Roman Dirge’s Lenore returns at a new publisher and with another volume of hilarity. This was my first time reading Lenore, which is a shame since I found the book to be quite good. You can put this series in the “Heard of it, but could never find it” category of comics, but now that I have read it I’m hooked. It appeals to my demented sense of humor and tickles me to my core. The book begins with a great opening from Dirge about how he’s run out of cruel names that children use on the playground and how he’s tempted to pay a child to make up a new annoying act so he’ll have a title for his next volume. It sets the stage for the tone for the rest of the book and is quite humorous. The first chapter starts off with a story entitled Birthday Party, in which Lenore is accidentally invited to a little girls party. Since it’s her first party she’s not really sure what to do and thus her friends Ragamuffin and Wicket aka Pooty, posing as his own cousin, help Lenore get ready.
She picks out her outfit for the party which is a bear costume and a tutu. Ragamuffin (who is the only voice of reason in the story) tells her to change and finally she decides just to wear her usually black dress. In their search for a gift Ragamuffin draws an intricate picture of a pony, while Wicket finds a dead cockroach with a funny look on its dead face... they wrap it with the pony picture. At the party Lenore heads straight for the cake and ends up accidentally killing one of the other kids. They’re all aware of her and the murder of one of their friends, but out of fear they ignore her hoping she’ll go away.
Each chapter of the book has one full Lenore tale, followed by a “Things Involving Me” which is stories of real events that have happened to Dirge; my favorite being the time he was mistaken as a Vampire. After the Birthday Party story the origin of Lenore is revealed and the conclusion of Lenore’s stalker. The final chapter sees the return of Pooty who is mostly absent throughout the book. There is additional one to three page stories that are also very entertaining as well that round out each chapter.
The writing is great and as weird as the stories are the pacing and comedic beats are spot on. Dirge times the jokes just right so that you’re not overloaded. Additionally he keeps the story moving forward even through the jokes. Often times when a creator has been working on a comedic series the story becomes secondary to the comedy, but that is most definitely not the case here. I can see why this series has endured for so long and why its fan base loves it. After the first story I was hooked and ready to go back and read the other books.
The art is great and it’s clear that Dirge has mastered his craft with this series. What really brings the art to life though is the coloring. Colors and lighting give the book a creepy look and yet it’s so bright that it’s inviting. It’s a great color palate that sets the mood and tone for the entire series.
The book is releasing at the end of August and new publisher Titan Books will be releasing new hardcovers for the other three volumes as well. The hardcover is gorgeous and really the best way to go if you’re going to get the book, but it will also be in trade if that’s more of your preference. I was honestly blown away by this series and became a fan instantly. I’m anxiously awaiting the new prints for the other volumes to add to my collection and if you are like me and never got to check this series out, then do so. You can also hear me talk about it more on the most recent podcast.
Writer/Artist/Creator: Roman Dirge Publisher: Titan Books Price: $17.99 Release Date: 8/24/12