Friday, September 13, 2013

Finding humor in horrible places | An Interview with Roman Dirge

It’s been over 15 years since Lenore was first published. How surreal is it for you now seeing how far Lenore has come over the years from her first appearance to now?

It's been 21 years since I first published her in 1992, which yes, technically I suppose that IS over 15 years. A lot of people don't know, but I was born OVER 4 YEARS AGO! It's rather trippy to see. She was such a doodle when I started and I had no idea where she'd go or that it would end up being the bulk of my life's work. No regrets..... No re.... OHMYGAWDWHATHAVEIDONEWITHMYLIFE??!!!

Lenore is the little dead girl that is loved worldwide. What do you think sets Lenore fans apart from other comic fans?

The will to wear dark coats on a sunny day? I dunno. I've often heard that Lenore is a comic book for people that don't read comics. I've never really understood that term. Here's insulin for people without diabetes...

Your story is one of those “teachers said you’d never make it” type scenarios yet of course you did carve a career for yourself as both a talented and admired comic artist and artist, period. Have you ever run into or heard from any of those art teachers who said your art style wouldn’t do well?

No, but I'm very thankful of that teacher. The best thing he could have ever done for me is telling me what I cannot do. That ensures I will do that thing. I'm just really glad he never told me I can't be a serial killer or a robot or some shit.

There were rumblings at the 2011 comic con that Neil Gaiman had agreed to serve as an executive producer on a CGI film adaptation of Lenore. Has anything more transpired on this project since then? 

Yes. I'm now with a production company called Starburns Industries. They're finishing up a Charlie Kaufman movie, and then I'm supposed to be next. Neil is still attached to the project. You have no idea how giddy I am to start that.

What is your favorite of all the Lenore stories? Is there one character aside from Lenore that is your personal favorite?

Probably either the Creepig story or the Nazi Zombie one. My all time fav character is Taxidermy.

Aside from Lenore, you have created many great comics and books. Is there anything new you are working on that you can tell us about?

I'm working on a sci-fi graphic novel entitled "Monocle" about alternate dimensional beings that use us for food, and I'm writing and coloring my first super hero book called "Stringbean". It's like Kick Ass meets Clive Barker meets Iron Man. I'd like to watch that meeting from afar... I'm also in development at Nickelodeon to do an animated show "Princess Battle Boy." Mayhem ensues.

You’ve worked with other amazing comic artists like Jhonen Vasquez are there any artists out there you would love to work with but haven’t had the opportunity yet?

For the most part, I've been insanely lucky enough to work with whomever I've wanted. Having said that, the list of other artists and writers I respect would be too long to list right after I just downed my 6th beer. Am I typing something right now? Nah... Right? Wait...

Earlier this year, you and your girlfriend Amber were involved in a horrid hit and run accident that left both of you with substantial injuries. One of your legs was severely injured and you are now left with what you’ve termed a few times as a “robo leg”. As a friend it’s always been great to see you maintain your wicked sense of humor no matter the circumstances. How has this year changed you and what have you taken from it?

I've always tried to find humor in horrible places. I told jokes about my favorite cousin at his own funeral. My family laughed. It's just how I was raised. I'm also someone who thinks the glass is always half full. It could be cyanide rimmed, but it is still half full. I lost a chunk of my leg and it hurts to walk and I'm all gimpy now. BUT, I could have died or had brain damage. Sure, brain damage would be tough to spot in me. I get that. I'm just so thrilled to still be on this Earth though and have been extra motivated to get more accomplished since the accident.

Despite everything that has happened this year, you soldier on and continue to create. Lenore Vol.2 #8 was released this week. What’s next for Roman Dirge?

Lenore Vol.2 #9! It is like you dug your own pit, covered it with leaves, and then walked in to it.

When Roman Dirge isn’t working on comics etc what is he doing?

Video games and Breaking Bad. That's pretty much it. Oh, and booze. I'm old and my leg hurts. Don't judge me, man.