Review - Lenore: Cooties


Lenore: Cooties is a-120 page hardcover collection, written, illustrated, and coloured by Roman Dirge. The book was published by Titan Books, on November 30th, 2010.

Lenore is a comic series created by Roman Dirge, and inspired by the poem “Lenore” by Edgar Allan Poe. Lenore started life at Slave Labor Graphics, who published the first 13 black & white issues of the series. In 2009, following this initial run, the series moved to Titan Books, who have been publishing volume II of the series, in full colour, from issue #14 onwards. Titan has been publishing hardcover collections of volume I of the series, newly coloured by Dirge himself, and split into 3 books, Lenore: Noogies, Lenore: Wedgies, and Lenore: Cooties.

Lenore tells the story of a 10 year-old undead girl who lives in a mansion with her other creepy friends. In this third and final book of the first series, we catch up with Lenore after her second resurrection, and follow her continuing adventures with her best friend Ragamuffin - a 400 year old immortal vampire who is stuck in the body of a stuffed toy. Lenore doesn’t exactly have a strict continuity, but the four issues of this book form a loose story arc that tells of Lenore’s escape from Hell (or Heck), and the devil’s subsequent attempts to drag her back there.

In the course of the story, Lenore encounters all sorts of bizarre friends, both new and old, falls in love (and quickly falls back out again), battles with hordes of murderous mice, forces people to eat bananas, meets her twin sister (kinda), hangs out with a muffin monster, battles with the legions of hell, and much, much more. Oh. and Ragamuffin finally gets his wish, and is turned back into a fearsome vampire, for a while, anyway!

Alongside the main strip, the book also features a couple of Lenore shorts, as well as the short comics The Ghost and the Snake and Nature’s Really Amazing Stuff, and a number of “Things Featuring Me” shorts, which recount humorous, and often bizarre occurrences from Roman Dirge’s personal life. The book also features tons of back-up material, including covers, promotional artwork, pinups, a guest art gallery, and a Deady Meets Lenore crossover story.

The issues of Lenore collected in Cooties are some of the very best of the series. Dirge’s artwork and writing really went up a notch during this period of the series, and Lenore’s adventures became even more outrageously bizarre, sick & twisted, and hilariously funny. Reading the issues together in this collection, I actually thought the story read even better than it did when I read the original issues, likely due to the fact that the narrative that ties the issues together flows a lot better in collected form. It certainly doesn’t hurt that the strips have now been given a makeover, with beautiful coloring by Roman Dirge - they now look even better than ever.

Lenore is a fantastic series, which has spawned a slew of imitators over the years. They say that imitation is the best form of flattery, which is all well and good, but nothing is as good as the original! One of the great things about Lenore is that it has an appeal that seems to stretch outside of the comics world, in fact I know dozens of people who read Lenore, who’ve never touched another comic in their lives. It has a strange appeal I think, due to the mixture of the cute and the grotesque. Actually, I’ve noticed that my wife has been eying up this hardcover collection for a few days now, and she hates comics. I don’t know how Dirge does it, but he’s got some sort of voodoo magic going on!

Lenore: Cooties is a fantastic collection, that brings together some of the best issues of Lenore, beautifully revitalized with new colours by Roman Dirge, and bound in a gorgeous hardcover volume. I would highly recommend picking this book up, because it contains tons of great content for fans both new and old. I enjoyed the book so much that I’m now going to buy the previous two volumes, just to see all that fantastic artwork in fresh new colour. Brilliant stuff!

Pick up a copy from my store.

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