In recent years, public opinion of Hunter S. Thompson has waned; his writing has come to seem clichéd and overexposed, whilst film adaptations of his work, however entertaining, have done little to dispel the notion of Thompson as a farcical, cartoonish character (we’re looking at you Fear And Loathing…).
Paradoxically, then, it is a newly released comic book that is taking on the task of illuminating Thompson’s legacy, and highlighting the hidden depths of the inventor of gonzo journalism.
Gonzo – A Graphic Biography of Hunter S. Thompson bids to do justice to the memory of the late, greatly intoxicated, journalist. For all his flaws, Thompson was a hypnotising character – an enraged, gun-toting misanthrope who, at the height of his powers, had an exquisite way with words that placed him alongside F. Scott Fitzgerald and Ernest Hemingway in the grand lineage of literature’s great self-destructive American males (although, as Thompson’s editor Alan Rizner points out in the foreword, they both managed to write a lot more good books).
The book follows Thompson from his childhood through to his tragic suicide, painting a picture of a gifted and abrasive man undone by the frequency and scale of his Herculean substance abuse. With taught and evocative writing from Will Bingley and superb black and white illustrations from Anthony Hope-Smith, Gonzo is a meth-soaked journey down the path of self-destruction that defined 20th century counter culture.
Gonzo: A Graphic Biography of Hunter S. Thompson £14.99 from www.selfmadehero.com