GRAPHIC NOVELS

Hunter S. Thompson's Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas: A Savage Journey to the Heart of the American Dream

Thompson, Hunter S. (text) & (text & illus.). Top Shelf. 2015. 169p. ISBN 9781603093750. $24.99. F
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Take one gonzo journalist, his lusty attorney, and a large red convertible loaded with booze and pharmaceuticals and point them to Las Vegas to cover a motorcycle race and an antidrug convention. Thompson's manic satire on the American Dream—seen as mindless consumer hedonism—applies just as well today as in its original post-1960s context. Little's (Angora Napkin) visualization of this manic road trip comes off as more accessible and engaging than Ralph Steadman's original illustrations while preserving much of Thompson's personality. It's also flat-out hilarious. Polka dot pterodactyl-bats dive bomb the speeding car, casino furniture bends dizzyingly, and boozed-up reptiles munch on blasé starlets. Inevitably, aficionados of the semifictional novel will find favorite riffs missing, although Little has retained the overall narrative and Thompson's trademark prose: chaotic, intense intellectual cynicism spiked with obscenities.
VERDICT Approved by Thompson's estate, Little's madcap portrayal goes a tad light on the darker side of Thompson's indictment, while offering his incisive, corrosive critique to a new generation. Best for older teens and adults. See also Will Bingley and Anthony Hope-Smith's Gonzo: A Graphic Biography of Hunter S. Thompson.

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