1. Zachary Paul Ernat
2. Pinocchio is a superb book with a great story-line and fantastic artwork. The book and title match up, with a little made-up boy trying to find a place in the world where he fits in, just as the older version. If you had to place it a certain time period, it would be modern day. As far as genre goes, it is perhaps a fantasy noir or a dark adaptation of a old story. This album is broken up in, chronological, stories. The stories don’t end within a few pages, but continue for a page or two, stop, then restart at a later point in the album. Eventually, they all conclude within the last 30 pages in the book. You notice all these little things happening throughout the book, that seem totally unrelated, then suddenly connect. The story is told in a third-person point of view, with large amounts of flexibility as to who is being followed and where. Having this flexibility, the narrator bounces around from character to character (be it the Dogzilla or Pinocchio). The main story-line is for Pinocchio, but there are numerous characters that are followed that are essential to the story. The plot begins with a barrel of toxic waste falling overboard and mutating a fish that is later dubbed “Dogzilla” (like a dogfish and godzilla combined). The next couple pages set up a manic detective that is trying to find a grip on his life. It then goes into the story of Pinocchio, starting in Geppetto, the “certified inventors” house. His wife Svetlana is sitting on the couch smoking a cigarette. We then see Geppetto building Pinocchio, who is no longer made of wood, but of metal. And not only is he made of metal, but he is a war machine. The chubby-little-greedy Geppetto with a huge nose is creating a war machine to sell to the army. This war machine is Pinocchio. He has a round bald head with a long nose. Bolts circle his head where the skull cap would be. The body is plain and metal, with hands that look like they have white gloves on. It looks more like a robot than a child. When he goes off to sell his plans, his wife takes advantage of Pinocchio; first in the slavery sense and then in the sexual sense. In parallel frames, we see Geppetto attempting to sell his little metal man, as Pinocchio accidentally kills the ignorant and gross-looking Svetlana. We then meet Jiminy the Cockroach. He has a bulbous head and two scraggly antenna. After being fired from his job behind Geppetto’s stove and being dumped by his girlfriend, he finds Pinocchio and moves into his head (like a loft-type apartment). Geppetto returns home to see his wife burnt to a crisp… so to get rid of the evidence he cuts her up and buries her in the woods. We see a shadowy figure taking a heart out of someone as Pinocchio walks down the street. We then meet the dynamic duo of Wonder and the Baron. Wonder is a short, blind man with a huge grin on his face and a tiny yellow baseball hat that doesn’t fit. Baron is a tall man with a big old nose and a top hat. Both of their clothes look old and tattered, so both must be homeless. They sell Pinocchio to Vulcan INC. for some money and buy drugs to get high. Pinocchio works in this sweatshop for a while, and accidentally burns it down after making toys that are killing kids (due to the nature of his war-machine body). The antics of Jiminy continue in the head of Pinocchio. An “eye” escapes the blown-up factory. It is an eye attached to a coil of metal… So it then picks up with Geppetto finding a barrel and paddling across the sea to find his prized-possession. Pinocchio wanders on sadly and winds up with Seven Dwarves in red sweaters. They steal the money Pinocchio had with him and then dump him onto a train, using the money to buy the heart the shady guy cut out earlier to place in Snow White’s chest. Snow White wakes up and escapes from the nutty dwarves and falls into a river off a cliff. The train takes Pinocchio to a blimp that will later take him to the Enchanted Isle. Jiminy’s struggles with being a novel writer continue. In parallel time, Geppetto winds up in some really cold area with some penguins, and all of the sudden the mutated giant Dogzilla shows up and swallow Geppetto the penguins! Pinocchio winds up at the Enchanted Isle, and its not all its cracked up to be; a crazy clown is collecting kids to turn into an army using his powerful singing techniques (or perhaps some form of spell?). Pinocchio can’t be turned into a rabid wolf-child, so they string him up to a candy-cane, and he can’t get down! Eventually, Svetlana Geppetto’s body is discovered and the police are called up, introducing Inspector Bob Javer. He looks like he was cut out of stone with an intense face and large brow. You can tell he takes his job seriously. It cuts to a page with frames of a family of farmers, with a dog, man, and wife. They had children, but an accident took place and they lost it. This is no doubt foreshadowing for the end of the album… We pick up with our friend Wonder, who is blind and in the sewers. The snake-eye squirms up to him and inserts itself into Wonder; and so, he as a single green eye! The dwarves’ are then arrested after kidnapping someone and trying to rape him while wearing leather and chains. Seasons pass, Pinocchio is still laced up to a candy-cane, and the Dogzilla takes more and more victims. Eventually, the Enchanted Isle withers away, and Pinocchio is finally dropped from the candy-cane. He hitches a ride on a boat with the crazy clown, eventually falling to the bottom of the ocean and being eaten by the monstrous Dogzilla. And there is Geppetto, all scraggly and older in the belly of the beast. He utilizes Pinocchio’s abilities and gets them out of the beast and onto land, ditching the nice penguin with a red bow-tie that managed to survive with him the whole time in Dogzilla (I really feel bad for that penguin more than anyone in this story). Geppetto takes Pinocchio to an army base where he malfunctions and almost kills everyone. He is saved by Jiminy who pees on the fire in his brain, even though Jiminy started it himself while trying to fix the cable connection in his loft. The story from there really starts to climax and it gets so very interesting with a few twists. We find out the fate of Wonder, the snake-eye, the penguin, the seven dwarves, Geppetto, Snow White, the Inspector, Jiminy the Cockroach, and the mysterious family within the last 30 pages. BUT… Maybe you should read it yourself, I don’t want to give too much away.
