I am thrilled to announce that my longtime friend, Roman Dirge, is providing a cover for the Kickstarter-exclusive printed edition of The Imaginary Voyages of Edgar Allan Poe #2!
I don’t often tell the story of how I became friends with this brilliant creator and artist, but I would like to share it with you here because it is such an uncommon story. Especially in the comic industry.
Back in 2006 my black humor comic, Jim Reaper: Week One, was released by the now-defunct publisher, Silent Devil Productions. Around that same time I discovered the brilliant comic from Slave Labor Graphics called Lenore. Of course, I recognized the title immediately as an homage to Edgar Allan Poe, so I picked it up from my local comic shop. What I found inside was gorgeous art and spot-on comedic genius. I was an instant fan. As I said, Silent Devil had released Jim Reaper–which has a similar tone to Lenore–so I decided to contact Dirge, send a digital copy of Jim Reaper: Week One to him, and ask if there was any possibility that artist Mathieu Benoit and I could make a Lenore meets Jim Reaper strip for a future issue of Lenore. To my surprise, Dirge loved my comic and agreed to it right away. This was at the end of 2006.
Fast forward to early 2007. Dirge was busy in the animation field (including writing Invader ZIM with his buddy, Jhonen Vasquez) and artist Mathieu Benoit I had created the Jim Reaper spin-off, Lil’ Hellions: A Day at the Zoo, which was also published by Silent Devil Productions. In addition, I was embroiled in several comic and webcomic projects, including a little webcomic titled “The Surreal Adventures of Edgar Allan Poo.” In other words, Dirge and I were both extremely busy doing other things. Mathieu and I had completed the Lenore meets Jim Reaper strip several months earlier, but it was just sitting in a folder on my computer. It had basically been forgotten. Or so I thought.
In June of 2007, however, I saw Dirge post an update on his Facebook page that basically said, “Hey, who is the guy I promised a strip in the next issue of Lenore? I need the strip ASAP.” Of course, I quickly responded, and Lenore Meets Jim Reaper was published the next month in Lenore #13.
Since then, Dirge and I have both been extremely busy, but we’ve managed to stay in touch. I’ve never told him how much I appreciate him and the fact that he kept his word. Over the course of my decade+ in the comics industry I’ve been promised lots of things by a lot of people and been left holding the bag more times than I’d care to admit. But not by Dirge. And for that, I will always be one of his biggest fans.
So there you have it, folks. My ode to Roman Dirge. That’s why I am absolutely over the moon that he is illustrating the cover for The Imaginary Voyages of Edgar Allan Poe #2. He’s a super talented guy, yes, but he’s also a man of integrity, and a friend that I value very much.