Monday, November 16, 2009

Pinocchio Vampire slayer – review

Written by: Van Jensen

Drawn by: Dusty Higgins

First published: 2009

Contains spoilers

The Blurb: Vampires overrun the peaceful town of Nasolungo, and the only one who is willing to fight them (and even believe they exist) is Pinocchio, the little wooden boy of fairy tale fame. But this is not the Pinocchio you might remember. A growing nose that is a never-ending stake supply and his desire to avenge the death of his beloved father Geppetto make him the perfect vampire impaler.

With Master Cherry the Carpenter and the Blue Fairy, who is a little older and greyer than she used to be, Pinocchio protects the town from an undead menace and discovers that the vampires have a deeper agenda than the mere sucking of blood.

The review: At first glance this might seem a little gimmicky but there is a lot to appreciate in Pinocchio Vampire Slayer. Jensen and Higgins take their lead from Carlo Collodi’s original story and, indeed, give a brief resume of events within the original for those who have only experienced the sanitised Disney version.

That is not to say that they, themselves, do not enter into anachronism with their writing. Modern phrases pepper the dialogue but it was not an authentic language they aimed for but a replication of the dark heart of the original story. Whilst the original tale was an allegory of society, events within the story were as dark as any traditional fairy tale – for instance Pinocchio being hung by the neck.

The story is set post the death of Geppetto at the hands of creatures who only come out at night and die when pierced through the heart by stakes made from Pinocchio’s expanding nose. Indeed, when fighting, Pinocchio lies to create new weapons, which he then snaps off and uses. Later he discovers that these creatures are vampires and that the wood of his nose not only kills them but, burns them if, say, he scratches the face of one of them with a nose. When they die the vampires turn to dust and thus the townsfolk will not heed Pinocchio’s warnings, as he has no evidence – later when it is mentioned that his nose had not grown when he warned them, the nose lengthening is dismissed as myth.

I did have a little issue with the ending as there was a twist that was fairly obvious, but it is a small complaint. Art wise I rather enjoyed this; the black and white led to a stark landscape that fit the story well. There is, of course, a gimmick level to this – we have to accept that, but the entire thing is greater than the gimmick and this is worth checking out. 6.5 out of 10.


Gabriel said...

This sounds interesting. Thanks for the heads up, I'll see if my comic store has it in stock.

How many pages is it roughly. Is it a 'one-shot' of only 30 pages or so or Trade Paperback size?

The art reminds me of the "Gloomcookie" comic, a now defunct but excellent musing into the Gothic subculture.

Taliesin_ttlg said...

Gabriel - its a graphic novel 128 pages

Anonymous said...

I just want to say that I met Van Jensen at the 2009 Vampire and got an autographed copy of Pinnochio (so that makes me special ;)

Gabriel: it's probably the size of a novella, like Stephen King's Cycle of the Werewolf, but it's told in comic form.

Taliesin_ttlg said...

Nicole, we thought you were special anyway :)