Fear and Loathing graphic novel launches in P.E.I.

Readers of Island artist Troy Little's graphic novel Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas are taken on a wild and colourful ride through American counterculture.

Success of new comic is 'huge exciting adventure' for P.E.I. artist

Troy Little poses with his new graphic novel adaptation of the iconic novel Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. (Leigh Walton/Top Shelf)

What could be more perfect than a comic-book version of a story whose characters were already comic-book versions of themselves? 

Hunter S. Thompson's Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas got the treatment it may always have been missing at a launch Wednesday night in Charlottetown — a graphic novel by award-winning P.E.I. artist Troy Little.

This is a huge exciting adventure I'm about to go on.—  Troy Little, P.E.I. graphic artist

It's an adaptation of Thompson's iconic 1971 novel that critiqued 1960's culture — warning: there's a lot of graphic drug use and foul language — and gave birth to "gonzo"  journalism, in which the journalist (Thompson) makes himself part of the story. Fear and Loathing was also made in to a movie starring Johhny Depp in 1998, which was screened after Little's book-signing event at City Cinema last night in Charlottetown.

'Very rich, visual story'

"Part of the beautiful thing of working on comic books, which is a visual medium — it's a very rich, visual story, the novel itself. So trying to pick and decide how I'm going to interpret that visually," said Little, dressed as the famous author for his book-signing.

Some of the artwork from Troy Little's version of Fear and Loathing. (Troy Little/Facebook)

All of the text comes from the original novel, but the art was up to Little. 

"So if they're driving through the desert and they've just taken LSD, then I can start making the panels melt, or the text kind of warp," said Little. He even designed some of the panels so readers must turn the book around a few times to read the text "so you're spinning with it."

Little is a huge Hunter S. Thompson fan, which he says actually made creating his comic more difficult.

"Mostly I was psyching myself out a lot trying to come up with, 'How am I going to do this book justice?'" said Little.

And there was extra pressure: it all had to be approved by the late author's estate. 

"I'm very aware of when I'm drawing this book that the estate is seeing it, I'm drawing their husband, their father, you know this is a real person although fictionalized," said Little.

Already selling out — the book, that is

Thompson has a huge fan base, and Little could be about to tap into that.

Troy Little's new graphic adaptation of the Hunter S. Thompson classic novel. (Meanwhile Studios)

The book sold out at its launch at Comic Con in New York in early October.

Little says that "opened up a whole new world" for him, and there's more directly ahead: a trip fans of the book will find familiar, and probably make many green with envy (or motion sickness).

"The next thing we have on tap is going down to San Diego, a trip to L.A. and then a road trip in a red convertible through the desert to Vegas in November to do a book tour to support it, so this is a huge exciting adventure I'm about to go on," said Little.

Little's graphic novel is in local comic book shops and bookstores now. 

He'll also be signing books at HalCon this weekend in Halifax. 

Little's previous award-winning graphic novels include Chiaroscuro, and the series Angora Napkin. He is also the artist behind the reboot of the Power Puff Girls. His wife Brenda is also a graphic artist.

With files from Karen Mair and Natalia Goodwin