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Friday, 21 February 2014

I Die at Midnight

Written and drawn by: Kyle Baker
Published by: Vertigo/DC Comics

What’s it about?
(from the back of the book:)"The Good News is Muriel has decided to take Larry back."
"The Bad News is Larry's just swallowed a bottle of pills."

Written and drawn by Kyler Baker for Vertigo Comics' pre-millennial "V2K series", I Die at Midnight is an original graphic novel mixing a bit of comedy, a dash of comedy and some romance in the background in a fast-paced well-animated story against the clock.

I Die at Midnight follows a man named Larry. The girl of his dreams just walked out on him. Left without any more purpose, Larry decides to kill himself. He empties an entire bottle of pills...

...But that is precisely when Muriel changes her mind and decides to come back!

And if that wasn't enough... did I mention this was all taking place on New Year's Eve?!

I Die at Midnight is a fun fast paced story set against the whole Year 2000 phobia (it does play a part in the story, at the end!) about fighting for a reason to live.
What is good about it?
I Die at Midnight is a pretty fun book, fast paced and well "animated". Kyle Baker's a fantastic illustrator and knows how to move his characters around. It's cartoony, without being exaggerated. It's colorful, without silly. It's gritty, without falling for clichés. 
In fact Baker's book nominated him for an Eisner Award that year, for the category Best Writer/Artist: Humor.

Kyle Baker was getting pretty experimental at the time. Like most of his work around that era, I Die at Midnight has its text mostly featured outside the panels. While it might take some getting used to or surprise some, I always found it a very neat trick to let the art breath and the characters move around freely. It's an original touch from Kyle Baker.
Did I also mention how gorgeous his art, colors and characters look like? They're so expressive and full of life!

What is bad about it?
Simply put, a story focuses around an attempt suicide (to say it boldly) might not be your idea of a comedy.

Our character does eat a bottle of fictive pills, but the intent is here. It's just used here as plot device, but the fact that it is here might bother some readers.

I Die at Midnight is also one of these early 2000s comics where Kyle Baker started heavily using computer-generated backgrounds. It's not on the same scale of levels as his Deadpool Corps works, but it's difficult to focus in some of his settings (particularly Times Square). While I really liked the self-promotion and the idea, the results are a bit messy....

It clashes a bit with the handdrawn characters.

What’s the art like?
Our hero will run all around the pages in this quick-paced comedy/thriller! There's not one single minute to spare in these 60+ pages and the story keeps up the pace:

More information
I Die at Midnight
V2K Vertigo Comics (DC Comics), 2000, color, 64 pages - Graphic Novel
Priced originally at USD$6.95
ISBN: 1199649481

Further reading
If you liked this book, be sure to check out other Kyle Baker books:
Why I Hate Saturn his famous graphic novel and Eisner Winning comic
You Are Here previously reviewed here already
And for superhero fans you can always check out his:
Plastic Man on-going series from DC Comics a couple years back.
Which also showcase some of his best work as you can see here here or here

Or at Marvel, his more recent work such as:
Deadpool Corps but his quite experimental, featuring mostly 3D computer models
Deadpool Max

Or other books from the publisher Vertigo Comics.

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