Wednesday, July 28, 2010

When Novels Get Graphic: The Alcoholic

Wandering around Borders Sunday night, I had a 40% of coupon burning a hole in my pocket, this little graphic novel caught me eye on the shelf. Picking it up for a close look and flipping through it pretty much decided my purchase right then and seeing it was written by Jonathan Ames cemented the sale. While I've never gotten around to reading any of his books, I hear good things though, I loved the few episodes of Bored to Death I have seen (a series he created for HBO) so I thought I would give his graphic novel a chance and man am I glad I did.

The Alcoholic tells the story of Jonathan A., our "fictional" protagonist and title character. A writer who has had quite a few experiences in his life, not unlike the writer of this work from what I've read, and regales us with the exploits, emotions, and experiments that have led him to where he is today. Sharing every dirty joke and heart-breaking moment, "Jonathan A." puts it all out on the table for the reader to see and relate to.

I, like most readers I'm sure, saw a lot of my own life in Jonathan's. The scripted phone calls of youth with a best friend, never knowing the right thing to say over the phone to the girl in the white dress, and the fear/dreams of what I would be like as a teacher are just a few of the examples I am willing to admit to knowing a little something about but it certainly doesn't end there. Most "somewhat autobiographical" comics speak of the qualities we want to see in ourselves through others, while this one makes you see those in addition to throwing in those ones you would like to deny.

Johnathan Ames and Dean Haspiel (the artist) really knocked it out of the park with this one. Bleeding heart and humor from every page, this dynamic duo provides us with a graphic novel that shies away from nothing and experiences everything. Whether its the awkward sexual experiences of puberty, the crazy drug trips of college and beyond, the heartbreak of relationships ending, or the cruel timing life has sometimes; the words and panels bring us into a world bearing a striking resemblance to own, although this one is a lot more honest about what its like. So if your like myself and love a good tale about about a drunken writer, do yourself a favor and check this one out. A solid 4 out of 5 in my book, well really blog but you get the idea.

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