Something at the Window is Scratching Vol. 1 (SATWIS) by Roman Dirge is the full color re-release of a book by the same name released by SlaveLabor Graphics in 1998. The poems were written by Dirge, and the illustrations were drawn and colored by him as well. I never had the pleasure of reading Something at the Window is Scratching on its first printing, but have been a long time fan of titles put out by Slave Labor Graphics and of Dirge’s popular comic series Lenore, The Cute Little Dead Girl. While Lenore the character was loosely based on the poem “Lenore” by Edgar Allan Poe, SATWIS did not contain poems about existing fictional characters or at least did not contain obvious references.
As with most of Dirge’s published work, death and dying are recurring themes in this collection of short poems. Titan Comics describes the book as a “collection of short poems all telling macabre and twisted tales for children of all ages.” The appeal to children is reflected in the playfulness of the tone of the book, but the spooky characters and their elevated mortality rates make this a better tome for adults, young adults, or mature children rather than the “all ages” label the description claims. The poems all feature rhyme or near-rhyme and are genuinely fun to read despite their unrelated characters and desperate subject matter.
The feeling of the poem alternated between dismal and jovial depending on the characters and the outcome, but there is no denying that the overall theme appears to be “spookiness”. When reading through these short poems it felt like Shel Silverstein and Dr. Seuss decided to collaborate with Alvin Schwartz from Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark, which made for an unsettling but incredibly enjoyable romp. The artwork, for those who are unfamiliar with Dirge, has been praised by the likes of Tim Burton and Neil Gaiman, and one could easily imagine that the artist was influenced by both when dreaming up creatures such as the above pictured “alien ballerina”.
Fans of dark comedy, rhyming poetry, and playful horror will undoubtedly get a major kick out of Something at the Window is Scratching. The Titan Comics re-release will certainly herald a new wave of SATWIS comics. These volumes are sure to be a fun guilty pleasure for morbid poetry and macabre humor loving fans alike. I, for one, loved it. The comic will be available for purchase through the Titan Comics website on July 29, 2015.
Wicked Rating: 10/10