September 29th, 2008


The Onion reviews THE ALCOHOLIC

The Onion

Jonathan Ames has written novels and autobiographical essays, and been an experiential journalist and a popular spoken-word attraction. So why not pen a graphic novel? The Alcoholic (Vertigo/DC) is Ames' account of one "Jonathan A," from his first drink through what may be his last. It's a rambling story filled with broad humor, unexpected pathos, and self-absorbed moments that both Ames and his doppelgänger at least have the decency to acknowledge are self-absorbed. (Exhibit A: Pining for a lost love, Jonathan A imagines how bad she'd feel if he had died during 9/11; the book pictures his body lying in the rubble.) As a piece of writing, it's sometimes alarmingly all over the place, affecting when dealing with Jonathan A's strained childhood friendships, then dopey when stalling for a protracted Monica Lewinsky joke. But after a while, that becomes part of the appeal, and part and parcel with the highs and lows of its protagonist's drinking. Dean Haspiel's pared-down, carefully composed art helps smooth over the rough patches and elevate The Alcoholic above the typical confessional comic… B+