3. This book is a hardcover book with 188 pages as well as illustrations within the cover and on the pages before and after the book. The artwork within the story is done with bold and thicker pen + ink along with watercolors. In addition, paint is used for splash panels on larger, one-frame pages. It kind of looks retro and older, like an attempt at looking like an older comic. All of the story is created like this with the exception of the pages that include the Adventures of Jiminy the Cockroach. With these, they are monochromatic, black and white. These frames look like they have been done with either charcoal or bold pencil strokes because it looks like it was drawn then a finger was ran across it to blend/smear it (if you’ve ever seen Titanic, I’m talking about how Jack draws Rose naked, he goes over the lines to blend them). The Jiminy the Cockroach part looks like a newspaper strip. The book’s genre or style falls under abstract. Nearly all of the characters noses are distorted in a huge way, being either extremely bulbous or elongated. The entire comic seems almost… perfect and deliberate. Every panel is perfect and nothing goes to waste. The entire story works with time; moving from aspect-to-aspect. However, within each small story, they all work with action-to-action and subject-to-subject. As far as words go, in the Jiminy the Cockroach parts, the words are mostly in bubbles (working around the words), or are free within the frame. In the Inspector parts, the background is usually black and the words are just floating at the top of the frame. As far as the other parts go, the frames are predominantly picture-specific, although some do work within the picture, such as a newspaper or sign or sound effect. The entire album borders on abstract and cartoony, yet not to the point where it looks like Stan Lee is the artist.
4. This adaptation of Pinocchio is a very interesting one. Why Winshluss decided to create this in a manner that it twists up old children’s stories is a mystery. I see Winshluss and Cizo as both experiencers and activists. They try to invoke some kind of emotion with this album, be it in themselves or in the readers. Perhaps the view of Pinocchio to them wasn’t as it was for the normal audience as children, and they are trying to invoke the emotions they felt into us using this adaptation. As far as being an activist, they are looking for a response in us. It is unclear in the intent of this piece and is very absurd, which makes this piece very intriguing. The artists are trying to invoke emotions in us and to push the envelope with distorting a old children’s story that everyone knows. In my opinion, Winshluss is distorting what we all are comfortable with to really make us question; What is right or regular? Just because we are so used to something, do we need to be afraid if it changes?
5. The artwork in Pinocchio is absolutely stunning and is easily the greatest strength of this album. The scenarist, Cizo, does a FANTASTIC job with the colors and scenery within the frames. I really like the artwork, I cannot stress it enough. For Winshluss and Cizo to be able to work together to make such a stunning story is unbelievable. I’m this close to sounding so repetitive. Because most frames are picture-specific, besides some of the stories within the album and the Jiminy the Cockroach ones, the reader has to perform much closure. The artists’ ability to create the frames and to dial into our minds as we read it is crazy; it is as though he knows we will perform closure and the art has been made to do it a certain way. The fact that I had to perform closure within the album made me want to keep reading continually until I had gone over the book numerous times. As my brain is being toyed with, I have to continually go over frames and pages again and again. To get more in depth, the detail of the outdoor scenery is superb. The characters are in the middle between being abstract and portrait; there is enough detail to easily know who is who and what is happening. I would like to point out that the blood is plenty and interestingly done, with glob-like splats wherever it is in the frame. The contrast and intensity of the colors in frames are great, with both warms and cools coming together to make really great both full-page frames and 12-frame pages. It is interesting as the structure of the story flows along as well. It starts off setting up the Dogzilla and introducing Inspector Bob Javer for the end of the book. The story runs with smaller stories to help tie everything together and make every character accounted for, which I really like that they do.
