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Category >> Stephen Dixon

Daily OCD: 1/14/10
Written by Mike Baehr | Filed under Stephen DixonRichard SalaPortable GrindhouseKevin HuizengaJacques BoyreauBest of 2009Alexander Theroux 14 Jan 2010 2:55 PM

Is this it for Online Commentary & Diversions today? I guess so:

Review: "Jacques Boyreau’s book [Portable Grindhouse: The Lost Art of the VHS Box] pays tribute to... imperfection. Not only is its cover — well, the cover of the book’s slipcase, at least, designed to look like a videocassette — but the photos inside showcase boxes in far from mint condition... All of this helped take me back to my VHS days, but it’s mostly the garish art that did it — lurid snatches of visual salesmanship, many of which have been burned in the back of my mind for 25 years. ... If you own only one art book featuring a back-cover illustration of Don 'The Dragon' Wilson, make it this one. And be sure to rewind, or I’ll have to charge a dollar to your account." – Rod Lott, Bookgasm

List: Looking at where we stand on Sandy Bilus's Best Comics of 2009 Meta-List (compiling all the year-end best-of lists) at I Love Rob Liefeld, we've got 2 in the top 20, 6 in the top 50, and 12 in the top 100 — not too shabby

Plug: Prestigious design blog The Book Cover Archive features Jacob Covey's cover design for What Is All This? by Stephen Dixon

Things to see: Kevin Huizenga's "Postcard from Fielder" part 7

Things to see: Richard Sala digs up some art from the vault

Reviewer: For The Wall Street Journal, Alexander Theroux looks at the novel The Swan Thieves by Elizabeth Kostova

Daily OCD: 12/4/09
Written by Mike Baehr | Filed under Stephen DixonrockPortable GrindhousePopeyePeanutsJacques BoyreauEC SegarBeastsAl Columbia 4 Dec 2009 3:30 PM

Online Commentary & Diversions:

• Review: "Like a Dog compiles several of [Zak Sally's] stories from the last 15 years in one sweet, annotated hardcover. I'm amazed by how the styles vary -- one minute Sally can talk about working in a punk-rock T-shirt shop, the next he's going on about Dostoevsky -- but most stories are quite compelling and, man, the guy is just so cool. Sally is an intensely personal writer, and I appreciate how much he reveals about himself within these pages. His work can get a little messy sometimes, but I say that's just another reason to like it." – Whitney Matheson, USA TODAY Pop Candy

• Review: "...[T]he work contained in [Strange Suspense: The Steve Ditko Archives Vol. 1] (and kudos to Fantagraphics on the excellent and handsome production work) constantly reminds you of just how stellar an artist Ditko would prove to be. ... For historians, both amateur and otherwise, who thrill to the prospect of seeing that maturity take place, this is the book for you." – Chris Mautner, Robot 6

• Plug: Jason Parker of Benevolent Street says "I will be buying [Portable Grindhouse: The Lost Art of the VHS Box] soon!"

• Plug: Mike Sterling calls Popeye Vol. 4 "Another collection of the classic strip, and it continues to be great."

• Plugs: Among the blogs taking note of our upcoming collection of Stephen Dixon stories What Is All This?: Condalmo, Thumb Drives and Oven Clocks, Converstaional Reading and Gurldoggie

• Things to see: A new music video from The Francies (a.k.a. Al Columbia — via Floating World)

• Monsters: On Jacob Covey's Beasts! Blog, an update from monster-hunter Ken Gerhard (interviewed in Beasts! Book 2) on the trail of Sasquatch!

• Monsters: Tennessee mayor loses his shit over "our muslim president" [sic] pre-empting A Charlie Brown Christmas (link via Eric Reynolds)

Press Release: FBI Announces new Stephen Dixon book
Written by Eric Reynolds | Filed under Stephen Dixon 23 Nov 2009 11:19 AM

  

FANTAGRAPHICS BOOKS ANNOUNCES THE ACQUISITION OF STEPHEN DIXON'S WHAT IS ALL THIS?, A COLLECTION OF MODERN FICTION

SEATTLE, WA, NOV. 20, 2009 ---  Fantagraphics Books is proud to announce the acquisition of What Is All This?, a 900-page collection of previously uncollected short fiction by two-time National Book Award Nominee (1991, 1995) Stephen Dixon. The collection will be published in May, 2010 and mark the third entry in Fantagraphics burgeoning line of literary fiction, following Alexander Theroux's Laura Warholic (2007) and Monte Schulz's This Side of Jordan (2009). Along with Theroux, Dixon is the second National Book Award nominated-author to publish new fiction through Fantagraphics.

