Dusty Higgins Archives | Robot 6 | The Comics Culture Blog

Pinocchio, Vampire Gorilla Slayer?


Did we know there’s another Pinocchio, Vampire Slayer story in the works? ‘Cause I just stumbled across this image on the PVS website with the announcement that it’s something creators Dusty Higgins and Van Jensen are working on.

In a throwaway line from Pinocchio, Vampire Slayer, Volume 3, a character mentions a vampire-infested zoo and quips, “Remember the vampire gorilla?” Higgins and Jensen not only remember it, they “have always planned on eventually telling it.” It’ll be a short story featuring all the vampire-slaying puppets from the graphic novels; the creators just have to work out the details of how it’ll be released.

Update: Jensen provides some additional PVS-related info in our comments section: “Also, for those who missed the announcement at Comic-Con, Top Shelf Productions will be publishing an omnibus edition of PVS in 2014. We’re thrilled to partner with the Top Shelf folks and to have the entire story in one place. Digital editions will be coming as well. Release dates not set as of yet, but we’ll announce all of that soon.”

Food or Comics? | Havarti or The Hive

Welcome to Food or Comics?, where every week we talk about what comics we’d buy at our local comic shop based on certain spending limits — $15 and $30 — as well as what we’d get if we had extra money or a gift card to spend on a splurge item.

Check out Diamond’s release list or ComicList, and tell us what you’re getting in our comments field.

The Hive

Chris Arrant

If I had $15, I’d make up for lost time and get the first collection of Mind the Gap (Image, $9.99). Rodin Esquejo is an absolute gem in my opinion, and Jim McCann looks to have crafted a story with some definite suspenseful power. After that I’d get James Stokoe’s Godzilla: Half Century War #3 (IDW, $3.99). This has become one of my favorite serials to come out, which for a work-for-hire book is tough. Instead of doing a story in service of the concept, it uses the concept to create a great story – and Stokoe really loves Godzilla and puts a face to those humans who oppose him. Finally, I’d get the free Cyber Force #1 (Image/Top Cow, $0) because, well, it’s free. I have an unabashed love for the original Cyber Force, and previous reboots haven’t really gelled the way I wanted to. I’m excited to see what Matt Hawkins brings to this, and I’m glad Silvestri is involved even if only on covers and designs.

If I had $30, I’d first stop for Glory #29 (Image, $3.99). I tend to read this series in built-up bursts, and I’m overdue to catch up. I like the monstrous rage Ross Campbell brings to this, and seeing Joe Keatinge capitalize on the artist he has to create a broader story is thrilling. After that I’d get a Marvel three-pack in Hawkeye #3 (Marvel, $2.99), Daredevil #19 (Marvel, $2.99) and AvX Consequences #2 (Marvel, $3.99). I’d buy David Aja illustrating a phone book – seeing him getting a great story is icing on the cake.

If I could splurge, I’d lash onto Charles Burns’ The Hive (Pantheon, $21.95). I’m reluctantly late to the game when it comes to Charles Burns, but X’ed Out clued me into his awesome cartooning power. After devouring his previous work, I’m excited to read The Hive as it first comes out. I don’t quite know what to expect, but after finally coming around to Burn’s skill I’m up for pretty much anything. Continue Reading »

Talking Comics with Tim | Van Jensen

Covers for Of Wood and Blood, Part One & Part Two

Next month will see the release of the final installment in Van Jensen‘s and Dusty Higgins‘ Pinocchio, Vampire Slayer series of books, Of Wood and Blood, Part Two. To mark this milestone as well as find out what creative projects he intends to pursue in the future, I cajoled longtime friend of the blog Jensen to do an interview. I was pleased to learn that while Pinocchio, Vampire Slayer is coming to a close, Joe Pimienta is illustrating Jensen’s upcoming graphic novel, The Leg. More immediately, Jensen will be busy this upcoming weekend in Atlanta–as he will be at Dragon*Con, so be sure to visit him if you are there.

Tim O’Shea: You’re ending Pinocchio on a high note, while the project seems to still be doing well. Why step away — and how hard was it to do?

Van Jensen: When Dusty and I were working on the first volume, I came up with this notion of how to explain where Pinocchio came from (the original story has him as a sentient piece of wood that is carved into a puppet, not a puppet that’s magically brought to life) and tie that into the origin of the vampires. We realized it would make a perfect contained storyline; the question was always whether the book would sell enough for us to explore the whole story.

