Return of the Cute Little Dead Girl (Lenore is back)

Welcome back, kiddies. Today as promised we’re going to be talking about Lenore.

Some of you may be saying “Hey! Why is he talking about Lenore? Lenore is not a horror comic!” To which I reply, “Hey! Why not calm the hell down? First of all the horror comic genre is too restrictive. And second of all, dark humor fits. And third of all, I like it and it’s my blog. So stop hollering at me!”

So for those of you who have been living in a cave or at the very least not going anywhere near a comic book store for about a hundred years, you may not know what Lenore is. It’s a comic book made by Roman Dirge. It’s about a little dead girl and her strange and varied friends and acquaintances. To really give you a handle on what this comic is like, imagine that Tim Burton did comics instead of movies. And that everything he did was actually good.

Although that seemed like a stretch when I wrote it, I have since recalled the drawings and such that Burton used to do, and they are really good. And very similar to Dirge’s stuff. Not in a copying way, but in a, these-guys-are-like-each-other way. And his early films where he did whatever he wanted were awesome. I personally like “Vincent” If you haven’t seen it, seek it out. So anyway…

I first came to Lenore, somewhere around 10 years ago, those of you who have been reading my blog for quite some time, should be aware that I don’t consider exact facts to be very important. So around 10 years ago is good enough, it could be five years. It could be 20 years, what difference does it make in the fullness of time?

The point is, a while back Roman made a series of comic books, called Lenore, and they were very thin and done in black and white. When I say black and white, I mean grayscale. The art was simplistic. Now I have, in the past, complained about bad art and much of the bad art that I complain about is simplistic. This may lead some of you believe that I think all simplistic art is crap. That’s not true at all.

Crappy art is crap. There is an infinite range of styles. They range from sparse design-like elements to fully rendered lush realism. And any of them can be good and any of them can be crap. It’s actually a very complex interplay of the emotions being conveyed and the artist’s skill-set in implementing it. You must also account for the intended audience and the context of when the piece was created. The first story in Dark Horse’s new Creepy issue #1 for example was crap. Not because it was simple, but because it didn’t work with the story. I realize this is not a review of Creepy. It was just so bad, I had to say it again.

The point is, Roman Dirge’s art is perfect for the story and the style and the mood of the comic. After a few years of there being no Lenore’s, a new comics company has picked it up. And they are now printing brand-new issues of Lenore, starting a new series. And this time it’s in color.
Now since I just got done saying that Roman’s art on the original was perfect for what it was doing, and it was black-and-white, you should understand why this kind of made me a little nervous. I heard that the new one would be color. I was afraid that the color would blow. And by blow, I mean, suck. Or even by some miracle do both simultaneously. Turns out I had nothing to fear.

Apparently Roman himself does, the coloring. I was afraid they would have handed it off to some coloring house in India or some such, and the colors would look as shitty as that Richard Corbin color insert stuff they used to do in the Warren Eerie magazines, back in the 70s. Now don’t get me wrong I love Richard Corbin, but the “color” parts of Eerie, blew.

No real reflection on Richard, a lot of the color printing done in that period of the 70s was pretty bad. (Interesting side note — Richard Corbin actually went on to do some of the most honored color work in comics. The stuff in which he actually used color as part of the art is some of his most beautiful stuff. And I will be talking about this in the future when I get around to doing a big piece on Richard Corbin. He, like Bernie Wrightson, is among my favorite artists ever. And I will be talking about all of these people at great length. In many posts.)

I’ve rambled on long enough. The whole point of this post is to announce the rebirth of Lenore in color and in a thicker magazine. The magazine has changed publishers, and is now being published by Titan books, a division of Titan publishing group Ltd., the cover price is $3.99. It also has, I can tell more pages than the older ones. It’s significantly thicker, but it has no page numbers. So I don’t know how many it has… All right… if you’re going to make a big thing out of it, hold on while I physically count them… 32, plus the cover sheet. (Happy now?)
Additionally it is printed on the most beautiful optically white uncoated paper. It looks amazing. Dark Horse could take a lesson from this. I don’t understand why they (Dark Horse) chose to use a coated stock for a one color print job that was a recreation of a magazine that was originally on uncoated paper. (bitching about Creepy again, sorry)
A big (and for me, welcome) change is the inclusion of advertising. Some would think that that’s a bad idea, but not me. In this case the advertising is for other publications along these lines. And it’s difficult to find this sort of thing. So I really view the ads as the publisher doing me a great favor. The ads are for things like the collected Lenore books. And these are some thick hardcovers, which just from the ads I can’t tell if they are collected comics or written for the books. Point is, it doesn’t matter. Its nice to know that they’re out there and will be on sale February 2010.
Now that I’m actually reading the ad, the books are reprints of the original comic series, and they have been colored. So you can bet that when February 2010 rolls around, I will buy both of them and review them. This, even though I own all the issues that are going to be reprinted in them. (What do you want to bet that they get a good review?)
This issue also has a preview of a new Roman Dirge Comic creation called Samurai Sloth. I will have to get that too. Although the magazine doesn’t say anything more than “Coming soon”.
I guess at this point, saying that I like Lenore and that I think Roman Dirge may be one of the funniest comic book writers I’ve ever read, might be kind of redundant. Go out and buy the new Lenore. If anything it may actually be better than the original series. The art is perfect. The writing is hysterical. If I could change anything about them. I would like them to be longer, or come out more often.(or in 3D. Everything’s better in 3D)
Oh before I go, Roman has a website where you can find all things Dirge-ish or Lenore-ish. It’s called spookyland.com. You can obviously get to it by clicking the previous sentence where it said spookyland.com or here where it says spookyland.com. See you next time.
…and remember to save those chicken livers!

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