You have no idea how badly I needed this volume of Lenore. I’ve been waiting with baited and possibly stinky breath for its release and it arrived at a time when I required a laugh. You know those weeks in which nothing brings forth a deep joyful laugh and then suddenly the smallest of things sets you off. For me it was a single panel in this comic that factually made me laugh for almost three minutes… and now twenty seconds. It made me laugh again, what can I say. The strange thing about this volume is that the opening seems like a strange foreshadowing to the events that turned Roman Dirge into a cyborg after he was run down by a drunk driver in Hollywood. It’s just kind of a strange coincidence.
The other thing is that this volume seems incredibly modern and really I’m just too ignorant on the time line of these releases and when new material is produced compared to re-released material. I’m going to pull a “Dirge” as I’m calling it, and not look it up. It was modern which I’m sure some older fans may not like, but for me it showed the growth of the creator and series. That this wasn’t the same old pig trotted out with a fresh coat of lipstick.
Speaking of pigs the first two chapters of this volume deal with the Creepig Creeping; Lenore partakes in pig gluttony after midnight when Monster Muffin arrives on her doorstep with a bacon wrapped hotdog. He warns her of the Creepig Creeping which is a Pig Wraith. After eating what remained of the bacon wrapped hotdog Lenore is visited by the harbinger chop and given her warning. The harbinger chop is a floating raw pork chop. This interaction is one of the funniest sequences as the harbinger chops ex-wife shows up in the middle of his spiel with their kid and bugs him about child support. I kid you not when I say that the scene only gets funnier and funnier from there.
Dirge’s story pacing and jokes are masterful. His comedic timing is unlike anyone else’s in comics. I think of the other series that have made me laugh or chuckle this year and as good as they are they’re nowhere near Dirge’s level. If I wasn’t laughing out loud on each page I was at the very least cracking the biggest grin possible. There are so many jokes that feel familiar and yet are very fresh. I’m sure he has some comedic influence, but unlike other writers he doesn’t make it obvious. His writing is at the top of its game and though I know that Lenore must end one day… I will repress that knowledge and lie to myself forever and ever.
The artwork is also masterful. Though Dirge’s style is likely not for everyone or even what I would consider the “average” comic reader, it still has a level of skill that only comes from producing large body of material and talent. The charm of Lenore is that Dirge layers the average and mundane with the weird and strange; this is never more relevant than with the scene with the Taxidermist. The coloring is bright and beautiful. The art looks like something out of a Sunday newspaper and yet he instantly corrupts the scene with hilarious violence.
There are so many scenes that I’m still thinking about and laughing about. The clowns in particular will stay with me forever and the next time I see one in person I’m likely to burst out laughing. That’s the thing about this series and Dirge’s storytelling in particular… it stays with you. His jokes become a part of your language and then a part of your culture and that’s not something many creators will ever be able to do.
Whether you’ve read Lenore before is irrelevant; the story and world and simple to figure out and even if you don’t know the characters or the past the jokes act as enough of a distraction to keep you occupied. Pick the book up, is basically what I’m getting out. It’s the funniest damn thing I’ve read all year.
Writer/Artist/Creator: Roman Dirge Publisher: Titan Books Price: $17.99 Release Date: 8/27/13