Author(s): Kent H. Dixon
THE EPIC OF GILGAMESH is the Uhr epic--the hero's journey, quest, and education--inscribed onto damp clay tablets several millennia before Odysseus or the priest of Ecclesiastes found their voices. Sumerian versions of the epic date back almost 5000 years. It is a Bildungsroman of a bad king learning to become a proper human being and therefore a wise king, and to do so, besides defeating lions and monsters and surviving great physical and emotional suffering, he must face, and answer, the first (and last) great question- mortality.Translated into English and presented here in its entirety as a graphic novel, this version of THE EPIC OF GILGAMESH is a father/son project by scholar and translator Kent H. Dixon and his son, the comix artist Kevin Dixon, who bring a fresh take on this great work. The reader is slowed down by the artwork and visual jokes and the artist's wry hat-tippings to various masters (Crumb and Gilbert Shelton alongside Schultz and Capp, Popeye and Krazy Kat, Uderzo's AstUrix and HergU's Tintin), and then, once the reading pace has shifted into lower gear, having all these aspects complementarily drawn out, makes for an especially satisfying counterpoint to the low-key, the wise and cynical and morally sophisticated, and sometimes sublimely Olympian humor.
KENT H. DIXONais primarily a prose writer, but has published in all genres, including poetry and screenwriting. His fiction and nonfiction has been published in Iowa Review, TriQuarterly, Shenandoah, The American Prospect, among others. Recent translations include MallarmU'saL'Apros-Midi d'un Faunaand Rilke's "Leichen-Wosche." In collaboration with Japanese students, he has translated previously unpublished hibakusha (A-bomb survivor poetry), inaAmerican Poetry Reviewaand inaLuna- Journal of Poetry and Translation. With his artist son Kevin, he has the opening graphic novel excerpt of The Epic of Gilgamesh, in editor Russ Kick's 2012 three volume anthologyaThe Graphic Canon. Kent was educated at University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, with graduate degrees from Johns Hopkins University and a Ph.D. from University of Iowa--the Writers' Workshop. He teaches Creative Writing at Wittenberg University in Springfield, Ohio, where he lives with his writer wife.KEVIN H. DIXONais known for the autobiographical series ...And Then There Was Rock, "...true stories about playing in a crappy loser band." With collaborator Eric Knisley, he producedaMickey Death and the Winds of Impotence, for which they won a Xeric Award. Kevin has done cover art for small presses in Chapel Hill NC; run comic series in local newspapers; hosted 'underground' talk radio shows; and contributed the cover to the first volume ofaThe Graphic Canon, an Oliver Twist for the second volume, and a Brothers Grimm tale foraThe Graphic Canon of Children's Literature. Kevin lives in Chapel Hill with his wife and their three cats.