Abrams Comic Arts has released Gonzo: A Graphic Biography of Hunter S. Thompson and that word “graphic” certainly takes on many different definitions here when applied to the protagonist of this true-life comic novel.
The public’s perception of the late writer/journalist/self-made psychopath (by his own volition) is as varied and misunderstood as the man himself. Some of us only know Hunter S. Thompson as a modern day mid/late 20th century figure whose thirst and unbridled lust for all things excess is regarded as the stuff of filthy, unrelenting legend. Some of us only know him as Uncle Duke, the famous cartoon character who shook up the long-running comic strip Doonesbury when he first appeared in the mid 1970s in that strip, a character that Thompson had gone on record as hating. Some of us know him as simply a film character, portrayed by Johnny Depp in director Terry Gilliam’s cult film adaptation of what seemed as unfilmable as William S. Burroughs’ Naked Lunch, Thompson’s arguably best known work, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. And there was also the recent attempt at a film adaptation of another Thompson work, last year’s box office mess, The Rum Diary, again with Depp as its star.