6. The first, not problem but more like pet peeve, that is in this book is the way that the stories of Jiminy the Cockroach flow with the stories outside of his adventures. Most of the frames in the Jiminy the Cockroach frames/short stories are Duo-Specific or Word-Specific, while nearly every other frame in the album contains only pictures (with some having sound effects or being merely Picture-specific). This creates a rift in how the story flows, The picture-only and picture-specific frames make you perform a ton of closure; yet when you get to the Jiminy the Cockroach stories… the flow slows down dramatically with a lot of words and reading. For me, it made the flow of the story really odd and it was hard to concentrate at some points. The other problem I see in this book is the fact that it is X-Rated to the point where no one under 18 can indulge. The problem here is that the only audience that really knows about Pinocchio is about the age of 18 (the younger generations have a new source of Disney movies and forms of entertainment). This becomes a problem because since this adaptation of Pinocchio is skewed and different from the original, then it won’t have the same joyous impact on the people who read it (i.e. the people who already know of the original). To improve it in this fashion, I would not have skewed Snow White and her posse of dwarves to the point where rape and domination are involved. AND, I would have somehow kept the ideal that Pinocchio’s nose grows. That IS Pinocchio.
7. Pinocchio contained a fair amount of X-Rated material; there was enough in the book to make me believe that this book this be recommended to no one under the age of 18. There are numerous sexual frames in the story, references to marijuana, many murders with gruesome amounts of blood, constant cigarette smoking and alcohol consumption, rape, minor abuse, and many swear words; hence it is not appropriate for anyone under 18. Growing up in the 90s, I have seen Pinocchio numerous times. Overall, I would recommend this book to both men and women who grew up in a time period with knowledge to the original Pinocchio book or movie. Therefore, anyone between the ages of 18 and 30, I would recommend this adaptation to. As far as a certain subtype of humans to recommend it to, I would tell anyone who is interested in graphic art regarding new and interesting adaptations of Disney movies and cartoons to check out. We all know that Disney movies sneak in a fair amount of “adult” content into the films, so anyone who recognizes them would like this book (such as a movie buff). I could imagine all my male friends liking this book a lot. On the other side of the coin, I don’t think my mother would really appreciate what Winshluss did with the adaptation. The most shocking part was the beginning to me, with the first “sex” scene with Svetlana Geppetto and Pinocchio. From that moment on, I knew the book was a much different interpretation than I was used to. Another surprising part was the introduction of Snow White and seven dwarves. The fact that Snow White was captive to the dominatrix dwarves was ver interesting and took me off guard. As far as being uncomfortable goes, I will never be able to watch Snow White and the Seven Dwarves again without seeing Dopey in an all-black leather get-up trying to have sex with Snow White… I am scarred for life! This has led me to the realization that if I ever try to read a book that attempts to twist my childhood memories of any Disney story, because they were so fond, I will instantly put it down at the first sign of a sex, drugs, or rock n’ roll adaptation. This goes for any book or movie, be it a graphic novel, short story, short film, or award-winning movie.
8. Winshluss is best known for an animated film called Persepolis, in 2007. It won an Academy Award for being the Best Animated Feature, as well as a Cannes Film Festival award. If it won an academy award, it must be a good one. He has also done numerous comics with his scenarist Cizo for numerous French comic publishers.
9. I will give Pinocchio, by Winshluss and Cizo, a 4/5 stars. It was a very fun read and I enjoyed it a lot. The only problem with it was how it really twisted my perception of the original as well as Snow White. The artwork was fantastic and the storyline was superb. It was however, tough to follow along at times; I really had to rely on the art to help me through it (which is no doubt the point, yet with my style of reading and learning, I need to have words to understand and analyze). Yet, I digress. Pinocchio shall get 4 stars from me, and I would recommend this book highly.