Saturday, November 15, 2014

[BOOK REVIEW] Pinocchio Vampire Slayer by Van Jensen

Title:  Pinocchio Vampire Slayer

Author:  Van Jensen

Artist:  Dusty Higgins

Genre:  Horror / Fairy Tale / Remake

Year Published:  2009

Year Read: 11/6/2014

Series:  Pinocchio Vampire Slayer #1

Publisher: SLG Publishing

Source:  Purchased

Content Rating:  Ages 11+ (Some Language and Violence)


Alright, so when I was browsing through my library looking for some good fairy tale books to read, I stumbled upon this unknown graphic novel series called “Pinocchio Vampire Slayer.”  Now, when I saw the title, I was thinking to myself: “Cool, Vampire Slayers and Fairy Tale characters; two of my most favorite subjects in the entire world!”  So, I just had to check this graphic novel out and man was I so surprised by the interesting premise of this graphic novel!

What is this story about?

After the events of the original “Pinocchio” story, a group of vampires suddenly invade the city of Nasolungo and ended up murdering Geppetto before Pinocchio’s very eyes.  This horrific act causes Pinocchio to become a ruthless vampire slayer as he uses his own nose to stake the vampires.  With the help of the cricket, Master Cherry the Carpenter and a much older Blue Fairy, Pinocchio makes his way through the vampires while discovering a deep dark secret about the vampires’ true motives in their murdering sprees.

What I loved about this story:

Van Jensen’s writing: Now, I will admit that when I first heard about this title, I was thinking to myself about how they would be able to pull off a story about taking one of the world’s most beloved fairy tale characters and transforming them into a vampire slayer.  Well, Van Jensen has proven that he can make a story about a wooden puppet becoming a vampire slayer work out in an extremely intriguing way!  I loved the way that Van Jensen wrote Pinocchio as a tough as nails older boy than as an innocent yet naïve little boy he was in the previous story (well, to be fair, the “Pinocchio” in the original story was actually much more sadistic as a character than the Disney version had led you to believe).  To me, it felt natural for Pinocchio to become a bit more ruthless in this story because of what happened to Geppetto and Van Jensen really did a great job at setting up Pinocchio’s character progression in this story while letting the readers know about how Geppetto’s death really affected Pinocchio.  I also liked the fact that we get Master Cherry the Carpenter in this story as he slays vampires just like Pinocchio and he seems to have a relationship with Pinocchio that is similar to the relationship between Giles and Buffy from “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” (as in Pinocchio does treat Master Cherry like a father figure after the death of Geppetto).  It was also interesting in seeing certain characters from the original story return in different roles such as the Cricket being mainly a ghost like character in this story, the Blue Fairy being much older and the Fox and the Cat, who take on a much creepier role in this story, which I will not reveal what kind of identities they actually have in this story!

Dusty Higgins’ artwork:  Dusty Higgins’ artwork brilliantly combines both the humorous and frightening mood of the story as the characters do look a bit cartoonish at times, but the artwork also brings out the horror that the vampires bring to the story by having them look so menacing for the most part.  I also loved the way that Dusty Higgins drew Pinocchio as he looked a bit like John Constantine as in terms of clothing style.

What made me feel uncomfortable about this story:

The reason why I gave this graphic novel a four star rating was because I felt that they did not develop the secondary characters very well in this story.  Since we have already read many stories about Pinocchio, we pretty much already know about his background history and the creators of this graphic novel did a great job of explaining the story of the original “Pinocchio” at the beginning of this novel.  However, we do not know much about Master Cherry, the Blue Fairy or the Cricket in this novel and I would have loved to know more about these characters and how they know about the vampires invading the city.  I also felt that this graphic novel was a bit too short as in it did not explain enough about how the vampires invaded the city in the first place and I would have liked to see more from this story.  Also, there were times where Dusty Higgins’ artwork was a bit too scratchy to look at and it was hard for me to understand what was going on in some of the fighting scenes.

Final Thoughts:

Overall, “Pinocchio Vampire Slayer” is a pretty creative story that really set the bar for placing a well-known fairy tale character in a situation that they normally would not be set in and turn it into something fun and horrific for the readers!  I definitely cannot wait for the next few volumes of this series to come out!


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