"Stephen Dixon is one of the great secret masters - too secret. I return again and again to his stories for writerly inspiration, moral support and comic relief at moments of personal misery, and, several times, in a spirit of outright plagiaristic necessity: borrowing a jumpstart from a few lines of Dixon has been a real problem-solver in my own short fiction. Please read him, you." - Jonathan Lethem

Dixon is one of the most acclaimed authors of short stories in the history of American letters. He has published previously through acclaimed independent literary presses like McSweeney's and Melville House, as well as corporate houses like Henry Holt. His work, characterized by mordant humor and a frank attention to human sexuality, has earned him a Guggenheim Fellowship, the American Academy Institute of Arts and Letters Prize for Fiction, the O. Henry Award, and the Pushcart Prize. Fantagraphics Books is proud to present his latest volume of short stories, a massive collection of vintage Dixon, eschewing the modernism and quasi-autobiography of his I-trilogy and instead treating readers to a pared-down, crystalline style more reminiscent of Hemingway.

"Dixon is one of the few writers whose new work I will put everything aside to read, which is to say he is in the company of Alice Munro, Lorrie Moore, and Lydia Davis.... Put aside whatever you're reading, and read him." - J. Robert Lennon

"This is our third book of prose fiction -after Alex Theroux's Laura Warholic and Monte Schulz's This Side of Jordan- and readers may notice that the common denominator among these books is that language itself serves as the animating literary force," says acquiring editor and Fantagraphics co-publisher Gary Groth. "Dixon's finely chiseled sentences cut to the quick of people's lives. None of these stories have been collected in any book; they have appeared in a wide variety of literary journals over almost 40 years and Dixon has entirely rewritten all of them. Dixon admirers will be cheered to learn that these stories comprise a wholly original work."

Centrally concerning himself with the American condition, Dixon explores in What Is All This? obsessions of body image, the increasingly polarized political landscape, sex -in all its incarnations- and the gloriously pointless minutiae of modern life, from bus rides to tying shoelaces. Using the canvas of his native New York (with one significant exception that affords Dixon the opportunity to create a furiously political fable) he astutely captures the edgy madness that infects the city through the neuroses of his narrators with a style that owes as much to Neo-Reaist cinema as it does to modern literature. What Is All This? will be published in hardcover, designed by Fantagraphics award-winning Art Director Jacob Covey. "Stephen Dixon is one of the few writers who completely challenged, then changed how I think about writing and reading," says Covey. "He was the first writer I recognized as making Art that was as viscerally relevant as painting or music. Designing a book for someone who was so formative to me is one of the rarest and most intimidating opportunities I can imagine."

"I have read a lot of Dixon's writing. If I didn't like his writing I would not have read so many things of his." - Tao Lin

Stephen Dixon was born in 1936 in New York City. He graduated from the City College of New York in 1958 and is a former faculty member of Johns Hopkins University. In his early 20s, he worked as a journalist in radio, interviewing such monumental figures as John F. Kennedy, Richard Nixon, and Nikita Khrushchev. His witty, keenly observed narratives and sharply hewn prose have appeared in every major market magazine from Harper's to Playboy and have earned him two National Book Award nominations -for his novels Frog and Interstate. He still hammers out his fiction on a vintage typewriter.

Fantagraphics Books has been the world's leading publisher of comics and graphic novels since 1976, with titles by Robert Crumb, Charles M. Schulz, Joe Sacco, Daniel Clowes, Chris Ware and many others. In 2007, the company launched its prose division, beginning with novels by Alexander Theroux (Laura Warholic) and Jules Feiffer (a reissue of the noted artist's 1963 novel, Harry, the Rat with Women).

Stephen Dixon 

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