I Die At Midnight
By now, most millennium and Y2K-themed material is collecting dust in bargain bins, waiting to become permanent fodder for thrift stores and graduate theses. I Die At Midnight, a short graphic novel by Kyle Baker, deserves better. Baker, best known for Why I Hate Saturn, doesn't release material all that often, but when he does, it's almost always worth picking up. No exception, Midnight finds the writer/artist eschewing the finely drawn characters of Saturn to indulge in a brief but memorable bit of controlled comic chaos. As the story opens, Larry, a New Yorker who bears a suspicious resemblance to Nicolas Cage, contemplates suicide, heartbroken over a breakup with his girlfriend. When, shortly after ingesting a bottle of pills, she shows up at his apartment door ready to reconcile, Larry is left with scant time to brave the New Year's crowd and make it across town for an antidote while keeping his love unaware of his predicament. It's a set-up even slimmer than the book's 64 pages would suggest, but Baker makes the most of it, running his typically expressive characters through a series of carefully paced misadventures rendered in highly cinematic compositions. An enjoyable, if slight, exercise in comic art as an end to itself, Baker's book should bring a smile even to those who were fed up with millennium nonsense last June.