Most people familiar with the Pinocchio story likely know it through the 1940 Disney animated film, or one of the many animated or live action films that have followed. The original Carlo Collodi fantasy novel from the late 1800s is far darker and more surreal than most of the adaptations that have followed.
All of the "charm, gloom, and chaos" of the original novel will come to life again in an all-new, deluxe hardcover edition from Beehive Books, part of their glorious Illuminated Editions series. This new addition to the series includes more than 50 original illustrations from Mike Mignola (creator of Hellboy) along with over 100 text annotations by Lemony Snicket, aka Daniel Handler (Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events). The annotations will be presented as "slipped-in typewritten sheets produced by Snicket during a Pinocchio-induced descent into madness." Celebrated colorist, Dave Stewart, is also part of the project.
Beehive Books is now crowdfunding Pinocchio: The Illuminated Edition on Kickstarter.
Beehive exclusively shared with Boing Boing a few sneak peeks of Mike's illustrations and we got a chance to ask Mike a few questions about working on this project.
Boing Boing: Pinocchio is such a beloved classic that has achieved almost mythic status. What inspired you to revisit this story and what unique approach are you taking in your retelling?
Mike Mignola: I'm not "retelling," I'm just illustrating what's there in the pages of Carlo Collodi's Pinocchio—though when I tell people what I'm drawing they often think I'm making up my own version. But, no, all that weird stuff is in the book. That's what I love about it—that's why I'm doing this.
BB: Pinocchio has been adapted and reinterpreted in many different forms over the years. What aspects of the character and story did you feel were essential to retain, and what elements did you update or subvert?
MM: I gave it a lot of thought and did want to bring my own look to it. I consider the version illustrated by Attilio Mussino to be the true classic, so for my version, I just pushed things into a sort of Victorian Gothic look. I didn't change anything from the book really, just sort of dressed it all up a little different.
BB: Your art style is so highly distinctive and has become closely associated with your work on Hellboy and similar projects. How did you approach the visual design of Pinocchio, and what challenges or opportunities did this character offer you as an artist?
MM: Coming up with my look for things was the biggest challenge, but I'd actually spent years thinking about what my version of Pinocchio might look like.
BB: Pinocchio is a character with a lot of thematic depth, from the idea of growing up and becoming a real boy to the perils of lying and the dangers of temptation. And, unlike the widely-known Disney adaptation, Collodi's original is surprisingly dark and surreal. What themes or messages are you exploring in your version of the story?
MM: I didn't focus on any messages, but me being me, I suppose I did focus a bit more on the darker aspects of the book—the tree where he's hanged, the ghost-like Fairy, that kind of thing.
BB: Having the addition of annotations from Lemony Snicket is such a clever idea. What do you think his involvement brings to the project?
MM: I was so thrilled when I was told about Snickett's annotations. I think it's perfect to have an outsider comment on how insane the book is and think he brings the perfect voice for that. Such a great addition to the book and such an inspired choice.
Here are a few teaser images from Mike (exclusive to Boing Boing).
Learn more on the project's Kickstarter page.