by Jonathan Ames (story) and Dean Haspiel (art), 136 pages
Smart, clever, likeable Jonathan A. has his first drink in high school, and though he certainly looks back often, he can't leave the stuff alone for long. As years pass, he survives and even succeeds despite his wide range of ill-advised habits and choices, which only makes him hate himself more. Sex, drugs, life, death, love, loneliness, and always the booze confuse, sabotage, and buoy him and take him for physical and emotional highs and lows no rollercoaster could match, however much he tells himself he should and will get off.
You're not sure how much of Jonathan A. there is in Jonathan Ames, but you can't help but connect the two and read this as elaborated-upon reality, making the emotional turmoil and stubborn vulnerability of the protagonist believable and affecting, however ridiculous and unlikely some of the messes he gets into may be. It feels unsparingly honest even if it's all made up. The lack of willpower, the rationalizing, the self-awareness paired with the inability to do anything about it are all too familiar to anyone who's ever done something stupid more than once, regardless of scale. And Haspiel's clean, simple art is as self-deprecating and relatable as the story it conveys.