Florida Man: The Graphic Novel – Mike Baron

1 out of 5

Ufda, I say, with a wholly appropriate nod to Badger.

There are notes of writer Mike Baron’s not-so-linear plotting randomness from that character’s comics in Florida Man, but then they’re doubled down on to the most ADD extreme, with pages barely leading to the next one – you could almost mistake this for a compilation of one-page gags, in that sense – and then minused all of the actionry and occasional zen wisdoms that would keep Badger readable (and generally entertaining). Fair enough, as it’s not like this is intended to be anything like that strip, but I’m not exactly sure what it’s intended to be like; the prolific Baron is prone to prattle and nonsense, and apparently had a lot to riff on the Florida Man meme, and so here we are, with a dude trying to get his gal out of prison and doing a lot of meme-ish nonsense in the time inbetween. As is often the case with Baron’s indie stuff, it feels rushed by dint of very poor editing, and though some panels and pages look pretty good as arted by a team of Todd Mulrooney, Elias Martins, Marcelo Salaza, and Val Mayerik, there’s a general disconnect with the script that adds further herky-jerkyness to the already wandering flow, and some panels’ framings simply make zero sense for what they’re trying to portray. Also, the decision to use some celebrity likenesses for some characters was more distracting than anything; I’m not sure what the value was there.

If you’ll allow that I bought this out of Baron curiosity, and not because I care one whit about the ‘Floridian does crazy stuff’ stories that apparently inspired it, it’s more likely that readers who are interested in those stories will chuckle a bit versus my glazed-over eyes experience while reading, but I can’t help but feel that the relative ineptness of this in terms of comic book construction – poor sequencing; amateur editing; inconsistent art – would affect even that.

Features some pinups as bonus material. I feel like there’s something to say about the fact that two artists chose to do the same Coppertone girl pastiche, featuring an alligator, but I’ll just leave it at that.