by Van Jensen & Dusty Higgins
Picking up soon after the original tale of Pinocchio left off, vampires descend on the sleepy little town where Geppetto and his wooden son live. After the vampires kill his father, Pinocchio swears he'll have revenge By day, he tries to warn the town's residents of the danger, but no one really believes him. By night, he's a vampire hunter, killing them with wooden stakes broken off from the tip of his nose. Aiding him are Master Cherry, a carpenter/inventor, and the Blue Fairy, who is now an aged – but still magical – old crone.
Since many Americans were raised on the sanitized Disney version of Pinocchio, which is a charming but extremely sanitized version of Collodi's story, the first few pages of the graphic novel play “catch up” with the reader, quickly outlining the original fairy tale. It's done in such a way that the vampire plot seems to fit in quite naturally. I mean, Collodi's Pinocchio kills a talking cricket (the ghost continues to haunt him), burns his feet off, gets hanged, turned into a donkey and swallowed by a giant fish. With all that in his past, an infestation of vampires isn't much of a stretch. It's certainly a better fit than zombies in the world of Jane Austen.
The starkness of Dusty Higgins' black and white panels really created a world in which a wooden puppet could seem menacing. The art was very reminiscent of medieval woodcuts, rendered in ink with the occasional help from screentones. (Well, I suppose it could all be computers nowadays, but I'm a fan of traditional mediums so that's what I'll claim to see until proven otherwise!) The design of the heroes tends toward squat and blocky, while the villains tend to be lean and fluid. It makes for an easy contrast that's also quite visually appealing.
I really enjoyed this graphic novel, which is the first of a proposed trilogy. The second volume has been on bookstore shelves for a while, and the final book is due to come out this summer.
4 out of 5 stars
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