Monday, April 9, 2012

Pinocchio by Winshluss

Borrowing liberally from Carlo Collodi's dark allegory, French graphic novelist Winshluss has created a surreal comedic version of Pinocchio. Geppetto dreams of the money he will make after creating an indestructible mechanical boy who can be used as a military weapon. Meanwhile, it is in Pinocchio's nature to kill, so violence and bloodshed are his constant companions, even though the little robot appears innocent of any will to cause harm.

The tale is almost wordless, except for the Jiminy Cockroach segments. Jiminy is a lazy wannabe writer who takes up residence inside Pinocchio's head cavity. Collodi's cricket ghost is replaced by the ghost of a police detective's cat in this world. The detective is tracking Geppetto for suspected murder, while Geppetto is in turn searching for his valuable lost boy. Jiminy's quest is more existential.

The humour is definitely of the adult kind, with lots of sex and gore. Seven dwarf perverts -- the "Sleazy Seven" -- along with an unwilling Snow White, make several cameo appearances. Winshluss's full colour artwork is often slapstick; the dwarves have giant bulbous noses and tiny penises. Disney-type cartoon animals looking in on the dwarves' BDSM orgy turn away from the window in disappointment when the joint is raided.

Winshluss references famous art outside of Disney, including Georges Melies' Trip to the Moon and other Belle Epoque work. Pinocchio is a mind-blowing trip... with much blowing out of brains... and yet it's a satisfying journey.

Readalikes: For more macabre humour, Highly Inappropriate Tales for Young People by Coupland and Roumieu. For a tamer (i.e. youth-appropriate) graphic novel retelling of Pinocchio with some violence, try Pinocchio, Vampire Slayer by Jensen and Higgins.

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