Winshluss’ Pinocchio Review

Pinocchio – the classic childhood story of the little wooden puppet who just wanted to be a real boy. Lovingly pencilled in 1940 by Disney, it has been oft re-imagined in countless books, films and cartoons ever since; although none with quite as much originality as Knockabout Comic’s version, coloured by Cizo and friends. It is an absolutely beautiful edition: an A4 hardback in full colour with each page weighing at least several gsm’s!

The cover image promises a different take on the story.  At a first glance it comes across as a classic fairy tale: ornate writing, weaving vines and roses, an arch flanked by bluebirds and in the centre the hero himself strolling contentedly across the picture. It’s when you look a bit closer that you begin to notice the subversive, dark nature of the story. What appeared to be geometric patterns are actually rusty cogs with sperm-like ghosts escaping between the chinks. The bluebirds have 8-Balls for heads and the roses are more tangled and thorny than they are sweet and traditional. Now perhaps you are somewhat more prepared for page one of what will turn out to be a highly disturbing and magnificently inventive tale unlike anything you’ve ever read before.

The prologue is less “once upon a time there was a little hut in a forest” and more “once upon a time an alcoholic drunk some toxic water”… seemingly unrelated to the Pinocchio plot. But it isn’t long until we begin to meet some more familiar characters. Geppetto, shut in his workshop soon creates Pinocchio, but a sure sign that something is awry are the dollar signs which soon appear in his eyes when it becomes clear he has created a fully functioning… robot. For no longer is Pinocchio an innocent wooden toy but an invincible, insentient weapon of mass destruction.

We descend further down this subversive spiral when the next principal character, Jiminy Cricket is introduced. Only he’s not a cricket in a top hat, he’s a cockroach with a drinking problem facing a midlife crisis. The story which follows sticks loosely to the traditional narrative with only the occasional digression which focuses on the woeful tale of Snow White and the Seven Psychotic, Sex Crazed Dwarfs.

This is a vital addition to the bookcase of any of you out there who fall under the ‘alternative’ label, as well as appreciators of fine art. Some of the full page drawings wouldn’t look out of place next to the likes of Edward Hopper, so there’s no worry that it’ll wear out after the first reading. A great deal of credit must go to this unhinged creative team for coming up with one of the only truly modern fairy tales I have yet to come across.

Dani Singer

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