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Jensen and Higgins put a stake in Pinocchio Vampire Slayer

Back in 2009 writer Van Jensen and artist Dusty Higgins introduced three simple yet brilliant words into the comic book vocabulary–Pinocchio Vampire Slayer. Over the course of the previous two volumes, the little wooden boy and his friends won our hearts–and staked a few along the way–as each lie brought a new weapon to use against Pinocchio’s enemies.

The print version of the final volume, Of Wood and Blood, isn’t due until this summer, but SLG Publishing will release it as a series of digital comics on comiXology and their own website (we managed to get an advance copy, which you can read right now). The first issue is free, while subsequent issues will cost 99 cents.

I caught up with Jensen and Higgins to talk about the third volume, what the series has meant to them and what they plan to do after it’s finished.

JK Parkin: What was going through your heads as you put the finishing touches on this volume? Was it bittersweet, relief, accomplishment … or some combination of all three? Did the fact that this is your last hurrah with these characters make it more difficult to finish?

Van Jensen: It was kind of an emotional conclusion for me, I’ll admit. I didn’t want to say goodbye to any of the characters, even the drunkards in the bar in Rome. Beyond that, this third book is in some ways a long meditation on death (don’t worry, there’s still plenty of humor!), so I think I’d been in a pretty dark mindset for the months that I was writing it. But, as usual, I was mostly excited to see Dusty take my script and bring it to life.

Dusty Higgins: What keeps popping back into my head as I finish these last pages (and I’ve still got a lot to go) is a sense of wonder that three years into this project I’m still working on it. When I first approached Van the with the idea, I wouldn’t have guessed I’d be working on a third volume. I’d actually intended to get that first book out and move on to something else, but things happen and the story took on a life of its own. It’s always a bit sad to look at a page and think, that might be the last time I draw that character and there are redshirt vampires I’ve felt that way about, but it’s also a relief knowing soon our foray into Pinocchio’s world will be complete in a way that Van and I are both satisfied with. We didn’t make concessions on the story, we told it the way we wanted to and we’re not dragging it out for the sake of dragging it out. Knowing you have that creative freedom and being able to finish a story the way you feel it should finish… that’s what makes me want to keep doing this.

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The complete Pinocchio Vampire Slayer: Of Wood and Blood #1

Pinocchio, Vampire Slayer

Writer Van Jensen and artist Dusty Higgins announced in December that the third and final volume of their Pinocchio Vampire Slayer saga, Of Wood and Blood, will begin serialization this month. While the previous volumes were released as graphic novels, volume three will begin life as a digital comic available on comiXology and SLG Publishing’s website before it becomes a real boy, er, book next summer.

SLG plans to post the first and second issues on their site later this week. The first issue will be available for free, and each subsequent issue will be 99 cents. If you don’t want to wait to read the first issue, though, we’ve got you covered — you can read it right here, right now!

Check out Pinocchio, Vampire Slayer: Of Wood and Blood #1 below, and be sure to read the interview I did with Jensen and Higgins.

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Third Pinocchio, Vampire Slayer coming digitally in January

Pinocchio, Vampire Slayer: Of Wood and Blood #1

The third and final volume of Van Jensen and Dusty Higgins’ Pinocchio, Vampire Slayer trilogy will debut next month as a serialized digital comic, available through the SLG Publishing website and comiXology.

Pinocchio, Vampire Slayer: Of Wood and Blood picks up where the cliffhanger ending of the second volume left off, with Pinocchio and his friends shipwrecked and Carlotta in the clutches of the vampires. The first issue will be available for free, and each subsequent issue will be 99 cents. Jensen said they decided to serialize the book digitally to support SLG publisher Dan Vado’s digital first initiative, in which SLG comics debut electronically. A print edition of Of Wood and Blood is planned for summer 2012.

You can check out the cover for the second issue, which also comes out in January, after the jump.

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Wolfe and Higgins bring zombies to Camelot in Knights of the Living Dead

Knights of the Living Dead

Artist Dusty Higgins has a knack for getting involved with projects with titles that make you scream, “Hey, why didn’t I think of that?” Over the last couple years, he’s worked with Van Jensen on the Pinocchio, Vampire Slayer series of graphic novels, the third of which is due next year from SLG Publishing. It of course pits the little wooden boy against monsters whose weaknesses include wooden stakes through the heart.

