May 1, 2014

The Little Wooden Boy, Like You've Never Seen Him Before, By Nora Stasio, Fairy Tale News Reporter

With fairy tales being so trendy these days, you'd think “Pinocchio” would get more love. The tale of the living puppet-boy was written by Carlo Collodi in 1883, so it isn't even as old as some of the fairy tales that are more popular today (for example, Charles Perrault penned Cinderella in 1697, but its roots stretch back much further than that). Still, it isn't retold nearly as often. Nowadays, it seems people are more interested in princess stories than in tales of wooden boys who tell lies.

Vampires, on the other hand, have been very popular for quite a few years now (blame that phenomenon on what you will). In 2009, Author Van Jensen had the idea of putting “Pinocchio” and vampires together in the same graphic novel in a way that's surprisingly brilliant. No really, hear me out on this one!

The story goes a little something like this: When vampires attack Pinocchio's small Italian village, the toymaker Geppetto, Pinocchio's father-figure, is killed. In his despair, Pinocchio tells a terrible lie. His nose grows long. He chops it off, and uses it as a wooden stake to slay a vampire. That's when Pinocchio has an epiphany. As long as he can keep coming up with lies, he will have an endless supply of vampire-killing weapons.

As strange as that premise is, I actually think it's rather clever. Van Jensen did the writing, and Dustin Higgins created the art. It's gotten rave reviews since it came out. Although, I should mention, this series is only recommended for more mature audiences, due to violence and some gore. I personally have a low tolerance for blood, but if you're a fan of horror, you may enjoy this title. If you haven't read it yet, follow this link.


Here's another graphic novel you might be interested in. Simply titled Jim Henson's 'Labyrinth,' this novel actually serves as a prequel to the 1986 cult classic film. It follows a young boy named Jareth and his journey through the Labyrinth many years before Sarah, the heroine of the film, ever arrived there. Will Jareth defeat the Goblin Queen and rescue his true love? Find out by exploring the book here.

This next story takes us all the way to the "Land Down-Under." The Sydney Theatre Company has put together a musical about Pinocchio that's being lauded as an entertaining spectacle for the whole family to enjoy. This version sticks more closely to the plot of the original fairy tale (with some modern twists), and will feature not only live rock music and dancing, but also animation and puppetry. It'll play at the Sydney Opera House from April 11th to May 4th, and then there are plans to move Broadway for the 2015 season. So if you don't live anywhere near Australia, perhaps you can catch this little gem at the New Victory Theater in New York next year.

Now, let's not forget, a few months ago, I had reported that Robert Downey Jr. was planning to portray both Pinocchio and Geppetto in an upcoming live-action film. I wish I had an update to give you on that bizarre story, but so far, nothing has come to the surface. And that's a shame, because I'm terribly curious how that will turn out!

It's nice to see this classic Italian fairy tale getting a little more attention, thanks to all of these talented artists and producers. What are some fairy tales that you feel are unfairly under-represented in modern media? I have a feeling our readers will have plenty to say on that topic. I eagerly anticipate your comments!

Happy Spring, everyone!
Bio: Nora writes, "I have been a lover of creative writing and fairy tales for basically my entire life! I recently graduated Cum Laude from Rutgers where I completed a minor in English, with a focus in Creative Writing and Shakespeare (I majored in Psychology)."



  1. There are so many hidden gems in the fairy tale world that should get some media spotlight. One of my favorites is "How Six Men Got on in the World" which I think has some potential in our current superhero-loving pop culture. Also, I think the Japanese tale of "Momotaro" needs a chance to shine in the Western world.

    As for Pinocchio, that one's a personal favorite and I've been doing my own small part to give the story its due. For the past three months I've been telling the story in segments at local Story Circle meetings.

  2. Oh my goodness! I am sick and tired of the same limited folktales that Disney chose being retread over and over again. I think that 99% of the Grimm tales would be worth adapting to film (even if student films). I have so many favorite fairy tales. I love the Norwegian tale, "White Bear King Valemon" and think it would make a wonderful movie as would "Dapplegrim." Fun children's movies could be made from "Gunniwolf" or "The Nanny Goat and the Wolf."

  3. Hi, Kate! I am hereby tagging you in the "You know you're a fairy tale blogger when" chain. My post can be seen here:

  4. Hi, Kate! I am hereby tagging you in the "You know you're a fairy tale blogger when" chain. My post can be seen here:

  5. I watched the (sappy) Pinocchio put out by Disney many years ago and adored it, but honestly have not thought much about the story in interim and will need to re-read it. I also have a low tolerance for blood so even though the premise for the Pinocchio and vampires book sounds intriguing, I don't think I'll go for it. The Labyrinth prequel, on the other hand, sounds like a good read!

    I'm also curious about that Robert Downey Jr Pinocchio remake too, but, then, I'm in the camp that believes that a bad RDJ movie is still a good one. ;)

  6. Obviously there are so many great tales out there that the general public doesn't know about that would be wonderful to see in film or popular culture. East of the Sun, West of the Moon is on my list.

    But this has got me thinking about why fairy tales are so popular at the moment (I'm not complaining, of course). But I think part of it has do to with a need to "take back" or take ownership of these tales as they have been presented in the past. And so most of what we are seeing are re-imaginings of tales that have long been popular, through Disney or whatever other means. So we're seeing much more of those commonly known tales. Am I babbling?

  7. I agree that this is an interesting spin on the story of Pinocchio. As one of my favorite fairy tales growing up (both the story of Pinocchio and the Disney movie) I always wondered why no one in the story tried to take advantage of the infinite wood that Pinocchio could provide. Maybe people were more interested that he’s a talking puppet. While Van Jensen’s novel is a little dark for my taste I praise the fact that he gives the book a darker tone that is more in line with the original Adventures of Pinocchio book than the Disney release. This novel is a great example of what a creative mind can do with a fictional character which in a way is what fairy tales are all about.
    This is the first I have heard about a potential Robert Downey Jr. Pinocchio movie. I would be interested in seeing it but don’t know how to feel about the actor choice. However, if the movie turned out well than the Pinocchio character could have a major resurgence.