Publisher: IDW Publishing
Writer/Artist: Troy Little
Release Date: 25th May, 2016
It’s so interesting when you can get a story or concept that works perfectly across a number of different mediums. Hunter S. Thompson’s Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas is such an amazing read, working perfectly as a novel. But then we had the twisted Terry Gilliam who managed to perfectly adapt it into a movie. It’s a story that lent itself greatly to becoming a motion picture, a wild adventure through Nevada. But what other medium could you use to adapt the story? I feel dumb that I didn’t think of it myself: a graphic novel. The second that I saw this listed as a comic I said “YES PLEEEEEASE” and I have to say, it did not disappoint.
Being told episodically through monthly issues before becoming a graphic novel, Troy Little’s adaptation of the Hunter S. Thompson classic follows the misadventures of journalist Raoul Duke and his attorney Dr. Gonzo. The two have a drug-fueled adventure to Las Vegas where they encounter bat swarms, hitchikers, lizard people, and much more.
Being a fan of both the book and the film adaptation, this is exactly what you’d want in a Fear and Loathing comic book. The story itself is so animated that it would take very little effort–but a large amount of passion–to translate it to the page, which Troy Little does admirably. One of the things that bothered me at first–but quickly grew on me–was the coloring. When I think of Fear and Loathing as a comic, I think “colorful”. Because of this, I was disappointed when finding out that the whole book was in black-and-white. But wow, was I so wrong. The B&W coloring works so well with this, somehow that absence of color works far more than the color itself ever could have. Since we’re seeing the story through the eyes of Raoul, it’s interesting to see it as if he’s seeing everything in a dark, washed-out light. The animation is very smooth and detailed, while giving you that cartoonish feel. The character design is pitch perfect.
Troy Little’s greatest accomplishment here is his ability to translate the heart of the book, that zany chaos that constantly ensues. It really feels like Fear and Loathing, not someone else translating it to a new medium. It works because you really feel like Troy Little gets the source material. Not only does he get the style of the story, he gets the flow of it. This first issue flows wonderfully quick and chaotic, just as the book does, but it’s never jarring. It moves quick, but you move with it. You’re still grasping on everything that’s going on and you’re still catching all of the jokes and sight gags.
Although the story flows well, this is still a pretty lengthy single issue. There were points earlier on where it felt like there was a natural place to end it, but it instead ends in a very random place for no real reason. It never gets boring, it’s constantly fun the whole time, but you really feel the extra pages. I couldn’t blame anyone for having to take a couple of sit-down sessions before finishing it.
Although this inaugural issue runs a tad bit too long, it’s still a total blast to read. As a fan of the source material, it’s a perfect adaptation. It keeps the look and feel of Thompson’s book and Gilliam’s movie while looking at it through a comic book lens. Even if you’ve never seen the movie or read the book, this will be a wild ride for you. You definitely should be checking this out and I know that I can’t wait for the next issue. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if I pick up the whole graphic novel when it’s released down the line.
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The writer of this piece was: Mike Annerino
Mike Tweets from @MikeAnnerino