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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

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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!

Flavio has the flavor for killing undead in Pinocchio, Vampire Slayer sequel

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This week’s teaser for the upcoming Pinocchio, Vampire Slayer and the Great Puppet Theater by Van Jensen and Dusty Higgins reveals Flavio, the puppet to the far left. Also, Van shared some additional information about he and Dusty’s Comic-Con schedule, where you can meet both of them and the little wooden boy:

The first preview of Pinocchio, Vampire Slayer and the Great Puppet Theater will be revealed at Comic-Con! In a spotlight panel, Dustin Higgins and Van Jensen will show off pages and the cover of the sequel to their 2009 graphic novel. The panel will be 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. 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.

Isabella’s ready to stake vampires with Pinocchio and friends

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Comic-Con International special guests Van Jensen and Dusty Higgins will have more details and artwork on Pinocchio, Vampire Slayer and the Great Puppet Theater at the big con later this month. Until then, here’s another character reveal, Isabella … could she be based on the She-Wolf of France? Well, maybe not …

Here’s some additional info on the book:

Pinocchio’s back… but who are his friends!?! In the sequel to the 2009 graphic novel Pinocchio, Vampire Slayer by Dusty Higgins and Van Jensen, the titular puppet has to share the undead-killing stage. The stakes are raised in Pinocchio, Vampire Slayer and the Great Puppet Theater (SLG Publishing) as Pinocchio unravels the mystery of the vampire menace and his own shadowy background. The sequel will hit shelves in October.

Pinocchio, Vampire Slayer was named one of the Ten Great Graphic Novels for Teens in 2010 by YALSA. Follow Pinocchio on Twitter: @p_vampireslayer

Columbina joins Pinocchio and friends against the undead

Pinocchio Vampire Slayer

Pinocchio Vampire Slayer

Van Jensen, who shared his Shelf Porn with us yesterday, shares another teaser image for his upcoming book with Dusty Higgins, Pinocchio, Vampire Slayer and the Great Puppet Theater. This image introduces Columbina to the team.

He also mentioned that the pre-order page is up on Amazon. And you can find out more about the book in San Diego this year, where Van and Dusty are special guests.

Here’s some additional info on the book:

Pinocchio’s back… but who are his friends!?! In the sequel to the 2009 graphic novel Pinocchio, Vampire Slayer by Dusty Higgins and Van Jensen, the titular puppet has to share the undead-killing stage. The stakes are raised in Pinocchio, Vampire Slayer and the Great Puppet Theater (SLG Publishing) as Pinocchio unravels the mystery of the vampire menace and his own shadowy background. The sequel will hit shelves in October.

Pinocchio, Vampire Slayer was named one of the Ten Great Graphic Novels for Teens in 2010 by YALSA. Follow Pinocchio on Twitter: @p_vampireslayer

Send Us Your Shelf Porn!

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Welcome once again to Shelf Porn, where we get to play voyeur every week with somebody’s comic collection. This week’s contribution comes from Van Jensen, writer of Pinocchio Vampire Slayer and its upcoming sequel, as he shows us where the nose-growing, vampire-slaying magic happens.

Without further ado, let’s hear from Van …

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Pinocchio enlists Il Capitano to battle vampires this fall

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Today we continue revealing the characters that’ll help Pinocchio battle the undead in the upcoming Pinocchio, Vampire Slayer and the Great Puppet Theater, which is due out in October. Today brings Il Capitano, the wooden soldier who will join the title character and Harlequin.

Here’s some teaser info on the new book:

Pinocchio’s back… but who are his friends!?! In the sequel to the 2009 graphic novel Pinocchio, Vampire Slayer by Dusty Higgins and Van Jensen, the titular puppet has to share the undead-killing stage. The stakes are raised in Pinocchio, Vampire Slayer and the Great Puppet Theater (SLG Publishing) as Pinocchio unravels the mystery of the vampire menace and his own shadowy background. The sequel will hit shelves in October.

