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 Astérix and Hergé'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.