Trimming the collection: I Die At Midnight

I Die At Midnight
by Kyle Baker

The Cowboy Wally Show and Why I Hate Saturn are sublime in their beauty, wit and charm. Baker need never work again, if the quality of work was rewarded. In the real world, artists need to create to live. I want to support comedic geniuses, which is why I bought this book.

I Die At Midnight does not compare to the two former works. This is a more traditional, narrative-driven story, which, although maintaining the appearances of a Baker book (the expressive and exuberant art, the captions underneath the panels, the strong characters delineated with minimum fuss), feels more like an overheard anecdote, or the start of an odd joke, that has been riffed upon via a Hollywood script machine to produce a chase film.

A man takes an overdose on New Year’s Eve because his girlfriend has dumped him. However, she turns up to rekindle their love. He doesn’t want to tell her he has taken an OD, in case it scuppers the relationship, so attempts to cure himself without her knowing. He goes to extreme and silly lengths to accomplish this, involving running and jumping and tall buildings and thuggish ex-boyfriends and flying in helicopters.

I feel that I didn’t enjoy this by comparing it to his earlier work, wanting more of the same funniness and satire of modern life. It just didn’t feel like Baker to me or, rather, not the Baker I wanted. I wanted the comedy; Baker brought a light, unengaging work that, even when I reread it for this post, I zipped through, not caring about it all.

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