Now he’s teamed with writer Ron Wolfe for Knights of the Living Dead, a story that brings zombies to Camelot. The first issue is now available for free from SLG Publishing’s website, where you can also buy the second issue for 99 cents.

Wolfe says not to let the title fool you – the book is no spoof.

“I love the title, but don’t let it mislead you. The book is no spoof on zombies. It’s as dark as anything I’ve ever written,” Wolfe told Robot 6. His previous work includes Death’s Door and Old Fears, both horror novels co-written with John Wooley, as well as Hellraiser comics for Marvel. “That said, the premise allows for some playing around. But I really think, if I just happened to pick it up, this thing would trouble me for some time.”

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Pinocchio, Vampire Slayer channels Shakespeare for new statue

Pinocchio, Vampire Slayer writer Van Jensen sends word that Dusty Higgins’ cover to the second volume of their undead-slaying trilogy is being turned into a limited edition state, which is available for pre-order on the SLG Publishing website. Check out the swell animated gif, which gives you a 360-degree look at it in all its glory.

This just over six-inch figure will be cast in high density polystone and will be nearly made to order in terms of its production run. It was designed by Figurebang Toys. Available exclusively from SLG, they will stop taking orders for this piece on Oct. 31. The statue will cost $189 for pre-orders, and those who place orders won’t be charged until the statue ships.

HeroesCon Recap: Photo Essay

Rather than try to write a summary of my HeroesCon 2011 experience, I have opted this year to share as many photos as possible. My camera was out-of-commission yesterday so all photos were taken during the second day of the show (Saturday).

Jeff Parker and friends

Jeff Parker and friends

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Food or Comics? | This week’s comics on a budget

Action Comics Annual #13

Welcome to another installment of “Food or Comics?” Every week we set certain hypothetical spending limits on ourselves and go through the agony of trying to determine what comics come home and which ones stay on the shelves. So join us as we run down what comics we’d buy if they only had $15 and $30 to spend, as well as what we’d get if we had some “mad money” to splurge with.

Check out Diamond’s release list for this week if you’d like to play along in our comments section.

Graeme McMillan

If I had $15, I’d spend the first $2.99 on the last King City, which definitely appears on this week’s list. Yay! Then I’d split the remaining $13 between two DC Comics: Paul Cornell’s Action Comics Annual #13 ($4.99), in which a young Lex Luthor meets Darkseid (Editor Wil Moss promised me on Twitter the other week that this will fulfill my sick, sick desire for more comics like Jack Kirby’s Super Powers toy tie-ins from the 1980s, so I’m entirely sold) and Vertigo Resurrected: Winter’s Edge #1 ($7.99), a collection of long out-of-print seasonal tales starring Vertigo favorites and forgotten ghost characters from Christmas Past. Be warned: I’m a sucker for Holiday comics, so expect to see me picking those a lot in the next few weeks. It’s the Most Wonderful Time Of The Year, after all.

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Talking Comics with Tim | Van Jensen

Pinocchio, Vampire Slayer and the Great Puppet Theater

It was bound to happen at some point and today’s the day:  I interview a talented creator who frequents the same comic shop I do. As Pinocchio, Vampire Slayer and the The Great Puppet Theater writer Van Jensen and I realized several months or so, he and I both shop at Book Nook (located in Decatur, Georgia). Jensen was kind enough to do an email interview regarding the December 2 release of the second volume in the Pinocchio, Vampire Slayer universe. As regular readers are well aware, we are big Pinocchio, Vampire Slayer fans here at Robot 6. Back in late October, we offered an exclusive sneak preview of the book, which we invite you to peruse after reading the interview.

Tim O’Shea: I think it’s safe to say that the latest volume of Pinocchio: Vampire Slayer is being released later than you would have hoped. I mainly ask, because unlike most delayed book situations where the delay results from creators missing deadlines, that’s not the case here. Care to explain some of what delayed the book?

Van Jensen: The very short answer is overseas printing. The costs for printing are such that it’s cheaper to have a book printed in Asia and then shipped via the Pacific. That distance lends itself to delays arising. Both of the Pinocchio books, for instance, were in cargo containers that got held up in customs.

I know it’s frustrating to fans, though. And it’s frustrating to Dusty and me. We’re both newspaper guys, and that job drills the importance of deadlines into your head. You get your work done, and it’s in print the next morning, every morning. I really pride myself on turning work in early. So with the book being late, I feel like it’s breaking a promise to the fans, and I feel awful about it.

