cover image The Abominable Mr. Seabrook

The Abominable Mr. Seabrook

Joe Ollmann. Drawn & Quarterly, $22.95 trade paper (320p) ISBN 978-1-77046-267-0

Comprising 10 years of painstaking research, this graphic biography details the life of obscure writer, occultist, traveler, and bondage fanatic William Seabrook, perhaps best known for his book Asylum, an account of his hospitalization. Telling Seabrook’s story with his characteristic thick line work, Ollmann wades into the bizarre corners of his subject’s life, from the connection he formed as a child to his grandmother’s mysticism, to his inability to find happiness in his various vocations, to his crazy adventures, penchant for tying up women, and serial alcoholism. Previously known for his autobiographical work Mid-Life, Ollmann skillfully captures Seabrook’s ardent desire to experience life and write about it even as he’s killing himself with drink. Seabrook is just the sort of character that Ollmann is so good at rendering: a complicated, misunderstood, and underappreciated mess of a person whose life was fascinating and whose appetites were, quite literally, as strange as they come. As both a narrative and a story in pictures, this is an early candidate for the year’s best graphic biography. (Jan.)