|Pinocchio becomes a robot in this new telling of the classic story|
The Book: Winshluss’ Pinocchio graphic novel is an adult noir movie that at times is both comedy and tragedy. The narrative begins with a shooting, and then flashes back to Pinocchio’s creation (he is now a robot-like android) and adventures. Collodi’s original story is also darker than Disney’s version. Monstro the whale is replaced by a toxic, giant mutated fish, and there’s even a subplot of a hard-boiled detective woven in.
The Review: First, before we even get to the story itself, I have to say comment on the actual production values of the book itself. To say that Knockabout Comics edition of Pinocchio is sumptuous is an understatement: even before I started enjoying this dark, breathtaking adult take on the well-known fairy story, I was blown away by the high production values of the actual book. It’s a beautiful hardback edition with the interior pages printed on great paper stock that do Winshluss’ work full justice.
Now for the story. Disney it certainly ain’t. Winshluss (aka Vincent Paronnaud who co-directed the animated feature Persepolis with Marjane Satrapi) weaves an incredible tale encompassing the original story in a whole new form, mixed in with black humour, a crime sub plot and political satire, the latter very much part of Collodi’s original.
As for Pinocchio‘s famous talking insect – here, a cockroach, it doesn’t meet the fate of the book’s talking Cricket (that got squashed fairly early on), it doesn’t have the greatest of times, even if it gets pretty much any dialogue in this otherwise fairly wordless comic.
Art-wise, the story is breathtaking: it’s primarily pen and ink, and watercolour but switches to paint for larger splash panels. Knockabout says many comic lovers and connoisseurs consider Winshluss to be the best comic artist of his generation, and I can see why.
Pinocchio was awarded the Fauve d’Or at the Festival International de la Bande Dessinée in Angoulême 2009 and best foreign comic book in Germany 2010: awards well deserved for such an incredible storytelling.
As an adult noir retelling of Pinocchio, that at times is both comedy and tragedy, Winsluss tells a very modern twist filled with incredible passion, charm and dark humour. Highly recommended.
• Knockabout Comics: www.knockabout.com
“Winshluss has perfected the wordless comic. Not a panel is wasted. Each is perfectly designed to for clear reading. It’s refreshing to spend time with a graphic novel that doesn’t rely on words and talking heads to advance the story.”
“In this rendition of the classic tale, the wooden puppet becomes a mere android, designed by an engineer in search of recognition whilst the “talking cricket” character (cast as a cockroach by Winshluss) depicts a savvy homeless squatter quite content living very comfortably in the android’s skull.
“Such irreverence transcends virtuosity; Winshluss reinvents archetypal clichés to form modern narrative – astonishingly his expressive graphics reside in this interpretation with virtually no dialogue (which I, for one, am thankful for given that my French is somewhat sketchy these days!). Ironically this dexterous narrative evokes a sense of childlike innocence – blissful freedom, pure and untainted imagination.”
— The Neon Hive
“Winshluss has long been an energetic draughtsman, merging the subversive sensibilities of the underground movement with a palpable sense of punk abandon that owes more than a little to the great bad-taste humorist Vuillemin. The result are gruff cartoons, grimy with saturated brushwork, that refreshingly tend to reach beyond the comfort zone of the artist, resulting in a kind of frenetic energy of invention that is both spectacular and moves the story along with humour and efficiency.”