Lenore: ‘Pink Bellies’ Trade

In a storyline that has been building for
over a year, Roman Dirge, the so-called ‘Arch-Deacon of the Macabre’ has been
slowly ratcheting up the tension and silliness in a story arc that will see one
of his most beloved characters pushing up the daisies — FOR GOOD, we kid you
NO, seriously. This isn’t one of those
dead for a year kind of deals other publishers do – this is the real deal. DEFO
dead! Deader than a door nail kind of dead. The sort of dead that leaves the
reader gasping in stunned amazement at the sheer audacity of the thing.
Seriously, as god is my witness someone’s dying or my name isn’t Ferdinand
Marco De Boing Boing III. It’s going to change the way we see dead people in
comic books for all time!
Though I’ve always been aware of Lenore and
read the odd collection, it never quite meshed with me. I can find its dark
humour amusing from time to time, but it’s part of a culture that I was never
around (namely, late 80’s/early 90’s disaffected goth culture) and so don’t
quite ‘get’ its appeal. Perhaps it’s because in a world where everything these
days has to work on at least 20 different levels to appear worthy of being
included in our cultural lexicon, my brain has trouble digesting a story which
is just about a dead girl dicking about with her mates. However, in the
interests of fairness, Lenore seems to have better structure and storytelling
chops than prior work I’ve read of Dirge’s.
Concerning the story of a mischievous dead
girl who has adventures with her friends that usually result in the deaths of
someone, Lenore takes its time, first telling us a story of an ancient god of
death, that later ties into the main storyline which kicks it all off. A bunch
of cynical MTV types visit Lenore’s house, looking to exploit its history for
their own uses in a ‘Most Haunted’ style show. In doing so, they end up dead
but also prove the existence of ghosts to the entire watching world. From them
on on, things only get worse.
Admittedly, this is done is a pretty
whimsical way, even if some readers may find the fates of some of the MTV crew
pretty gruesome. But the story seems to be more interested in Lenore and her
buddies mucking about and poking each other in the arse with pitchforks than
building up inevitable doom. As I said, dark humour, even if it takes that
route via a lot of scatological laughs.
I think in the end Lenore is just something
you will have to take a risk on. Even though after a few read through I could
sink into the rhythm of it, I have to admit it wasn’t aimed at me. That’s fine
though! Not everything should be. Even if it’s not my cup of tea, that Roman
Dirge is able to create entire comics himself, from conception, through
drawing, inking and then onto publishing is impressive. That singular vision is
quite refreshing, compared to the ‘comics by committee’ approach that is the
norm at bigger publishers.
If you think this won’t appeal to you, but
you have kids, get it for them. They’ll enjoy the fun of it all, which is what
comics were originally all about.
To those who are already fans, buy it and
you won’t be disappointed. To those who are sitting on the fence? This comic
digitally will cost you less than a meal if you went out on your own for the
day. Buy it, try it and if you like it, buy more. If not, you have been exposed
to a different experience that will enrich how you view comics as a whole.
When you think of it like that, it’s not
really that bad a deal, is it?
Cover image courtesy of Titan Comics.
Lenore: Pink Bellies is available from Titan Comics or your local comics retailer.

Geek-o-Rama received a copy of this book for the purpose of this review. All thoughts, comments and opinions are those of the individual reviewer.

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