I have just finished reading “Gonzo: A Graphical Biography of Hunter S Thompson”. Its a good read, with words by Will Bingley and pictures by Anthony Hope-Smith. If you have read about Hunter S Thompson’s life before and either one or eight of the other biographies about his life (only those written by people other than HST), then you pretty much know what you are in for. I guess unlike every other biography there is something unique in that the creative duo attempt to take on the role of Hunter, trying to tell his life story from his point of view. And it covers major events in his life like the Chicago Riot of ‘68, Las Vegas, the Kentucky Derby, Hell’s Angels, the Campaign Trail and of course, the infamous incident involving a steel mail box and a speeding school bus.
The illustrations are nice and typical that i find in most independent books. However, I just realised that the art style changes throughout the book, starting with clearly defined figures and scenes, and then after the hells angels, the drawing becomes more savage, more abstract. I’m not sure if this was the intention of the authors, but it is interesting and I only just realised it now.
Its a good book don’t get me wrong. A fine graphic novel. But I have this niggling feeling that this is yet another HST biography that is on the shelves. There at least eight books about his life, two DVDs and a photojournal. This is excluding all of the material that was written by HST in the first place too. It feels like that it was a safe book to publish, something that readers would easily pick and read and turns sales.
I can imagine fans and collectors buying it, and maybe even people that read one or two of his books or books about him. But not the lay person. While the story is clear and follows through, you would need to read about Hunter S Thompson’s life in order to put it into context and order.
Overall, its good book, but if you’ve read one biography about a person, chances are you might have already read the others. I would like to see what original ideas these guys come up with, because I hate to see this being their only shot with graphic novels.