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Pinocchio…”I’ll be back” May 11, 2009

Posted by leskanturek in Comics, Graphic Novels, Pinocchio, Puppets, Summer Reading Project, Uncategorized, Visually Cool & Relevant.
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Like the Terminator he seems to reference, Pinocchio is back, this time channeled through well known French comix artist Winshluss. His retelling of the classic children’s story was awarded the Fauve d’or (best comic book prize/ Gold Fauvre) at the 37th Angoulême International Comics Festival in France this year. Winshluss, is the pen name of Vincent Parannaud who might also be familiar to some as co-director with Marjane Satrapi on her animated film Persepolis.

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Winshluss has created a wonderfully dark, comic noir interpretation of Carlo Collodi’s classic children’s story. The artwork is primarily done in pen and ink, and watercolor but switches to paint for larger splash panels. He references a terrific range of illustrative styles and history in the story from late 18th century pen and ink, to early French film pioneer Georges Méliès , through early Disney (don’t ask what indignities Snow White endures within these pages), and underground comix.

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Disney’s 1940 animated Pinoccho seems to have become the definitive version here in the U.S., Winshluss work is much closer to Collodi than Disney in spirit. Like Collodi’s originally serialized story of the wooden marionette, Winshluss updated version  was first published as serialized  chapters in Ferraille Illustré, a French comics journal. Winshluss’ 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 his subsequent adventures. Collodi’s original story, which is also darker (Pinocchio is hung, Jiminy Cricket is killed…) than Disney’s version and was first intended as an adult story. Both versions portray Pinocchio going from one manipulative situation to another. Winshluss has also injected politics into his story which also played a part in Collodi’s original.

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The Angoulême site described the book as an “Opera”, which it is in it’s visual lushness and drama. For the most part the book is wordless, with multiple character’s points of view all adding to the sum of Pinocchio’s story. Jiminy Cafard (Cafard translates as cockaroach as well as hypocrite and a feeling of severe depression), Pinochio’s companion provides the most talking in the book which seems appropriate, and provides comic relief.

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Most of his appearances are rendered in black and white. As of now Winshluss’ Pinocchio is only available in French (which won’t stop you from enjoying it even if you’re not a French speaker) and through overseas online merchants . Hopefully it will be distributed in the states in the near future.

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All images © Winshluss and or Les Requins Marteaux

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