Writer/artist Roman Dirge was joined by a room filled with loyal fans at this year's Comic-Con International in San Diego to celebrate the 20th anniversary of his seminal creation, "Lenore." To break the ice, and recalling the "Lenore" panel last year, the moderator severed Dirge a few early morning cocktails before allowing fans to ask the creator questions.
"This last issue was one of those that drove me a little insane," Dirge said to get things started. "I tried to challenge myself with the issues to take [a] really dumb concept and stretch it out and make a full issue out of it and make it funny."
Dirge also realized while working on the last issue that even after two decades there were still many parts of Lenore's world he had not drawn. "I realized for the first time that I had to draw a lot of Lenore's house for the first time," Dirge said.
Dirge then told the audience he was also working on several other projects outside of "Lenore." Currently, he is working on a TV series which he called "Princess Star Pony" described as a "'World of Warcraft' type world, but with my sense of humor."
While "Lenore" and his other original projects have kept him satisfied, one fan wanted to know what Marvel and DC Comics characters Dirge would want to work on if presented with the opportunity. "One of my favorite characters of all time is one that nobody seems to remember, Longshot," Dirge said. "They sort of remade Longshot with Gambit, but I love the character. I'd like to have Lenore fight Longshot."
An audience member asked Dirge if after 20 years, he was still in love with Lenore. "Very much in love. Not in a weird way, but yeah," he answered.
Another fan asked what sort of advice Dirge would have for an aspiring artist, and he responded rather bluntly. "Don't. I mean, if you are an artist, if you are that sort of person, you'll know. If you are the person that drew all over their notebook at school, then you know," he said. "You just have to practice."
When the subject of the "Lenore" movie adaptation was brought up, the artist said it was still very much alive. "We are still trying to get it made, yeah," Dirge said, noting there was still lots of work being done on the film, but nothing he could discuss at the moment. "I'm not allowed to say that kinda stuff."
A fan then asked if Dirge planned to continue to produce "Lenore" for another twenty years. "If, by some miracle of science, I live another twenty years, then yeah, I'll probably still be doing it," Dirge said. "I spend maybe a little too much time in her world. I feel like a need to step away. I become a murderous psycho." He explained that he felt Lenore had a personality all her own and that in writing the comic now, her actions, motivations and world were clearer to him and easier to become drawn into.
Dirge then told the audience that he collected taxidermy that his collection included raccoons, foxes and a baboon. He said that the story of how he acquired his baboon was not an appropriate story for Comic-Con.
When asked what comics he enjoyed reading, Dirge called Sergio Aragones' "Groo" his "favorite comic of all time."
Dirge was then asked if he preferred working digitally or with traditional media. "I find that with digital, I can draw a lot faster. I still draw in pencil, but then I scan it in and do the rest digitally," Dirge explained. "It gives it a grainy look that I love."
Finally, asked how Dirge found artists to do the back-up stories in issues of "Lenore," the cartoonist replied that he enjoyed finding new artists. "Sometimes, I'll just put out a call on Facebook."
Stay tuned to CBR News for more coverage of Comic-Con International 2012 in San Diego.