Whenever anybody only slightly familiar with comics would ask me what were some of the great uncollected graphic novels (or something approaching the nebulous term “graphic novel”) out there, I would always lead with Peter Kuper. Bleeding Heart and The Wild Life were two of the great, though short-lived, titles of the 90’s. Or was it even as far back as the 80’s? Either way, they told, in small pieces, the story of Peter’s awakening as an artist and a human being, him experimenting with drugs and sex, and were told with such brutal honesty and artistry that is was impossible not to take them as the best of the craft. This book collects those stories, wraps them around new interstitial bits, and throws in some new material from the years since those two series were widely available. In this volume Peter, loosely disguised as Walt, grows up (trying to have sex, with little success, along the way), does a lot of drugs, bemoans at least one relationship that he was clearly better off without, and finally has a kid of his own. Peter’s work is pretty widely available for a cartoonist these days, there are plenty of things on this page you can get from Amazon, a little digging will get you through to most of his other published work. Still, I’d maintain that not only is this volume the best thing he’s ever done, it’s one of the best things ever done in the medium. Many people before and after (but mostly after) Peter tried to pull off autobiography like this, brutally honest but still not completely focused on self-indulgent navel gazing, and very few of them came close to pulling it off this well. This is simply one of the best books of this or any other year, and it’s about damned time that it’s available in a “respectable” format. It’s $20, cheaper through most of the online stores, and if you like comics even a little bit there’s no chance that you’ll regret getting this.