10 Nov 2009


By Matt T

Writer: Van Jensen
Art: Dustin Higgins
SLG Publishing $10.95

After the relatively highbrow graphic novel offerings reviewed here in recent months, Pinocchio: Vampire Slayer brings things firmly down to tongue-in-cheek level with a hefty thud. If the title wasn't enough of giveaway, the opening few pages will be, as the writer takes it upon himself to apologise to Carlo Collodi for taking a colossal about turn with his beloved fable. In saying that, the initial summarisation of the puppet-who-wanted-to-be-a-real-boy's life up to this point proves just how batshit the Pinocchio concept was. Granted, covering the entirety of the story in two pages, complete with extremely basic illustrations and some hilariously self-aware dialogue, wasn't bound to give the original a decent run at making sense, but having a walking, talking puppet transmute into a donkey after being conned by a fox still doesn't ring true as a classic plot of modern literature.

Still, the twists and turns that follow hit the kind of levels that a reader of something like Helen Killer (i.e. me!) would expect: Pinocchio: Vampire Slayer is mad, action packed and absolutely hilarious in places. The shift away from Collodi's story to that of a vampire slayer isn't dwelt on for too long, instead letting the basic black and white inks set the mood. There isn't a whole lot outside of standard supernatural fare, and the twist can be seen plodding into view from about a mile off, but getting there is so much damn fun I found myself giggling like a schoolgirl more than once. Jiminy Cricket turns up, and is repeatedly 'killed' by Pinocchio, and there are a couple of wisecracking sidekicks to lighten the mood further. The banter is the kind we've come to expect from modern comics, and the source material isn't simply used as a basis to be discarded, as a few of the original characters make an important appearance.

The art is basic, but adding colour would perhaps remove the lighter tone to be in keeping with the vampiric setting, and the action benefits greatly from the reduced detail. You won't be enlightened by the content of this book, nor will you come away from it with a newfound angle on life, love or anything even mildly important. But, if you're anything like me, you'll laugh like a drain and want to read it over and over. 8/10

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