Editor’s Note, 7/29/2013, 8:30 a.m.: Article updated with quotes from Pinocchio: Vampire Slayer writer Van Jensen, and we thank him for his comments.

In addition, we originally reported that original Pinocchio: Vampire Slayer publisher Slave Labor Graphics was publishing the omnibus. Instead, the publisher is Top Shelf Productions. We regret the error, and have updated the piece to reflect the changes.

It’s been a little under about a year since the final chapter of Pinocchio: Vampire Slayer by writer Van Jensen and artist Dusty Higgins, Of Wood And Blood, was released in trade paperback and digital comics formats. And while that book was a blast, that seemed to be pretty much it. Trilogy completed, Jensen moved on to write Green Lantern Corps for DC Comics, and Higgins seems to be working on a children’s book based on stories told to him by his daughter.

So that’s it, right? All Jensen’s and Higgins’s Pinocchio stories told, correct?

Yeah, no. Apparently they have at least one more story left in them, if not more. Robot 6 is reporting that Slave Labor Graphics has announced that Jensen and Higgins are planning to release a short story prequel to the trilogy, based on that one panel in the original where they talk about Pinocchio fighting a vampire gorilla. Remember that?

Yeah, me neither (What do you want from me? I read it ten months ago). So here’s the panel:

batman_13_jokerHappy New Year! Well, almost.

This year in comics has been pretty uneven for the Big Two. Marvel finally dragged its ass across the finish line to end the pain and suffering that was Avengers Vs. X-Men, leading to a reboot relaunch of most of its major titles under the imprint of something called Marvel Now! Whatever its actual intentions (sales!), Marvel Now!’s primary functions have to have an excuse to bring Jean Grey back as a teenager (hot!) and kill off Peter Parker (cold!). The jury is out with me on the whole concept right now. Meanwhile, DC has killed off many of its New 52 titles before they even made it to middle school (oh, O.M.A.C., we barely knew ye!). On the other hand, Scott Snyder has emerged as an architect of some vision with his “Death Of The Family” concept, which is currently impacting the Bat Family of books. I’m digging this story almost enough to forgive him for taking a break from Vertigo’s American Vampire…and Vertigo’s got enough problems right now.

So, where were the bright spots? Check out my picks, after the jump.

EDITOR’S NOTE: This review is based on a review copy of Pinocchio: Of Wood and Blood Part 2 provided free of charge to Crisis On Infinite Midlives by pubisher Slave Labor Graphics and writer Van Jensen.

Pinocchio is a bad motherfucker.

Pinocchio: Of Wood and Blood is the concluding chapter of Pinocchio: Vampire Slayer, which Amanda and I came across completely by accident at San Diego Comic-Con in 2011 at the Slave Labor Graphics booth. We picked it up based purely on the title – how can you not give a book named Pinocchio: Vampire Slayer a try? If we’d seen a book titled Cinderella: Street Vigilante we’d have bought that too – and were delighted to find an action-packed, funny story about Pinocchio and his puppet crew hunting down vampires by telling lies (think along the lines of, “I will take no joy in staking your dead ass and dragging it screaming into the daylight”), which grows his nose and gives him a handy, on-demand wooden stake for bringing the stabby.

EDITOR’S NOTE – This review is on issues #1-4 of Sanctuary, by Stephen Coughlin and is based on preview copies forwarded to the Crisis Home Office by Mr. Coughlin. Also, there will be spoilers. Mystery solved!

When I examine my pull list, I have to admit that deep down I’m kind of a Capes and Cowls sort of girl. As someone who got back into reading comics by way of Transmetropolitan and Preacher, I didn’t think I was. But, lately, my weekly take skews heavy to The Big Two and The Big Two are mostly Flights and Tights. After that, I have a healthy chunk of Vertigo books, which tend to not be super powers books, but still generally have magic and weirdness. Following that are Image books, which could be about anything, but often deal with super powers though. Rounding out the pack are books from Boom Studios and small press (which, I guess you could say would include Boom, if only because it’s not Marvel or DC). Small press books tend towards the quirky and are less likely to be “traditional”, at least the ones I get. Maybe the protagonist is a talking teddy bear whose mortal enemy is the family cat. Or maybe the protagonist thinks he’s a superhero, but he’s really an oddly nigh invulnerable nut job who runs around in blue spandex doing more damage than good. Either way, for good or bad, my pull list tends toward the big established guys with their big established, practically heirloom, hero properties. Furthermore, my weekly take is also, entirely, physical paper copy.

Enter Slave Labor Graphics.

At last year’s SDCC, Amanda picked up the first two books of Van Jensen’s and Dusty Higgins’s Pinocchio, Vampire Slayer from the Slave Labor Graphics booth, partially because the title was cool, and partially because we needed something to read in the hotel bathroom while suffering through either travel-related constipiation or, eventually, crippling beer shits.

Turns out it was well worth the speculative purchase (Neither of us had heard of the book before buying it); it was a smart, funny story about a bad-assed Pinocchio who killed vampires by lying (Along the lines of, “I am going to take no joy in stabbing you in the Goddamned chest.”), breaking off his nose and staking vampires in the heart with it. It’s a hell of a clever conceit, and a damnsight less disturbing an idea than, say, Ron Jeremy, Vampire Slayer.

The second book ended on a cliffhanger – Pinocchio turned into a real boy, which is like taking The Punisher’s gun and replacing it with a My Little Pony plushie – and we have been patiently waiting for book three, Of Wood And Blood. Well, the wait is over: Slave Labor Graphics has released the complete first issue to Comic Book Resources’ Robot 6 for free, and the first and second issues will be available for download via the Slave Labor Graphics Web site and comiXology later this week.