Novel focuses on Crescent, Baker

Wednesday, July 18, 2012
Tina Parker / Carroll County News Sean Fitzgibbons poses with pages from his graphic novel -- on display at a sneak peek last Thursday at the Fayetteville Public Library -- that focuses on Norman Baker's time at the Crescent Hotel in Eureka Springs.

EUREKA SPRINGS -- A documentary-style graphic novel that depicts the history of Crescent Hotel and its famous Dr. Baker is gaining some attention as it nears completion.

The novel, "What Follows Is True... Crescent: The Baker Years," tells the life of Norman Baker, the famed "doctor" who turned the Crescent Hotel into a cancer treatment facility in the 1930s.

Using paint and mixed media, illustrator Sean Fitzgibbon, alongside writer Kevin Brown, tell the story of the fraudulent doctor and his dark history in Eureka Springs. While the novel chronicles the life of Baker, the main focus is his time at the hotel.

Baker claimed to have the cure for cancer and lured several patients to the facility on promises of a treatment and healing waters.

"Baker's time in Eureka Springs are the darkest years for the Crescent Hotel," said Fitzgibbon.

Fitzgibbon and Brown first heard of Baker on a ghost tour provided by the Crescent Hotel, during which their fascination about Baker grew.

The next day, Fitzgibbon visited the Carnegie Library in Eureka Springs to find as much as he could about Baker.

"It didn't seem real, so I wanted to research it; come to find out it was real and it made me want to know more about him," explained Fitzgibbon. "Turns out, sometimes the truth is stranger than fiction."

After extensive research, Fitzgibbon and Brown began constructing the graphic novel, which took five years to compile. Though the novel it is not yet complete, the duo is planning for a Spring 2013 release of the book.

Despite the fact that Baker's time at the Crescent Hotel was short-lived, the stories of his time in Eureka Springs, and the lives he claimed, is that of large and storied legend.

The Fayetteville Public Library held an artist's reception on Thursday featuring a sneak peek at pages from Fitzgibbon's novel.

Fitzgibbon exhibits work in galleries and art centers throughout the United States, and he teaches at Northwest Arkansas Community College in Rogers.

In August, Fitzgibbon will teach a graphic illustration class at Eureka Springs School of the Arts.

Respond to this story

Posting a comment requires free registration: