By Jonathan Ames and Dean Haspiel (Vertigo/DC Comics, $19.99)
BASIC STORY: In his graphic novel debut, the celebrated author of "Wake Up, Sir!" spins a quasi-autobiographical story that stumbles from teenage blackouts to the shock of Sept. 11 as lead character Jonathan A. wrestles with addiction.
SAMPLE GRAB: "I had thought, at first, that I would just get sober again, but the booze had gotten into my skin, my psyche. I had felt some relief that day in Asbury Park. It was the relief of oblivion."
WHAT YOU'LL LOVE: With Haspiel's art imparting a manic joy and fearsome dread to the narrative, Ames recounts poignant traumas, sexual escapades and coming-of-age angst with equal aplomb.
WHAT YOU WON'T: Even sympathetic readers may determine that it's really self-absorption that's driving Jonathan A.'s self-destruction, especially given the abrupt ending.
-- Evan Narcisse