I must admit that reading Hunter S. Thompson’s 1971 book Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas: A Savage Journey to the Heart of the American Dream changed my life. A friend gave me a copy during our first year of college saying that it was his favorite book. I was already a big fan of Jack Kerouac—who Thompson hated and referred to as “empty-headed”—so I was a little skeptical at first. That all changed after I read the first few pages of the book, especially the memorable passage below, one of many in the book that leads one to believe that Fear and Loathing might be as far away from a work of fiction as you can get.
“The sporting editors had also given me $300 in cash, most of which was already spent on extremely dangerous drugs. The trunk of the car looked like a mobile police narcotics lab. We had two bags of grass, seventy-five pellets of mescaline, five sheets of high-powered blotter acid, a salt shaker half full of cocaine, and a whole galaxy of multi-colored uppers, downers, screamers, laughers and also a quart of tequila, a quart of rum, a case of Budweiser, a pint of raw ether and two dozen amyls. All this had been rounded up the night before, in a frenzy of highspeed driving all over Los Angeles County – from Topanga to Watts, we picked up everything we could get our hands on. Not that we needed all that for the trip, but once you get locked into a serious drug-collection, the tendency is to push it as far as you can.”
At the time I was a journalism major but dropped that shortly after reading Fear and Loathing and subsequently learning that there weren’t really any other “journalists” who wrote like Thompson, making the idea of pursuing a career in the field uninspiring to me. I did continue to write and eventually, my years of dedication to the craft paid off. Am I in any way comparing myself to the diabolically druggy writer? Not by a long shot of whiskey and a handful of amyl nitrate, but thanks to both Thompson and my friend who hipped me to him in my youth, I knew what I wanted to be when I grew up. Anyway, let’s get to the point of this post which is the nothing-short-of-brilliant graphic adaptation of Thompson’s book by Canadian author and artist Troy Little. Little discovered Thompson in the late 90s and could barely contain himself when he was granted permission by the HST Estate along with his publisher Top Shelf Productions to take on an illustrated version of Fear and Loathing. Staying true to Thompson’s original tale of his evil twin “Raoul Duke” and his debauchery in the desert with his attorney “Dr. Gonzo,” Little decided to include all of the original text from the book in his graphic novel.
When it came out in 2015, the book was an instant hit leading to a second print run in 2016. Better yet, Little’s version of Fear and Loathing is hardcover bound, which just makes it seem even cooler, and it’s pretty fucking cool, to begin with. Copies of the book will run you $16.95 here. I’ve posted images from the book below—check ‘em out!
The cover of Troy Little’s graphic novel adaptation of ‘Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas: A Savage Journey to the Heart of the American Dream.’
A closer look at Little’s illustration of the variety of drugs in the trunk
Thompson and his attorney Oscar “Zeta” Acosta aka “Dr. Gonzo.”
Previously on Dangerous Minds:
Adorable Hunter S. Thompson / Hello Kitty sculpture
Artist creates Hunter S. Thompson’s ‘Fear and Loathing’ head sculpture
Board game based on Hunter S. Thompson’s ‘Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas’
King of Gonzo: Portraits of Hunter S. Thompson by Ralph Steadman