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Robot 666 | Pinocchio, Vampire Slayer and The Great Puppet Theater preview

Courtesy of creators Van Jensen and Dusty Higgins, here’s an exclusive sneak preview of their upcoming graphic novel Pinocchio, Vampire Slayer and The Great Puppet Theater:

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Create your own vampire-killing puppet to win Pinocchio,Vampire Slayer prizes

Pinocchio, Vampire Slayer poster

Pinocchio, Vampire Slayer creators Dusty Higgins and Van Jensen are holding a contest to support and promote the upcoming sequel to the book, Pinocchio, Vampire Slayer and the Great Puppet Theater. To enter, all you have to do is create your own vampire-killing puppet. Here are the complete details:

Pinocchio now has a few friends to help him in his ongoing battle with the vampire scourge. But the cast of the Great Puppet Theater won’t be enough to defeat the seemingly endless ranks of the undead.

Pinocchio needs an army of puppet warriors to fight the vampires, and that’s where you come in!

Design your own vampire-slaying puppet for the chance to win some serious swag from PINOCCHIO, VAMPIRE SLAYER AND THE GREAT PUPPET THEATER, the sequel to last fall’s breakout graphic novel by Dusty Higgins and Van Jensen.

Submissions can be sketches, costumes or actual puppets. Just make sure your creation is suited to battle the bloodsuckers!

The top entry will receive a signed copy of the new book and a piece of original art! Two runners up will receive signed copies of the book!

Images can be posted at the Pinocchio, Vampire Slayer Facebook page, tweeted to @p_vampireslayer or e-mailed to contest@pinocchiovampireslayer.com. All entries must be received by October 8.

Pinocchio, Vampire Slayer and the Great Puppet Theater hits shelves later this fall from SLG Publishing.

SDCC ’10 | Vampire slaying is a team sport in Pinocchio, Vampire Slayer and the Great Puppet Theater

Pinocchio, Vampire Slayer and the Great Puppet Theater

Pinocchio, Vampire Slayer and the Great Puppet Theater

Last year’s Pinocchio, Vampire Slayer by writer Van Jensen and artist Dusty Higgins saw the creative duo re-imagine the famous little wooden boy as a vampire-killing machine; each lie he told gave him one more weapon to use against the undead. As we’ve teased over the last few weeks, Pinocchio is coming back this October in the sequel to the hit graphic novel, and he’s bringing some friends.

Higgins and Jensen are the subject of a spotlight panel today at Comic-Con International in San Diego, but I caught up with them before the show to find out more about Pinocchio, Vampire Slayer and the Great Puppet Theater. Click below to also see 11 pages from the new book.

JK: We teased Pinocchio’s buddies in the new book on Robot 6 earlier this summer. What was the inspiration for this “team” of puppets who will be joining him in his battle?

Van: The new puppets continue what we tried to do with the first book: Remain faithful to Collodi’s original story while expanding it into our new story. The original has Pinocchio encounter The Great Puppet Theater, which turns out to be a traveling group of living puppets that perform theater. They refer to Pinocchio as their brother before eventually parting ways. It seemed like an obvious direction to explore, because these other puppets presumably would be able to kill vampires, just as Pinocchio does. And the big underlying question of this story is: Where did Pinocchio come from, and how is he connected to the vampires? So, again, it seemed natural that Pinocchio’s past would intertwine with the past of these puppets.

Also, it seemed really cool to have a big team of living, fighting puppets!

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Pinocchio sequel gets punchy with Punchinello


And finally, the entire cast stands revealed … above is the last teaser image before Comic-Con for Pinocchio, Vampire Slayer and the Great Puppet Theater by Van Jensen and Dusty Higgins, introducing Punchinello to the team of undead-fighting puppets.

The first preview of Pinocchio, Vampire Slayer and the Great Puppet Theater will be revealed at Comic-Con during a spotlight panel on Higgins and Jensen. The duo will show off pages and the cover of the sequel to their 2009 graphic novel on Thursday, July 22 at 1:30 p.m. in Room 3. Higgins and Jensen (and Pinocchio himself) also will be set up at the SLG Publishing booth throughout the show to do signings and sketches. And on Friday, July 23, at 4:50 p.m., Jensen will be on the Indy Writers Unite! panel (also featuring Larry Marder, Terry Moore, Carla Speed McNeil and James Sturm) in Room 3.

And a big thanks to Van and Dusty for letting us roll these out!

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