Pinocchio, Vampire Slayer was named one of the Ten Great Graphic Novels for Teens in 2010 by YALSA. Follow Pinocchio on Twitter: @p_vampireslayer

Meet Harlequin, Pinocchio’s vampire-slaying friend

At HeroesCon last weekend we learned that Dusty Higgins and Van Jensen’s vampire-killing puppet will return this fall in the sequel to last year’s Pinocchio, Vampire Slayer. The new book, Pinocchio, Vampire Slayer and the Great Puppet Theater, will see Pinocchio team up with several other wooden vampire hunters, the first of which we’re really happy to reveal today:

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Watch for more reveals in the weeks ahead. Pinocchio, Vampire Slayer and the Great Puppet Theater will be solicited in July’s Previews catalog for its October release. The solicitation text reads:

Pinocchio’s back… but who are his friends!?! In the sequel to the 2009 graphic novel Pinocchio, Vampire Slayer by Dusty Higgins and Van Jensen, the titular puppet has to share the undead-killing stage. The stakes are raised in Pinocchio, Vampire Slayer and the Great Puppet Theater (SLG Publishing) as Pinocchio unravels the mystery of the vampire menace and his own shadowy background. The sequel will hit shelves in October.

Pinocchio, Vampire Slayer was named one of the Ten Great Graphic Novels for Teens in 2010 by YALSA. Follow Pinocchio on Twitter: @p_vampireslayer

Straight for the art | Vampire Slayers United

Vampire Slayers United

Vampire Slayers United

Pinocchio Vampire Slayer artist Dustin Higgins, who is currently hard at work on the sequel, shares a sketch he did of the little wooden boy with another famous vampire slayer.

In terms of the follow-up to their 2009 graphic novel from SLG, Higgins says he and writer Van Jensen are filling it up with “more of everything (including pages!).”

“Amazingly, I’m nearing the halfway point in book pages, and they look fantastic,” he said. “Van and I are pretty psyched about the direction the story has taken. Be prepared for some teasers coming soon.”

Gorillas Riding Dinosaurs: Pinocchio, Vampire Slayer

Pinocchio: Vampire Slayer

Pinocchio: Vampire Slayer

Pinocchio: Vampire Slayer
Written by Van Jensen; Created and Illustrated by Dusty Higgins
SLG; $10.95

Before now, my experience with the story of Pinocchio is limited to three adaptations. One is the Roberto Benigni film, which I don’t remember much about other than the feeling that it was a lot darker and weirder than I was ready for. My surprise was probably because the only other version I’d seen up to then had been Walt Disney’s typically charming, but watered-down one. This past Christmas I bought a collection of Christmas specials on DVD that included Rankin Bass’ stop-motion Pinocchio’s Christmas, which, story-wise, was surprisingly more like Benigni than Disney. While all of these present fairly dark stories (especially in comparison to Disney’s traditional output), none of them prepared me for Pinocchio: Vampire Slayer.

And I’m not just talking about the vampire-hunting part; I’m talking about the three-page summary that catches you up on Carlo Collodi’s original tale. Jiminy Cricket – I know that’s not his real name, but I can’t stop calling him that – dies in his first encounter with the puppet-boy, but returns to haunt him as a ghost. Pinocchio isn’t just tricked by the fox and the cat, he’s hung from a tree by them (but not before he bites off the cat’s hand). He’s imprisoned, tied up outside a doghouse, gets his feet burned off, and of course there’s the stuff where he’s turned into an ass and gets swallowed by a giant fish. Basically, his life sucks. But not as much as it sucks (get it?) after Collodi’s story ends.

Higgins and Jensen apologetically pick up where Collodi left off, begging the dead author that “if he ever rolls over in his grave and rises, bloodthirsty, that we be spared.” While it’s true that their graphic novel may not be faithful to the tone of Collodi’s and they fill it with fun retcons (offering, for example, an explanation for all the talking animals), it’s also true that their story could have been what happened next. If, you know, a coven of vampires had moved into town, killed Geppetto and a whole bunch of other people, and Pinocchio grew a thirst for vengeance.

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