Described by the Los Angeles Times as “an unholy union between Tim Burton and Dr. Seuss”, Roman Dirge’s Lenore quickly became a staple in the dark and comedic corner of the comics industry. After a two year hiatus, Dirge returns to his most popular character in an all-new series from the England-based Titan books.
This second volume of Lenore kicks things off with the origin of Lenore, 100 years past at the hands of a funeral director named Mortimer Fledge. In addition, this inaugural first issue will include a rhyming tale entitled “The Parasol Princess” and a little auto-biography comix from Dirge himself.
We talked with Dirge about the recently released first issue, and what people can expect.
Newsarama: What can you tell us about this new volume of Lenore, Roman?
Roman Dirge: It's bigger, more colorful....some would say smellier.
Nrama: This new comic is called “The Macabre Malevolence of Mortimer Fledge”. Who’s Mortimer, and why’s he so… malevolent?
Dirge: Mortimer Is the unlucky mortician that embalmed Lenore 100 years. After Lenore chews him a new bung hole about it, he goes in to shock and loses his job, wife and purpose in life. He seems to have lost his hair too, but I think that's from something unrelated. Possibly his diet or genetics.
Nrama: This is an origin, long in the coming since Lenore first debuted. Why’d you choose to do it now?
Dirge: Hey, why not? I think in the past I only vaguely mentioned how she died and that she was embalmed. I just wanted to further explore that moment and how it would affect others. I'd kind of like to do an issue of Lenore before she died. Might be a neat experiment. Dunno.
Nrama: I trust this is more than just a return for Lenore, but also of Ragamuffin, Mr. Gosh and some others, right? Who else might show up?
Dirge: Oh, yeah. They'll all be making their way back in the pages. Ragamuffin is front and center in this issue and squishes a guy's head with an Alien cargo loader, so you know that's awesome right there. Mr.Gosh makes his return in the next issue as he'll be the focus this time around as he finally decides he's had enough of the abuse from Lenore and it's time for him to move on. Mayhem ensues.
Nrama: This new book is coming from a new address – Titan Books. After years at SLG, why the move?
Dirge: It was time to grow up. I had a great, long...reaaaaally long run with SLG, but it was time to move on and pretend to be a big boy. Titan has lofty plans for me and I like plans. Eeeeeeevil plans.
Nrama: I’ve seen Lenore as a toy, a cartoon, and even heard talk about a movie at one point. Any plans for Lenore outside comics coming up?
Dirge: I'm still trying to get a Lenore movie made but it's a tough battle because I want to maintain control over the script. You'd be amazed how many producers have told me how they're gonna change Lenore. I just look at them and back up slowly to the door while making beeping sounds from my mouth. Lets see... I'm also working on A Ragamuffin video game for iPhone right now. I finally have an excuse for my years of excessive video gaming. See, it was all research!...cough cough. Www.Spookyland.com, my old website, just got a complete makeover. She sure is pretty now. All the boy websites are making googley eyes and flexing muscles for her.
Nrama: According to your entry on Wikipedia, you have over 75 tattoos. I have to ask – are any of them Lenore?
Dirge: Yup. I have the first drawing I ever did of Lenore tattooed down half my arm. It got featured in a tattoo magazine many, MANY years ago and a few months after it came out, this guy emails me a picture of his tattoo he had just got earlier that day. He writes "Hey, man check it out. I think it's so cool that we think so alike. I drew my tattoo up when I was really stoned though. Don't really remember doing it even. Anyway, I had never heard of your work but my friend just saw my new tattoo and told me it looks like your character so I looked you up. Peace!" The tattoo in the picture was my exact drawing but he had removed all the hair, making her bald. I wrote back and asked if he remembered vaguely looking through a tattoo magazine while he was stoned and he replied "Yeah, why?"
Nrama: And have you seen any Lenore tattoos in your time?
Dirge: I have tons of them showcased on Spookyland.com from fans that have sent them in. I'm always looking for more!
Nrama: And lastly, are you doing any special events or appearances to coincide with the new book?
Dirge: Yes, I will be doing semi nightly signings of my tab at the local pub to celebrate all my hard work. Other than the San Diego Comic Con we all just drudged through, I don't really have any plans. There were murmurs from Titan about me doing a London signing in the not too far off future, but I gotta get a couple more books under my belt with them so they can feel less cheated when I hop off the plane, change my appearance, cover my tracks and just roam around London on their dime. Four days later, I'd go back to the airport, call them on a payphone collect and scream and cry, asking them why they never picked me up at the airport and I'm just gonna go home.