Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Book-A-Day 2018 #303: I Die at Midnight by Kyle Baker

Some historical moments date much faster than others, and that can be deeply amusing if you lived through them. Y2K is the great recent example: it was a huge deal before it happened, and was forgotten and ignored almost immediately afterward when the popularized apocalypse failed to actually happen.

Kyle Baker's graphic novel I Die at Midnight is one of the small breed of Millennial Thrillers, set on New Year's Eve of 1999. Amusingly, it was even published in a Y2K style, with a big "V2K Vertigo" imprint at the top left that everyone has since forgotten that DC's Vertigo ever used at all. Interestingly, it has a copyright date of 2000, which makes it a late entry in this derby: most of your Millennial Thrillers came out in 1997-1999 to capitalize on the hype beforehand and promise horrible world-ending terrors on that fateful night.

Baker, though, is working on a smaller canvas: I Die is the story of one man, one evening, and the race to get an antidote to the overdose he just took.

Larry is that man: Muriel left him recently, and so he's going to end it all on New Year's Eve. But then she returns to him, right after he swallows the whole bottle of pills. And since nothing can go right in a comic thriller -- which is definitely what I Die at Midnight is -- he can't get those pills out of his system until it's too late, and his only hope is to meet up with a doctor acquaintance with that antidote before midnight, when it will be too late to save him. Midnight, of course, is only forty minutes away. And the only way they can meet in time is right in between where they are...which is, coincidentally, Times Square.

There are other complications, of course. There have to be. They are funny, and at least plausible, and they keep this story barreling forward exactly the way they need to. And the story ends the way it needs to.

I Die at Midnight is not a major Baker work. But it's fast and funny and full of amusing moments and Easter eggs in the art. (Times Square in particular is awash in billboards for various Baker properties, mostly but not all in their imagined movie versions -- I wished the book was physically larger so I could get a better look at all of the goofy stuff there.) And it will be funnier the more you remember the Y2K hoopla.

No comments:

Post a Comment