Not your Mama’s little wooden boy – “Pinocchio, Vampire Slayer” by Van Jensen & Dusty Higgins
When I saw “Pinocchio, Vampire Slayer” as the title of this graphic novel, I presumed it was going to be campy, bloody fun.
Clearly, I should stop over-thinking my books, for I was incredibly wrong on both assumptions.
“Pinocchio, Vampire Slayer,” as written by Van Jensen & Dusty Higgins, is stark, dark, and not one bit a silly romp of the fairytale from where it’s origins came. Not that the original fairytale was a laugh-a-minute riot, but still.. this is considerably darker.
This Pinocchio is an angry little wooden dude. On a quest to avenge the death of his father/creator Gepetto, his ever-growing nose serves as an endless source of stakes for dispatching blood-suckers. All he has to do is tell a lie, and there’s a wooden stake ready at his disposal. This gift is a good thing, because his city has gone crazy with evil. Assisted by Master Cherry, and an aged Blue Fairy, he’s determined to save the town of Nasolungo from the monsters that are threatening it’s citizens.
For Pinocchio purists, the Cricket is also there – but in a slightly different form this time around.
There are also Rabbits – the Rabbits of ill-portent. And I love them.
The dialogue is fast and brisk, and the artwork is startling in it’s darkness. All in black and white, it’s incredibly dramatic and the characters practically pop from the pages.
Hands down, this is one of the most clever mash-ups of a literary classic and monsters I’ve yet come across. Though there’s a little humor, the novel doesn’t bother to strain for stupid jokes purely for joke’s sake, which I appreciate. Despite it’s title, “Pinocchio, Vampire Slayer” is a serious story, and one that stands alone as it’s own thing.
I’m delighted to have read it, and plan to recommend it to many others.