Gabriel Bá and Fábio Moon reveal their literary influences
I asked Gabriel Bá and Fábio Moon to reveal their literary influences and inspirations for their stunning new limited series DAYTRIPPER and here's what Fábio replied:
I think it all started with Capitães de Areia (Captains of the Sand), by Jorge Amado. There we were, 12 or 13 years old, reading a book for our Portuguese class about this gang of children who lived in the streets of Salvador and had to steal to make a living. They did much worse than stealing, and most suffered the consequences of their actions, but at that time what really got us hooked was the fact that this was a story about kids our age and it was told in a way you really wanted to get to know those characters. They were charismatic, vicious and sexy. We wanted to be part of that gang, we wanted Pedro Bala to be our friend, and we were really impressed by this story we felt could had happened to us.
At the same time, we read for the first time The Building by Will Eisner. There it was, just like in Capitães de Areia, regular characters and regular places told in such a way you also felt that could have happened in your building with people you knew. After reading that book, I never looked at any building without wondering about its history and about its ghosts. And I guess that's when we saw for the first time that we could create powerful stories about ordinary people, not only in books but also in comics.
While our comic book flame was kept burning by everything we could put our hands on, from The Dark Knight Returns to Watchmen to Moonshadow to the X-Men, there wasn't anything as influential in the way we wrote during high school as poetry. There was something magical about writing poetry, about having to shorten sentences to make them fit the metric, to choose your words so much that those words were more than words, for they had several meanings and meant infinite things depending on how you used them. Also, because of the metrics and the rhymes, poetry had a sound when read--a music all its own, and it was sexy. Manuel Bandeira, Fernando Pessoa and many others were the poets we read, loved and absorbed like a sponge, and that music of the way words sound was the foundation of our dialogues, and it led us right to plays, where dialogue is almost everything you have to work on to build your stories, and we dove straight into Shakespeare and the Greek tragedies. The best lessons about dialogue we took from plays and poetry and, the same way poetry uses words so they're more than just words, we believe comic book use images so they're more than just images.
But lets get back to more Brazilian authors (Fernando Pessoa was Portuguese) who influenced us.
Machado de Assis is considered the greatest writer of Brazilian literature. His biggest strength, perhaps, was on his use of narration as a way to manipulate the story, the characters and even the reader. His narrators were often ironic and humorous, and irony was never as charming. We had the opportunity to adapt one of his short stories into a graphic novel in 2007, called O Alienista ( the Alienist), and it was a great learning experience on how to build a narrative with the images that would add and complement the narrative of the words instead of just summarizing or explaining it.
Finally, the writer closest to our hearts is João Guimarães Rosa. His style of prose, both archaic and colloquial, was elegant, lyrical, poetic and magical, and you were bound to keep reading his stories as soon as you started. His most famous work, Grande Sertão: Veredas (translated to English as "The Devil to Pay in the Backlands) is an incredible epic that shook us to our core, in an amazingly complex story of vengeance and justice among gangs of thieves, ranchers and soldiers, all that permeated by this sensitive story of the friendship and undisclosed love. Here, the narrator is telling his own story, so the structure of the story goes back and forth in time, without any chronological order, the same way our memory remembers certain details and facts. To be able to tell a story like that and keep the attention of the reader all the way through was something that had really inspired us to do something similar someday, and I think maybe there's this influence in the way we structured DAYTRIPPER.