I often claim I have no regrets. This is still true, but I do often recognize I was rather short sighted or stupid when I opened my mouth and said the completely wrong thing.
A prime example of this would be when I heard my friend Van was writing a graphic novel about Pinocchio as a vampire slayer. He mentioned this idea to me, in the apartment he and his lovely wife share, and I think I laughed at him for 5 minutes, and then asked what he was really working on. When he confirmed he had not actually been joking with the Pinocchio thing, I laughed even harder. That was a little over a year ago, and what has Van done in the mean time? He and his artist partner Dusty Higgins have brought Van’s dream to us in a one of the best graphic novels I’ve read in quite some time. Granted, most of my graphic novel days are behind me, but at one time I was a bit of a fanatic about them, and yet amongst the many I have read, this one truly stands out and is easy to praise.
The graphic novel is not what you think. The idea sounds crazy right? Well…if you are willing to read the entertaining mini-review of the original version Pinocchio that the comic provides, in which you realize that Disney really just seemed to use a few characters and plot points to create their version, the concept is a little bit easier to understand. The original tale of Pinocchio is much darker, like many of the fairy tales Disney retold, and the graphic novel focuses on this darkness throughout the entire piece. This is obvious from the very first image of Pinocchio we see, he has haunted and cautious eyes, and of course a sharp, gnarled, and deadly nose. The initial dialogue beautifully identifies him as the tortured vampire slayer that is fueled by his desire to avenge the death of his father, and yet, despite all this darkness, the authors use the premise to give us some much needed humor. The dark brooding of Pinocchio is exquisitely balanced with the wisecracking humor of Pinocchio’s friends. The most memorable example of this for me, is that when bunnies give Pinocchio cryptic clues, by saying “Friends of yours. Attacked. Blood and Destruction. Are Near” which would not be overly helpful, Cricket is able to easily deduce what they are saying based on the process of elimination. So the exchange goes like this :
Pinocchio: What danger?
Cryptic Bunnies: Friends of yours. Attacked. Blood and Destruction. Are Near.
Pinocchio: Attack? Where? Who? Could you be a little less cryptic?
Cricket: Cherry’s house.
Pinocchio: What? How d-.. How did you get Cherry’s from all that?
Cricket: Come on. You don’t exactly have a lot of friends.
For some odd reason, this had me laughing out loud….in a restaurant. This is but one example of the brilliance that this graphic novel holds. I highly suggest you get your copy today! If you enjoyed it as much as I did, you’ll probably be giving some people a copy as a holiday gift like I am. What better way to prove to the kiddies you’re still cool and with it, than to give them something like this? I just hope Van and Dusty Higgins make another!
I would also like to say to Van one thing: Seriously, I am sorry I ever doubted you on this. If you ever tell me you are turning “The Swan Princess” into a graphic-novel where she solves mysteries, I want in on the ground floor!!!