April 2011 – ‘Gonzo: A Graphic Biography of Hunter S. Thompson’

Gonzo: A Graphic Biography of Hunter S. ThompsonWe like to discuss a varied range of books here in the virtual book club. This month we are celebrating comics and the rise of the graphic novel.  April’s read is Gonzo: A graphic biography of Hunter S Thompson. If you are new to graphic novels don’t close the page, give this one a go. We would love to know what you think.

Over the course of Hunter S. Thompson’s life he was publically branded a bum, a vandal, a thief, a liar, an addict, and a psychopath. Some of which were true. This is his story – the story of a troubled kid from Louisville who went on to become an international icon.

If you fancy something a bit different or have read the book and want to tell us what you thought then be sure to  join us online throughout the month to debate this one! Matt, the Librarian is facilitating the virtual book chat this month so it promises to be witty and entertaining affair!

We would love to know what you think about the book. Let us have your comments on

  • Whether you think this book does justice to the legend that is HST?
  • What you think of the grey artwork by Hope Smith?
  • How good do you think this book is as a biography? Some die hard Hunter S Thompson fans say that it misses out some of the more interesting aspects of HST life.
  • Has reading this changed your opinion of graphic novels?

Can’t wait to read some of your comments and reviews!

  1. When Hunter S Thompson put a gun to his head in February 2005 the world lost an icon. Renowned paradoxically as an iconoclast, HST spent the last ten years years of his life living in self-parody, as all writers must do. His rite of passage from rebel to writer and back to rebel again is nicely handled by Bingley and Hope-Smith, and there’s a telling introduction by Alan Rinzler, one of HST’s long-suffering editors.

    The graphic bio is one for the fans, including myself, and is a concise way of preserving HST for the future, if the Chivas Regal and the Dunhills haven’t done that already. All of Hope-Smith’s blocky art work is in grey-scale, perhaps a protest at HST’s colourful life, but indicative of a needless budget constraint by the publisher, as are the plain card covers. The straitened look and feel costs the book an Amazon star, the edition deserves better, though Bingley’s constrained time-line approach works extremely well and carries the book to collector status. There are some signed first editions around, and I’m delighted to own one.

    But is the typewriter on page 172/3 actually an IBM Selectric? No matter. Buy the ticket, take the ride. They aren’t making HST’s any more.

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