Well this was a surprise. I’d been hearing about this book on and off from a few people. A friend of Tess raved about it, and along with a bit of buzz from the usual suspects (CBR and Newsarama), we got a copy one night while at Forbidden Planet.
Jonathan Ames’ The Alcoholic is interesting, it’s both incredibly sad and touching, but at the same time manages to still retain some great humor in here, finding ways to find the funny side of what’s a real problem here, the sickness of addiction.
Probably the best thing about this graphic novel is that while it’s definitely about alcoholism (and to an extent, drug use) and how it’s affected the author’s life, at the same time his life story is at the real forefront. It covers everything from that first beer to that last line of coke to that one last time he stopped for that one last drink of vodka, but Jonathan’s story, his friends, his lovers, his family, his dreams…those are what are talked about here.
Yeah, it’s a story about a guy and his drinking problem, but it’s also a story about a guy and his insecurities, his neuroses, and him becoming comfortable in his own skin.
Anyway, the whole thing is really great, the whole package just gets topped off with Haspiel’s artwork that while not “realistic” isn’t entirely cartoon-y, striking a nice balance (and of course, black and white). I love the whole thing, part of that growing fold of comics that don’t have a twist in any way (like Black Hole without the stuff about the mutating STD or Scott Pilgrim without the video game and kung-fu references) that further cements comic books as less a genre, but more a mode of storytelling.
You should get this, because in the end, it’s a great story, plain and simple.