“An anthem for the queenliest dead that ever died so young –
A dirge for her, the doubly dead in that she died so young.”
– Edgar Allan Poe, “Lenore”
What do you get when you mix the cutesy-goth design asthetic of Tim Burton, the vulgar and pop culture-rich humor of South Park, with equal parts Universal Monsters and Edgar Allan Poe references? Why, you get the cult phenomena, Lenore, The Cute Dead Girl of course! The tale of a little zombie girl with a cockroach for a nose, her sentient ragdoll (once a vicious 400 year old vampire), a teensy demonic guardian (formerly employed as Heck’s bounty hunter) with bucket-head and a severe distaste for clowns, and a benevolent, gentlemanly serial killer (formerly an Egyptian god) sporting a crudely taxidermied deer head and a tailored two-piece suit for a neighbor.
They reside in the (thankfully) fictional town of Nevermore, a place where ghastly ghouls and morbid monsters coexist uneasily with an entirely disposable human populace. Dwelling in a delightfully decrepid mansion that’s much larger on the inside than one would think (and, yes, Doctor Who fans, they even make a tardis reference) the morose, yet occasionally merry group trudges through whatever macabre misadventure that creator Roman Dirge (a pen name inspired, much like the gothic world of his titular anti-heroine herself, by the Edgar Allan Poe poem of the same name) has concocted in that twisted brain of his for over 20 years now.
This collection, Lenore – Purple Nurples (Vol. 5 in the series), chronicles issues 4 through 7 of Titan Books appropriately ressurected and revamped comic, with each issue presented as a chapter in the book. There are three tales, a two-parter involving Lenore’s fate involving the Creeping Creepig, and two other one-offs. The main story, with it’s creepy, dead-eyed, floating, Lovecraftian piggy antagonist is particularly enjoyable, the highlight of which is a truly epic battle between robots with laser eyes carrying hordes of zombies, battle pterodactyls, cows with gattlin guns strapped to them, imploding-exploding squirrels, etc. Not that you ever see said battle, of course. It happens entirely off-panel, hilariously narrated by two of our protagonists. And that is a perfect example of this title’s sense of humor.
If Tim Burton, Edgar Allan Poe, The Cure’s Robert Smith, and the creative team behind South Park getting together to hash out ideas for a collaborative Seussian “childrens” book sounds like a match made in Heck to you, then Lenore – Purple Nurples is the comic you’ve been praying for. It’s not for everyone, but that target demographic should fall head over heels in love with this cute dead girl.[subscribe2]