Pinocchio: Vampire Slayer by Dusty Higgins and Van Jensen, Slave Labor Graphics
In Carlo Collodi’s tale about a little wooden puppet who wants to become a real boy, Pinocchio actually remained a puppet at the end. Dusty Higgins and Van Jensen have taken Collodi’s original ending as their beginning, crafting a grim story about a puppet who fights vampires. With his growing wooden nose, Pinocchio has a never-ending supply of stakes, as long as he can keep up the lies.
The black-and-white drawings are filled with lots of shadows and dark silhouettes, and there’s a whole lot of action as Pinocchio slays piles of vampires. But there’s more to it than just mindless bloodsuckers—there’s some deeper plot and somebody pulling the strings, so to speak. There’s plenty of dark humor here, too; after all, we’re talking about a vampire-hunting puppet. Higgins and Jensen throw in some great supporting characters like Cherry the carpenter and the Blue Fairy, as well as some unforgettable minor figures like the Rabbits of Ill Portent.
The first volume came out last year in October and the second volume, “The Great Puppet Theater,” was released this month. Both volumes also include a little bit of story-within-a-story, which is done in a different drawing style and helps introduce some background information. I really liked the look of these sub-stories. Without giving away too many spoilers, the second volume reunites Pinocchio with his former cast-mates in the Puppet Theater, who are also fighting vampires as a team.
For more about the comics, check out the Pinocchio, Vampire Slayer website, which has book trailers, previews, and even a contest to submit your own vampire-slaying puppet.