Embodying the 'Designer as Author' idea, this hybrid typo/graphic novel was written and designed by Zach. A mysterious gray book drives Ollister and Adelaide’s twisted relationship. When it goes missing, he plots revenge against art patriarch The Platypus while she obsesses over their anti-love affair. Meanwhile, other art school scenesters experiment with bad drugs, bad sex, and bad ideas. When a punk named Punk shows up with a potent sex drug, the whole wild crowd gets caught up in the gravitational pull of The Platypus’ sinister White Ball, where a confused art terrorism cell threatens a ludicrous and hilarious implosion. Print magazine said "The effect is that of artist's journal meets ransom note: the text held hostage by the design." The novel was a Gold Design Winner in Creativity 38 and received recognition from AIGA:Voice, HOW, and Dazed and Confused.The ‘signatures’ of paper the book was printed on function as both the perfect-bound book and a series of nine double-sided posters, containing the entire text of the novel. The posters were featured at a solo show at design gallery Country Club. The audio book, featuring a full cast and original music, was released by Flameshovel Records.
Written and designed by Zach, Bats of the Republic is an illuminated novel, in which alternating sci-fi and historical fiction narratives duel over a mysteriously sealed letter, drawing three centuries of Texana, two great love stories, and one giant cavern of bats into spiralling conflict. The traditional novel form is enhanced by natural history illustrations, subversive pamphlets, fictional star charts, and a 19th century novel-within-a-novel.
The casebound book is printed in three specialty inks, with a reversible dust jacket, fold-out map, and actual sealed letter.
“Bats of the Republic cumulatively becomes a book about the way books are made and the way stories work. Dodson has quite brilliantly exposed the gears and cogs whirring in the novelist’s imagination. It is a mad and beautiful thing." - The Washington Post
When story and image collide the result is an EPIC SOMETHING! This exhibition and companion publication explored personal mythologies, narrative architectures, hidden religions, and the spaces between systems of storytelling. Twelve artists ventured to the nexus of text and image, across a multitude of media: drawing, animation, installation, and writing. Witness the rising action of literal correspondences, translations from narrative to image, or from image back to text. Muddle through the plot twists, story lines hidden beneath the surface, and images that speak volumes. Marvel as each work climaxes in an EPIC SOMETHING that articulates the magical space between storytelling and image-making.
EPIC SOMETHING was displayed at The Hyde Park Art Center in Chicago, Illinois, from November 18, 2012 – February 24, 2013. It was the final exhibition of the Quarterly Site Series, part of the Twelve Galleries Project, a roving Chicago gallery run by Jamilee Polson Lacy. The exhibition co-curators included Zach Dodson, Dan Gleason, and Caroline Picard. Together they wrote a hybrid image/text essay introducing the work.
For twenty years, The Minus Times was the most elusive literary magazine in America—and definitely the only one to be composed on a Royal standard typewriter. Contributors include Sam Lipsyte, David Berman, Patrick DeWitt, and Wells Tower, with illustrations by David Eggers and Brad Neely as well as interviews with Dan Clowes, Barry Hannah, and a yet-to-be-famous Stephen Colbert. All thirty of the-nearly-impossible-to-find issues of this improvised literary almanac are assembled here, with sly illustrations, gonzo layout and typos intact. Zach wrapped it all in a hand-letterpressed cover. Published in conjuncture with Drag City Records.
The Minus Times Hunter Kennedy, Ed. Drag City books and featherproof, 2012
The Universe in Miniature in Miniature
This is a collection of playful sci-fi influenced short stories by Patrick Somerville (The Cradle, This Bright River). The title story is about a father who builds miniature models of fathers and sons building miniature models of the universe. To reflect the ’meta’ aspect of the writing, the book itself is designed as a miniature model of the universe, with one planet for each story in the book, and instructions on how to cut out and construct the mobile. Some stories are illustration hybrids, like “The Abacus”, which was written mainly using faces. "The Machine of Understanding Other People" is a novella at the end which ties all the stories together, just like the string and popsicle sticks used to contract the miniature mobile universe. The book design was featured in Fully Booked: Ink on Paper, Design and Concepts for New Publications (Gestalten).
