"Lenore: Purple Nurples" Graphic Novel Review
Written by James Ferguson
Published by Titan Comics
Originally published as Lenore #4-7
Written and Illustrated by Roman Dirge
2013, 120 Pages
Graphic novel released on August 27th, 2013
Oh, Lenore. I hope that when I die I can be half as cool as she is. This lovable little dead girl continues to do whatever the hell she wants. Unfortunately for her friends Ragamuffin and Pooty, that includes getting into insane trouble with the likes of the Creeping Creepig and the really creepy neighbor, Taxidermy. This latest volume, Purple Nurples, collects a few of Lenore's more recent adventures.
Lenore carries on with her day like any other little kid. It's just that she's undead and her idea of fun is very distorted compared to that of your average child. The first story included in Purple Nurples is called “Beware the Creepig Creeping”. It turns out that consuming pork wrapped in pork (such as a bacon wrapped hot dog...mmmmm) after midnight brings down the unstoppable wrath of this creature in seven days time. Lenore can't resist a good hot dog and makes the mistake of chowing down despite the late hour. Now she has to figure out a way to survive the onslaught of the dreaded Creepig!
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This gives you just a taste of the kind of humor to expect from the mind of creator Roman Dirge. It's bizarre, wacky, and a little twisted, but it's always fun. Dirge manages to parody all sorts of big movie cliches in the span of just a few pages. My favorite part of this story has Pooty fighting in “the greatest epic battle ever seen”, only you don't actually see it. Instead, Lenore and Ragamuffin watch from a nearby window, narrating everything as the carnage unfolds. If this was a film, it would be clear that the producers didn't have the budget to shoot such a scene. This is a comic though, and Dirge could have easily drawn everything that is described. But it doesn't feel like a cheat that he didn't. In fact, this is actually more enjoyable than if the battle had been drawn in exquisite detail. You are eventually shown the aftermath of the fight and it is insane. Anything you imagined during the play-by-play is not nearly as crazy as what appears on the page.
Dirge wrote and illustrated Purple Nurples. His style is one that I've grown to really love since I checked out his art book Taxidermied. Lenore's world is presented with a slightly cartoony look to it, but there's a creepy underbelly to the whole thing. You can tell right from page one that something is different here. This isn't your average little girl. It could be the pile of dead clowns in her basement or the fact that her brain sometimes pops out of her skull.
Lenore's neighbor Taxidermy has a larger role in Purple Nurples than in the previous volume, Swirlies. Picture a man in a distinguished three-piece suit with a horrific rotting deer head and you get the idea of this character. He's incredibly professional but is also most likely a serial killer. Dirge drops these little tidbits throughout the story without calling too much attention to them and it's brilliant. Taxidermy cares deeply for Lenore and looks out for her on occasion. He's like Mr. Belevedere...if he also happened to murder people and strike fear into the hearts of grown men.
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Lenore is an incredibly fun comic and one that continues to entertain. There are several laugh-out-loud moments throughout Purple Nurples that made me look like a crazy person as I was reading this in public. Fortunately, that means I'd fit right in with Lenore and her friends and I'm pretty OK with that.