"Amerikan Freak," by John Leekley, Ahmet Zappa (yes, him), and Brendan Smith is not about to embrace comedy of any sort. It is serious, serious, serious, serious. But on the other hand, "Polyglot and Spleen," a gothic comic book by Marc Moorash and Heather Stanley, is serious, serious, serious ... and then a little funny. So evaluating each book comes down to the question: when people laugh at you, do you like to laugh along?

The main thrust of "Polyglot and Spleen" is a rambling monologue of dark poetry. "A chiaroscuro shaded pursuit by an unknown and unseen figure who seemingly had naught but a silhouette for a face and the laughter of the nether worlds for its words." Lollerskates! You can really sink some fangs into the writing. It's not some half-assed attempt to be goth; this is the real thing. But even more delightfully, it's sprayed with sight gags (a movie marquee reads, "Four Funerals and a Funeral, starring Lon Chaney and Hugh Grant") and a story about a serious gothy boy whose morbid daydream-world keeps getting fractured by a mysterious spunky gal who says gems like, "Try to be on time. The bats won't be happy if they have to chase you down in daylight." Lovely.