Review - Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas #1 (@IDWPublishing)

"We were somewhere around Barstow on the edge of the desert when the drugs began to take hold."

Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas really needs no introduction. It's got a special place in pop culture, paying homage to the drug-induced stupors of a different era. That doesn't mean that it doesn't deserve a comic though and IDW Publshing is doing just that with Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas #1. The issue is written and illustrated by Troy Little.

Troy Little's gonzo adaptation of Hunter Thompson's Fear & Loathing in Las Vegas is now available in an all-new format. This comic book version is presented in black-and-white and at a slightly larger size than the full-color hardcover edition. Each issue also includes pages from Little's sketchbook and other behind-the-scenes information.

Considering the cult classic status Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas has achieved largely because of the film of the same name, there's probably more than enough people out there who know what's going on as far as the plot goes. Little ensures that everything that makes the story sing is intact in his take--right down to the enormously entertaining drug trips. Since this is an adaptation, there's really not much room to stray from the original source material and Little is exceedingly faithful to it, capturing the entertaining exchanges amongst characters perfectly. And despite the story itself being open to interpretation on many levels, Little keeps things progressing well through thoughtful pacing that's in line with the source material.

Where Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas #1 is really going to turn a lot of heads is Little's artwork that's a perfect fit for the dialogue. His style is very loose in a way that plays into the seemingly disjointed approach to life taken by the characters. Little keeps things black and white here, as if to further embellish the outlandishness of their predicaments. Characters sport bold, black lines to present them in stark contrast to the desert setting, which still feels sufficiently sparse considering there isn't a sea of sand-colored dunes and landscapes. Little relies on the blacks for great effect in various panels; for instance, there's a scene where a trunk is being opened and the blackness inside casts a shadow outside.

Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas #1 isn't anything new or revolutionary, but it is a comic adaptation of a fantastic story. Duke, Gonzo, the Hitchhiker and more are all in play and keep their characterization perfectly in line with what's expected. Little's adaptation of the story is faithful and delivers all the ridiculous dialogue and exchanges originally included. The artwork by Little is sufficiently dysmorphic in its presentation with the black and white approach buoyed by the malformed anatomy. Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas #1 is just what you would hope and expect from a comic book adaption of a trippy part of pop culture.

Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas #1 is in stores May 25.