Pinocchio by Winshluss

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Pinocchio by Winshluss

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Category: Graphic Novels
Rating: 4.5/5
Reviewer: John Lloyd
Reviewed by John Lloyd
Summary: I'm performing in a show of this story this coming summer. I'm damned if I'm giving the eleven-year-old heroine as much as a glimpse of this!
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 192 Date: April 2011
Publisher: Knockabout Comics
ISBN: 978-0861661725

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Imagine, if you will, Disney's film of Pinocchio had been animated by a crew of artists hell-bent on sabotaging the prospect. Painterly frames of beauty would be rare in amongst gritty, grimy, shadowy images of nightmarish content, which took it upon themselves to break into black and white, or sepia. The prologue might have a character forcing his cat to join in at Russian Roulette. Geppetto would be accompanied in the leviathan, in one of the rare tuneful segments, by a penguin playing the piano. And this after the proud inventor was trying to sell Pinocchio as a prototype robotic super-weapon, just as his wife was putting Pinocchio's most distinctive feature to a most unexpected use...

If you can't imagine that, then just read this volume instead, for all the above is true and more. Disney has clearly been thought of, although here Jiminy is a cockroach who wants to write cult novels, and the seven dwarves' use of Sleeping Beauty is definitely not for the family audience. I can't begin to say how far from the film - and indeed the source novel - this gets. And nor would I wish to - the unexpurgated wackiness of this telling has to be read to be believed.

There will be some who say 'read' is the wrong verb there, for this is a storyboard to a mostly silent movie. There are some words in the script, but on the whole it's down to scouring the hellish pictorials with reckless abandon, having left all sensitivities at the front cover and delved in. Flashbacks, filmic intertitles and more all guide us through a convoluted narrative.

The pictorial narration is great, too - never any flashy framing, and quite an old-fashioned style of colouring with visible pixels to give everything a lesser, subdued tone. It's left to Winshluss' chutzpah to be garish and brightly conveyed.

You see an excellent draughtsman here in this award-winning volume - those rare painted scenes that did survive the sabotage are definitely on the rich and wonderful side. Paired with a matchless irreverence and you have a graphic novel from a creator almost as good at his medium as Disney was his.

I must thank the publishers for my review copy.

A much straighter rendering of the story can be had here, by Sara Fanelli.

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