The Universe in Miniature in Miniature Patrick Somerville featherproof, 2010
This collection of post-apocalyptic stories by Blake Butler (There is No Year, 300,000,000) is designed as a primer on destruction. Each page is a hand-made artifact from a desolate future, some with teeth marks or smears of blood, the edges stained a sooty black, all echoing and enhancing the ruined world mapped out by the book. Pre-orders were hand-destroyed and then sent to adventurous book collectors. The design was noted by Time Out New York, and the book was shortlisted for the Believer Book Award. The book design was featured in Fully Booked: Ink on Paper, Design and Concepts for New Publications (Gestalten).
Scorch Atlas Blake Butler featherproof, 2009
In this collection of southern-gothic flash-fiction Lindsay Hunter (Don’t Kiss me, Ugly Girls) offers an exploration not of the human heart but of the spine; mixing sex, violence and love into a harrowing, head-spinning portraits of bad people in worse places. The book is designed horizontally, as a tackle box with a cover that fully encloses the text. It is illustrated with tackle box trays full of strange and nasty bait. Book design featured in Art in Book Form (Gingko Press).
Daddy’s Lindsay Hunter featherproof, 2010
The Karaoke Singer's Guide to Self Defense
Popular musician Tim Kinsella delivers a heady, harrowing debut novel with interlocking cast of off-balance characters. The Karaoke Singer’s Guide to Self-Defense is a masterful composition with notes of sadness, ambivalence, and the most humane kind of cruelty: honesty. The book is designed to look like a dusty used-book-store find, with illustrations by the author’s tattoo artist, and a hand-written price on the inside front page.
Let Go and Go On And On was designed to look like a book in the same series. It is the story of obscure actress Laurie Bird, told in a second-person narrative, blurring what little is known of her actual biography with her roles as a drifter in Two Lane Blacktop, a champion's wife in Cockfighter, and an aging rock star's Hollywood girlfriend in Annie Hall. She unravels in a Manhattan bathtub, committing suicide at the age of 26. Guided by constraints, Tim Kinsella creates a collage and a flimic tribute to the unknowable. The book was designed a similar appropriation technique.
The Karaoke Singer’s Guide to Self-Defense Tim Kinsella featherproof, 2011
This book contains brilliantly strange set pieces that explode the boundaries of short fiction. Designed to reflect Christian TeBordo’s (We Go Liquid) twisted visions, the collection illustrates the awful possibilities we could never have imagined. This compact volume is interspersed with handwritten postcards, dripping with graphic menace. The cover sees an idyllic picture-perfect world covered with a spot-gloss "death-goo" of awe. The book design was featured inFully Booked: Ink on Paper, Design and Concepts for New Publications (Gestalten).
The Awful Possibilities Christian TeBordo featherproof, 2010
30 Under 30
This anthology includes work from authors such as Shane Jones (Light Boxes), Rachel Glaser (Pee on Water), Mike Young (Look! Look! Feathers), and twenty-seven other young innovators breaking ground, many with smaller publishers. Zach contributed the hand-written story, ‘I Write to You of This,' as well as the cover design for the collection.
30 Under 30: An Anthology of Innovative Fiction by Younger Writers Blake Butler and Lily Hoang, Eds. Starcherone Books, 2011
Zach has designed books for many independent presses including FC2, Fugue State press, Relegation Books, and featherproof, which he founded in 2005.
Stories in origami form = Storigami. These downloadable, foldable mini-books tell stories that arrange themselves any number of ways - depending on how you unfold them. Featured in Flavorwire and Nylon magazine, they were part of featherproof’s popular mini-book series.
The Swan was published by The Antelope Magazine in 2018.