Super reviews Roman Dirge's Lenore: Cooties.
Credits & Solicit Info:
Written, Drawn, and Colored by Roman Dirge
120 Pages Hardcover
Collects Lenore #'s 9-12
Take a trip into the dark, surreal world of a little dead girl with a knack for (often) unintentional mayhem!
Lenore might only be small, but her talent for mischief — and occasional wanton destruction — is anything but. Witness the mayhem that ensues when Lenore and friends are attacked by a gaggle of vicious militant mice, and cower in the face of an assault by undead German soldiers from Hell! Never has the term 'something for everyone' seemed more sinister and bizarre.
Anyone who knows my comic book tastes knows that a book like Lenore would usually show little interest in my world of mainstream tights and spandex. Well, that's normally true but I remember my Hot Topic days when they used to carry issues of Lenore in their small comic book section. I even read an issue or two.
So this collection of Lenore comics brings back some good memories.
Some background information on the book and it's characters: Lenore is the cute little dead girl. She died of pneumonia but didn't realize that she was dead until much later. Through the course of her published adventures, she meets a number of friends and enemies and causes mostly innocent mayhem wherever she goes.
One of her most common companions is Ragamuffin, a vampire cursed into a stuffed doll body. He's loyal even though Rag ends up as a target for many of Lenore's antics.
The story (and there is a continuing narrative that ties this collection together) involves Lenore escaping from Heck and having the undead forces of the underworld trying to get her back in. The tale meanders to it's inevitable ending and really doesn't seem to care that much for moving forward so much as getting as many dark humor gags in as possible before eventually getting back to the plot. This doesn't mean it comes off as tedious. It actually feels completely natural that the plot will just wait around until the gags are all done.
Some of the jokes are downright hilarious and some of them fall completely flat. Lenore has some major ADD going on which MAY be because of her brain being eaten away by worms or it might just be because she's messing with everyone. The fact that it could go either way actually makes things more interesting.
The art is a mixed bag. It doesn't have the polish that I usually look for in a book but it's messier lines do fit the story well. The more grotesque images in the book don't actually stretch too far into nasty territory. The colors, new to this volume, are amazing. It's very nice to see this art coming to life in an appropriate color palette and it's nice to see that it was also added by Roman Dirge.
You want to know the best part about the book, though? It's not Lenore. Sure, Lenore and company's adventures fighting off an army of mice, a fake twin sister, and the Nazi undead army of Heck is good times and will certainly entertain but the gem of this book are the Things Involving Me stories where Roman Dirge goes into childhood tales and other personal stories. These are hilarious, especially the one involving his father (my wife and I both laughed out loud on reading that one). Some of the other back stories also shine and are nice breaks from the main story. I would love more of these.
While the book gives you a nice, complete story, it doesn't walk you through anything you may have missed in the previous two books. This means when Taxidermy shows up in the last chapter without anyone even mentioning who he IS... you might think you missed a page. There are other bits of the book that won't do you any favors by introducing characters. Now, google is your friend and all and it's really all about the joke instead of the plot but if this is something that bothers you, you'd be better served picking up Lenore: Noogies and getting in on the ground floor. Follow that up with Lenore: Wedgies and then check out this compilation.
This book is obviously not for everyone. The dark humor and black comedy (and other words with "dark" and "black" in them) make it a book you wouldn't want to pick up for children (if "Lenore: The Cute Little Dead Girl" didn't give that away already). This book is better for teenages and adults. Like I said, it never gets too disgusting but it has it's moments so figure out what your tolerance is before you decide to pick this up. Is this too much for you?
Then you might want to avoid this one. If that made you chuckle a little bit even out of context, then this is the book for you.
Add to the package some nice back extras, including extra art, guest comics, and a foreword by Neil Gaiman all within a nice hard cover and you've got something nice to read on those long, spooky nights. Lenore: Cooties isn't a book I'd usually put in my collection but it was one of the better things I've read lately. Check it out if you need a cute little dead girl in your life.
Review by: SuperginraiX