Here’s a pairing you might not have expected – Mignola and Snicket. Teaming up for… Pinocchio.
Mike Mignola’s best known as the creator of Dark Horse Comics’ Hellboy, of course. Lemony Snicket is the author of the children’s books in A Series of Unfortunate Events. Okay, it’s a pen name for Daniel Handler. But it’s also a persona. We’ll go along for the ride!
Here’s why a team-up makes sense. Since Hellboy is the offspring of a witch and an archdemon who turns up on earth as a child at the end of World War II, you might say his origins qualify as troubled child.
Snicket’s Baudelaire children are as troubled as any gothic protagonists in their struggles against Count Olaf.
And what’s Pinocchio, first seen in 1883, if not a troubled youth struggling against a series of strange events, characters, assassins and worse?
That kind of brings Beehive Books’ Pinocchio: The Illuminated Edition of Carlo Collodi’s classic into focus. It features cover art and 50+ Illustrations by Mignola. That’s spread through a text with 100+ annotations by Snicket in pure Snicket style. Award-winning colorist Dave Stewart is in the mix as well.
The Snicket asides are presented as typewritten sheets inserted into the book, all said to be “produced by Snicket during his Pinocchio-induced descent into madness.”
This is actually the latest entry in a series of titles in Beehive’s Illuminated Editions imprint that have included many award-winning artists with texts by the like of Guillermo del Toro and Darren Aronofsky.
Beehive’s statement on the project informs us Mignola couldn’t say “no” even though he was busy with other projects. “I’ve been in love with Pinocchio as long as I can remember,” he said. “Probably starting with the Disney film and then really drilled into me when I finally read the Collodi novel. It’s just so brilliantly strange—very very funny and also heartbreakingly sad. It’s one of the two books (along with Dracula) that I think sort of make me do what I do the way I do them.”
The publisher’s statement from the Snicket persona is as zany and surreal as you’d expect. “For many years I have been curious to see if I, too, will join the tradition of readers completely transformed into lunatics from a reading of Pinocchio, and although Carlo Collodi died long ago, I like to think that somewhere, somehow, he is interested in seeing what I might have to say as I read this book and likely lose my mind. Perhaps you are too.”
You can just imagine what those “typed” inserts must read like. It affects a mid-century Smith Corona typewriter’s font.
Three print editions of the book have been announced: a slipcase hardcover, a signed and numbered edition, and a sketched and lettered edition. Philadelphia-based small press Beehive has launched a crowdfunding campaign for the project, and it’s drawn in $200,000 at this writing.
Aditionally, New York’s Society of Illustrators is hosting an exhibit of Mignola’s full portfolio of yet-to-be-published Pinocchio illustrations, including all the drawings done for the book, as well as additional art not included in the book, including paintings, process work for the project, and an original puppet from Red Nose Studios. The exhibit will be open to the public from March 22nd to July 8 at the society, 128 East 63rd Street, New York, NY.