Something at the Window is Scratching

By Roman Dirge (Titan Comics)
ISBN: 978-1-78276-349-9

Win’s Christmas Gift Recommendation: Gloriously Skewed, Marvellously Inventive… 10/10

Roman Dirge is the multi-award winning, creatively twisted auteur behind the epically eccentric and deliriously disquieting Lenore: the Cute Little Dead Girl, but like quicksand and scabs he also has a hidden, softer, side.

Way back in 1998 he first compiled a compendium of poetic paeans to the weirder side of life, death and all points betwixt; all superbly synched with a wealth of his uniquely unsettling, chillingly cute Graphic Grotesques and this has now been remastered and re-released as part of Titan Comic’s sinisterly sublime full-colour hardback line archiving his entire canon.

Scaring and simultaneously delighting kids with poetry has always been a popular sport and this turbulent tome echoes with the ghosts of such luminaries as Roald Dahl, Edward Lear, Ogden Nash and Berke Breathed (he’s not actually dead yet, but his kids stuff is so good, he’s certain to be one day…) as it exposes a host of hidden wonders ranging from single page epigrams to extended verse sagas, beginning with ‘The Coo Coo Lady’ whose love for her clock knew no bounds and was – apparently – mutual, before a brief digression reveals the secrets of making ‘Critter Pie’ after which vampiric brothers settle a long-held beef in ‘The Sideways Man’

The eponymous ‘Something at the Window is Scratching’ details the death of a certain mythological creature and the lengths to which a guilty lad goes to adopt its orphaned child, whilst bear-loving ‘Mr. Seephis’ miscalculates the amount of mutuality they might afford him and ‘Little Lisa Loverbumps’ learns a thing or two about swimming safety…

‘Peter the Pirate Squid’ gets very little time to prosper before ‘The Ghost in the Spider’ exposes a most mismatched pair of travellers whilst ‘Pear Head Man and Bread Boy’ and

‘The Alien Ballerina’ both come and go with astounding alacrity after which we all share every parent’s nightmare – just how to deal with a dying pet – in ‘The Bunny Came Back’

The nautical misadventure of ‘The Captain’ and the infinite recursiveness of ‘Devil Bunny’ segue neatly into a doomed love between ‘The Reindeer and the Bumble Bee’ whilst old wisdom decrees – and proves – ‘Weird Family Weird Baby’ and a salutary warning is offered by the unlucky temporary inhabitant of ‘Fly Paper’

Negotiation and resistance both prove pointless when a little bear is drawn into the ‘Dance of the Bedbugs’ but undead performers ‘Boodini and Choobie’ don’t really care, whilst neither ‘The Guy With a Thing on his Head’ or pumpkin imperilled ‘Eddie Poe’ can muster the energy to join in with the game proposed by ‘Mr. Pork Chop’ to end this eerie epistle of eclectic eccentricity.

And don’t think scrutinising all ‘About the Author’ will give you any idea about where this kind of carton craziness comes from…

Wittily weird, gorily gregarious and darkly hilarious, these vivid verses and portentous pictures blend bleak-edged charm with absurdist abstractions and arcane attractions to create visual mood music and Goth-toned glee for the culturally sated; reprising the mordant merriment of Charles Addams’ cartoons as so readily revisited by mirthful modern macabrists like Tim Burton, Jhonen Vasquez (Squee!, Johnny the Homicidal Maniac and who here provides and enthusiastic, confusiastic Foreword), Ted Naifeh & Serena (Gloom Cookie) and Jill “Scary Godmother” Thompson.

These odd odes are an unwholesome treat for kids of all ages with a taste for the richer, darker, more full-bodied flavours of life and its inevitable final consequences.

Ever so much better for you than absinthe, idolatry or unsanctioned unicorn safari …
Something at the Window is Scratching ™ & © 2015 Roman Dirge. All rights reserved.