Roman Dirge, writer/artist of the humorously macabre comic book series, "Lenore, The Cute Little Dead Girl' made a big comeback from his disabling encounter with an SUV earlier this year with his spotlight panel at Comic-Con International in San Diego, touching briefly on the Neil Gaiman-produced "Lenore" stop-motion feature film currently being developed and several several upcoming projects, including a new science fiction graphic novel, Dirge's first superhero comic and a gender-bending fantasy cartoon in development for Nickelodeon.
Dirge limped into the room, which was packed with cheering goth girls and emo boys bearing gifts, including a top hat decoupaged with images from "Lenore" which elicited praise from the creator, followed by a mock-indignant, "You cut up my books!?"
Steve White, Titan Magazines' Senior Comics Editor asked Dirge about the accident that caused his limp. Dirge gave a graphic, yet humorous, description of the February 2013 accident in which he and his girlfriend were struck by an SUV as they crossed a street.
"You know how you normally know where your foot is?" Dirge said. "I looked down; I know where I left it, (but) it wasn't there." His leg was broken so badly his foot was jutting off in a completely unnatural direction. When the doctors explained the procedure for rebuilding the bones in his leg to Dirge, "I was just smiling. 'I'm part cyborg, is what you're saying,'" he said, gleefully. Later, asked if there was anything he felt the need to do following his near-death experience, Dirge replied "Live." "I just want to get things done."
Dirge moved on to announce new projects he's working on, saying "I'm not forsaking Lenore, I love her, and she'd kill me." Announcing the new graphic novel he is working on, "Monocle' Dirge described it as the story of a very respected psychologist who discovers that there are creatures from another dimension that are abducting humans because "we're their caviar."
Known best for his dark humor in "Lenore," as well as his contributions to fellow Slave Labor creator Jhonen Vasquez' Nickelodeon show "Invader Zim," Dirge said he will depart from his usual themes, somewhat, in his first superhero comic book, "String Bean," created in collaboration with artist Brent J. Trembath ("Scruffy Puppies"). Dirge, and the audience, laughed when White asked if he had decided to enter the super hero genre "...because you're a cyborg?"â€¨â€¨"String Bean" follows a klutzy inventor who designs an "Iron Man"-type suit and sets out to fight bad guys. Dirge said the story starts out like a typical super hero story, but turns into a "different kind of book' when String Bean turns out to have very little control over the suit, doing more damage than good. Other super heroes band together to stop String Bean, "He's really confused," said Dirge, "and so are they! 'Why are you fighting me?' [asks String Bean], 'You've killed 46 people!' [the super heroes reply]. 'Not on purpose!'"
Dirge then spoke about "Princess Battle Boy," a new show he's developing for Nickelodeon, produced by Starburns and based on a concept by Steve Green. The show is a "fish out of water story about this Viking kid [a boy] who becomes Princess Sparkle Time in the Sparkle forest."
Asked about his plans for "Lenore," Dirge mentioned the Comic-Con pre-release of "Lenore: Purple Nurples," which hits stores August 21. Dirge then revealed that a main character is going to die within the next three issues. "Real death or comic death?" asked White. "Real. A character does die."
In response to the question of whether "Lenore" will just continue on and on, or if it has a set conclusion, Dirge said, "I wrote out the one that, when I'm dead, I want to come out. I'm not drawing it myself, of course."
One fan asked if Dirge was doing any voice acting. Dirge said he'd love to reprise his role as Ragamuffin in the "Lenore" film.
Finally, asked "If there was one thing you could stuff, who or what would it be?" Dirge deadpanned, "Dead or alive?"