I’ve never had a huge love of comics. I absolutely appreciate the artistry and talent behind them, but comic books and graphic novels rarely engage me like I wish they would. That said, I *love* comic conventions. The costuming, the art show, the pure raw passion of so many of the attendees — it’s just wonderful! And what’s even better, is that next Friday at C2E2 in Chicago, I’ll have the opportunity to meet the artists of three of the only comics to truly excite me.
Back in 1998, when I was a little babygoth, a comic-loving coworker bought me a comic book. Today’s Tiarala would explain to the clueless Tiarala of Christmas Past that said coworker was flirting, but at the time I just saw it as a sweet little gift from a guy I thought was too cute to possibly like me. Anyway, the gift introduced me to Lenore, the Cute Little Dead Girl, and I was hooked instantly. The dark humor, the adorable drawings, rich with Burtonesque creepiness but with a style all their own… it all just made me so damn happy. Roman Dirge would go on to be one of the unwell brains behind the genius of Invader Zim, but he had me at Lenore and I became obsessed.
My college animation projects were all based on clippings from my Lenore books. I made advertising for Lenore books, and even made up a cereal called Noogies & Buggies based on Lenore for a digital art class. (It had little skull-shaped cereal bits and eyeball marshmallows and I would so buy all of it!) I’d kill to be able to find these old pieces, lost forever on Zip disks that played the click of death before I thought to back them up. Also, I still want the Lenore tattoo I contemplated years ago. Maybe Roman would draw me one if I asked nicely. (Probably not, but **swooon*… ahem.)
So while the unwashed masses line up for Dirge and his friend and collaborator Jhonen Vasquez to sign their Invader Zim memorabilia, I’ll be in line with my first Lenore book, sadly wilted from an unfortunate cup-of-water vs. kitten incident, and my Spooky, the Thing What Squeaks toy from Vasquez’s “I Feel Sick” series, also circa late ’90s. Not because I’m cooler than you because I knew of them back then, but because I’m not a huge Zim fan, and when I think of comics, I think of dark purple nail polish and lipstick (never, never black), clove cigarettes, a boy who liked me and I didn’t know it, and Slave Labor Graphics.
Follow Roman Dirge on Twitter because he’s cooler than you @Taxidermied