From the macabre mind of Roman Dirge comes Something at the Window is Scratching, a collection of poems and accompanying artwork that has to be seen to be believed. If that sounds like a bad thing, it's not; Dirge’s warped sense of humour is a joy to behold and, however sinister it gets, there's always a smile to be raised. There's even a few laughs to be had, ones that can brighten up the gloomiest of days. After a tough day at work, the story of Pear Head Man and Bread Boy will melt the hardest of hearts.
The back cover description of this anthology as “twisted children's tales for maladjusted adults” isn't far wrong, and an introduction by Jhonen Vasquez laments that growing up means many adults have to let go of not only childish thoughts but also their imaginations. Fortunately, Roman Dirge hasn't done either; instead, he's created something unique – along the lines of Tim Burton meets Dr Seuss – that ensures every page elicits emotion from its readers, whether it's a shake of the head at the bizarre nature of it all or a pain in the stomach from laughing out loud.
The poems range in length between a few lines to a few pages, yet each is as involving as the other. Dirge has an uncanny skill at making the characters in his drawings come to life through their eyes, as if they're not only participating in the story but looking out of the page to make sure the reader is paying attention. As with all poetry, it's best read aloud to appreciate the rhythm and cadences of Dirge’s writing. Combining words and art together makes for an immersive experience, and the only disappointment is that, like all good things, the book must come to an end.
With digitally remastered and re-coloured art, this is a must of any fan of Dirge’s work. For the more casual reader, it’s a well-presented, if slim, hardback volume with curious artwork on glossy pages. Yet, it's more than it initially seems; spending time with Dirge’s creations may be a somewhat unsettling experience, but it's phenomenal fun that will appeal to the child within us all, as well as the grown up who may have forgotten what the combination of imagination and talent can achieve.
SOMETHING AT THE WINDOW IS SCRATCHING / WRITER & ARTIST: ROMAN DIRGE / PUBLISHER: TITAN COMICS / RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW