I discovered this book sometime in between my superhero fanboy days and my stint in Europe which led to my discovery of the bande dessinéeh voice). This is one of my favourite graphic novels, and I come back to it often, not least because I’ve struggled with alcohol myself over the years. Back in those days, I thought Vertigo was the only brand making serious graphic novels for adults, so I probably found this after V for Vendetta.

Cover image for The Alcoholic by Jonathan Ames
The Alcoholic by Jonathan Ames

Believe it or not, I could totally relate to waking up not knowing where I was and hearing that I’d done something unbelievably stupid that I’d regret for years to come. Stories for another time!

Jonathan Ames is the brilliant comedic writer behind the “Bored to Death” series on Amazon Prime, Blunt Talk with Patrick Stewart, and countless other works of fiction. His sense of humour often is firmly “self-deprecating” which I like, probably because I tend to fall under that category myself a lot of the time. Part of what makes Ames so talented is his willingness to explore and share his most embarrassing moments. In this book, he calls his character Jonathan A., to leave room for some fiction, but I get the impression it’s all very close to reality. “You can’t make this shit up!” as they say.

Artist Dean Haspiel has done a million things, from Archie to X-Men, working for all the major comic publishers, including Marvel and DC. His style is a little bit too polished for my taste, but I can’t deny the guy’s talent. His characters are distinct but consistent, and he’s fantastic at showing their vulnerability, so I think it was a great combination. There’s pants-shitting, colonics, awkward sexual experiences, you name it. Haspiel nails it.

If you’ve ever wondered how people can get addicted to drugs or alcohol, or what rock bottom really looks like, read this book. You can feel it while avoiding the experience yourself.

I’d love to hear what you thought about the book if you read it so feel free to leave a comment below whether you love it or hate it. And if you want to pick it a copy you can find the link in the description below. It’ll be an affiliate link so we’ll make a small commission. I have the hardcover edition, which seems a little tricky to find nowadays, at least in Canada, but the paperback has expanded content, so definitely don’t be disappointed.

Click here to buy ‘The Alcoholic’ by Jonathan Ames

If you like unabashed vulnerability, seeing people at their worst and how they come out of it, you might like our title Queer in Asia. Like The Alcoholic, it doesn’t hold anything back

Cover image for queer in asia
Buy Queer in Asia for 34.99

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