Reading an issue of Roman Dirge’s Lenore is like having a hole drilled into your head, then having a pack of very tiny rabid weasels poured into your brain who proceed to tickle your frontal lobe, dry-hump your synapses, and gnaw on your cerebral cortex—but in the best possible way! Dirge has been creating Lenore comics (pausing for an extended Sabbatical before starting up again) for 20 years. This summer’s installment of Lenore ( Volume 2, #SIX) is out now from Titan Magazines. This year is Lenore’s Official 20th Anniversary, and the comic remains as macabre and hilarious as ever.
This issue of Lenore is titled “The Dweller in the Fridge,” after Roman Dirge asked fans to vote on two potential titles on his Facebook page. Lenore #6 is a self-contained story, so new readers can hop right in and enjoy the ride. Dirge has a dark and irreverent sense of humor that is genuinely funny. I challenge you to read this comic and not laugh, guffaw, smile or smirk. Anyone who can’t derive a little joy from a Lenore comic might just possibly be as dead inside as the title character is undead.
Before I abuse any more comparisons, let’s touch on the plot of this issue. Lenore #6 contains two seemingly unrelated story threads. After making a cake (and a potential disaster area) Lenore seems to be having some difficulties in her kitchen—particularly with something in the fridge.
Meanwhile, Ragamuffin and Pooty have some troubles of their own after Pooty happens to kill a clown that came to the front door. Killing the clown isn’t the real dilemma; the fact that the dead clown was wrapped up in Lenore’s favorite pirate poodle-adorned blankey and his corpse has now disappeared, however, is a problem. This sets off frenetic search throughout a house that is anything but normal, and hilarity ensues.
In the end, these two storylines end up intertwining. Readers will rejoice in the dark humor, with some Doctor Who and booth babe jokes and references sprinkled in for good effect.
Lenore is obviously a work where Roman Dirge just has fun, and so does the reader. Yes, he recycles a few panels, just changing a small part here and there. The character art is fairly simple, with more detail arising from the backgrounds. This is just the style of Lenore comics, and paired with Dirge’s hilarious writing, it completely works. Roman Dirge is quite capable of more refined work, as you can see in the large pin-ups included in Lenore comics or in his awesome Taxidermied art book. I like Lenore just the way it is. If a comic can make me genuinely laugh, it’s definitely good in my book. If you read more than just spandex-laden, convoluted comics–chances are you might dig Lenore too (especially if you have a twisted sense of humor). Thanks for 20 years, Roman Dirge and Lenore!
[Note: Roman Dirge reached out to his Facebook fans for artwork submissions to appear in this issue, with him selecting the winner. Full disclosure--the work he selected was created by one of my friends, Tasha Zimich (A Gorey Story), but that fact had no influence in any way on the outcome of this review. If Lenore #6 had sucked, I would not have hesitated to tell you so.]
4 out of 5 stars