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December 24, 2010

Titan Books Reviews: Lenore: Cooties

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Written by: Mac
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Lenore: CootiesLenore: Cooties
Author/Artist: Roman Dirge
Publisher: Titan Books

For those who have never read a Lenore comic, be warned, they’re not for everyone. The Lenore comics follow the escapades of what appears to be the world’s cutest dead girl. Joined by a cast of crazy (and often disturbing) characters, the comics have always been as funny as they are gruesome.

I’ve been a fan of the works of Roman Dirge (The Monsters In My Tummy, Something At The Window is Scratching) for a while now, and have always enjoyed his Lenore comics. However, the latest release, Lenore: Cooties, is not one of his strongest collections.

Lenore: Cooties begins with Lenore’s return to life, or rather, not life, after escaping Heck. She is met by her long time friend Ragamuffin, who also happens to be a 400-year-old vampire trapped in a stuffed doll body. As you can imagine, the ruler of Heck is not very pleased that she escaped his grasp, and sends his best bounty hunter, Pooty Applewater, to retrieve her. (I’m not making this stuff up folks.) Lenore ends up befriending Pooty, so the ruler of Heck decides to send his armies after her instead, and so forth and so on.

As you might have guessed, it’s not an easy book to summarize. None of the Lenore stories have been particularly linear, and that’s often part of the charm. Overall though, this one just seemed lacking, and I think it’s mostly down to the humor. Lenore is not a high brow character by any means and often makes childish and nonsensical remarks. It’s the kind of thing where you find yourself laughing when you think you probably shouldn’t. Imagine you’re a kid in the school yard again that’s just heard someone call another kid a “poopyhead” for the first time. Unfortunately, that childish sense of the giggles one normally gets just isn’t there. It feels as if the dialog has been forced. In fact, the most interesting characters in this particular volume are Pooty and Ragamuffin. (Especially once Ragamuffin is returned for a while to his original vampiric glory.)

Lenore Lineup

I was also a little disappointed at the lack of one of my favorite characters, Taxidermy. There’s no really good way to describe Taxidermy. He’s a strange sort of stitched-together deer man that serves as one of the most intelligent and well spoken characters in the series to date. He often shows up at just the right time to help Lenore with whatever issue she is facing.

The parts of the book that I really enjoyed were the little mini comics that were sprinkled amongst the normal story line. Roman Dirge does a repeating segment called “Things Involving Me” that tell a little, and exaggerated, story of something that’s happened to him in real life. My favorite part of the entire book is one of these that showed a young Roman playing soldier with his mother’s tampons that he’d painted red to serve as dynamite. Another particular favorite is called “The Ghost and the Snake.” It’s as charming as it is weird.

The other part of the book that I enjoyed was the artwork. Roman has a distinctive, sketchy style to his art. The only artists I can think to compare him to are Jhonen Vasquez and Tim Burton. It’s creepy and cute. There’s also something childlike about it that I can’t help but be attracted to.

Lenore Taxidermy

If you’ve never read any of the Lenore books, this isn’t where I’d recommend that you start. If you’re not familiar with the previous stories, it’s likely that you’ll just get really confused. (Hell, even if you have read the books you may still end up confused.) With a few exceptions, the book isn’t that memorable. If any of the above seemed interesting to you, I’d recommend starting with the first collection called Lenore: Noogies.

I’ll have to give this book 3 out of 5 dead kittens.

Mac Beauvais

A copy of this book was provided by the publisher for review.



  1. Decapitated Dan

    This book rocks and rolls, and even stole my soul!

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