and includes back matter that promises to regularly feature amazing women in various fields of science talking about their passions.

02. GREEN ARROW VOL 01: THE LIFE & DEATH OF OLIVER QUEEN (DC Comics)
by Ben Percy, Otto Schmidt, & Juan Ferreyra

One of the biggest surprises (for me) from DC’s big Rebirth relaunch was this Green Arrow series. Normally I’m not one for the emerald archer, but the creative team put together an extremely compelling read. While I personally had a bit of trouble getting in with the first issue that’s collected here, once the story gets moving, it tells a high octane story that doesn’t forget to have fun. It also takes Ollie and asks what happens when a white dude who is used to throwing money at problems to make them go away is forced to find ways to do those good deeds without access to all of that green. A very compelling hook for the hero, IMO.

03. U.S.AVENGERS #1 (Marvel Comics)
By Al Ewing, Paco Medina, Juan Vlasco, Jesus Aburtov & VC’s Chris Eliopoulos w/ Alanna Smith & Tom Brevoort

Pure insanity in 20 pages. Al Ewing is the king of hilarious over-the-top action comics, and this is no exception. Combined with the powers of an amazing art team, Ewing builds something wonderful that not only takes a winking, satirical jab at the frankly insane state of America right now, but does so in a very heartfelt manner… while things continue to explode. Also, there’s a volcano.

04. A IS FOR AWFUL – A GRUMPY CAT ABC LITTLE GOLDEN BOOK
By Christy Webster & Steph Laberis

Exactly as it reads on the tin. Teach ABC’s to your precious youths with Grumpy Cat.

05. JLA REBIRTH – THE ATOM #1
By Steve Orlando, Andy MacDonald, John Raush & Clayton Cowles w/ Brian Cunningham, Amedeo Turturro & Jessica Chen

You wouldn’t think that a prelude comic to an ongoing titles spinning out of an event series would be a great first read… but then, you might not know of the considerable scripting powers of Steve Orlando. Orlando is on the cusp of being one of the next big names in the comic book industry, and his work on this title is an example of why. In the small amount of space he’s given, he and Andy MacDonald introduce The Atom to the DC Rebirth Universe, and present a heartfelt story about science and thinking small in order to do big things.

For a complete list of what’s out this week, you can check out our shop’s weekly Incoming post where we list everything that we’re getting.

Brandon Schatz // Twitter // Facebook

Submetropolitan is powered by Variant Edition Comics + Culture – Edmonton’s best source for comics, used books + mindful pop culture.
Variant Edition // Website // Twitter // Facebook // Instagram