Booklist gives Seabrook a starred review

“The Abominable Mr. Seabrook” / Booklist / Ray Olson / April 15, 2017

On the page before the title page, this graphic novel’s subject is summarily characterized as “writer, explorer, alcoholic, sadist, cannibal.” William Seabrook (1884–1945) looked the part, heavy-featured and shadowy, like early movie tough guys Wallace Beery and George Bancroft. It’s a look well suited to Ollmann’s gruff, blocky, artwork, rendered in black, white, and blue-gray. Ollmann emphasizes Seabrook’s alcoholism, beginning the book with a late-life spree (imaginary) before flashing back to a childhood in which Seabrook developed his other obsessions. Ollmann also stresses Seabrook’s inferiority complex and habit of running away from jobs, lifestyles—any situation that became too comfortable. Though some of his greatest successes, such as his investigation of voodoo, involved occult phenomena, he resolutely rejected supernaturalism. He was frank and unashamed about engaging in unconventional behavior of all kinds, including the cannibalism he reported sampling in Africa (later, he said he’d been tricked then, but ultimately satisfied in Paris!) as well as his penchant for tying up young women. Committed to an asylum to dry out, he made another candid best-seller out of the experience. Though hardly prepossessing, he fascinated women in the bohemian circles he favored and had three stressful marriages. Thoroughly researched, masterfully and personally written as well as drawn, Ollmann’s presentation of this fascinating, thoroughly repulsive man may be the best graphic-novel biography ever.

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