Roman Dirge interview

Roman Dirge is the creator of such books as Lenore, Something at the Window is Scratching, and Monsters in My Tummy, all published by Amaze Ink/Slave Labor Graphics. This month, he presents The Cat With a Really Big Head, and Another Story That's Not as Good, also from AI/SLG. Worlds of Westfield Content Editor Roger Ash recently contacted Dirge about this new project.

Westfield: What can you tell us about The Cat With a Really Big Head? What can people expect in the story?

Roman Dirge: It’s a special story about a special cat that I pulled out of my special ass. It’s the tale of a kitty born a la elephant man style and his short misadventures. It’s not meant to be one of my deeper works or anything, but I did it just for fun and to get it out of my bowels.

Westfield: Is the story done in a traditional comic form, or is it text with illustrations like Something at the Window is Scratching?

Dirge: It’s done more in the style of my Monsters In My Tummy book. One heavily labored, finger cramping illustration per page. It’s fun for the kids.

Westfield: The book also contains One Other Story That Isn’t As Good. What can you tell us about that?

Dirge: It reeeeeally sucks and I can't believe I sank to a new low level to put that in there. I shall slap myself upside my head. Hopefully, I'll switch it out for another story that’s not as good but slightly better than that one. Damn, that was like explaining time travel.

Westfield: Your stories remind me of Edward Gorey's books. Were you influenced by his work?

Dirge: Unfortunately, no. I discovered him well into my career, but I wish I had known of him sooner. I might have turned out better. I evolved from the more old school weird stuff like Rankin & Bass and Dr. Seuss.

Westfield: You've branched out into doing merchandise as well, like the Lenore doll, the Creepy Tiki mugs and the Betrayal figure. Is this something you've wanted to do all along and are you happy with the results?

Dirge: I'm actually really picky about what I put out. Any merchandise I make has to be something that I want to play with or have on a shelf in my house. I spent over a week drawing and discarding designs for my lunchbox until I was 100 percent pleased, which is now...cough cough...Eisner nominated. The moral here kids, is that anal behavior equals Eisners.

Westfield: Can you tell us anything about what's going on with the Lenore comic and film?

Dirge: Ugh....The film. God knows. At this point, I'd just love to get the rights back. All I can really say is that a script was written that I hate and can't endorse. As for the comic, anyone that read Lenore 9 knows I came back swinging with mad skills. I've been drawing that damn comic for just over a decade now, so I did the latest one in a slightly different fashion so as to entertain myself, and it worked. I'm halfway through with writing Lenore 10 right now and its even funnier. I giggle internally.

Westfield: A project of yours that's highly anticipated is the Taxidermy special. What's the status of the book?

Dirge: Yeaaaaah..... That thing. Its been over half done for a long time now, but I ended up writing it out as a movie script and now I want to go back and update the comic to be as good as the script. As long as I don't die, I will eventually finish it.

Westfield: Do you have any other projects you're working on you'd like to mention?

Dirge: I'm making my first real short film right now entitled Teeth. It’s the biggest project I've done and I'm sweaty. I'm also in development for several cartoons and movies; so hopefully one day, one of them will make it past development and actually be seen. Crazy concept.

Westfield: Any closing comments?

Dirge: Nah. My 1930s dental chair just arrived and I’m gonna go play with it. Byeeee.