Sunday, January 17, 2010

Comic sacrilege?

Being the big fan of Pride and Prejudice that I am, I couldn't pass up the Marvel Comics version, adapted by Nancy Butler and illustrated by Hugo Petrus. The five-part comic is collected in one volume. Nancy Butler's introduction explains her interest in making comic books that appeal specifically to girls. In tackling Jane Austen's beloved novel, she ultimately decided to use much of the language from the book, rather than adapting it. Once that was settled, I imagine her biggest task was to decide how to trim the story to fit this project. I think she succeeded in abridging it.

The cover is charming in its artwork and how it is made to look like a women's magazine with its catchy tag lines. The cover art is not done by the same person as the comic inside. I prefer the cover art to the rest of the artwork, but that is not much of a complaint.

Comic sacrilege? No, this is comfortingly faithful to the original overall. I was pleased to find that Butler included the best lines that I remember from Austen's text. Fans of the original will probably like this adaptation, and more importantly it should attract younger readers of graphic novels to Austen's book.

1 comment:

  1. From Library Journal, 3-15-10 review by Martha Cornog: "It is a truth universally acknowledged that the United States is not Japan, and certainly this is no multivolume manga. We don't savor at length Lizzie's inner monologs or hover along through the Regency social dailiness that contextualizes Austen's comedy of matrimony. To be fair, the basic plot is pretty much here, bonsaied down from Austen's 400-plus pages. And Butler does quite a good job at keeping the continuity while letting each major character have a chance in the spotlight. But Austen's women don't come off well--they all have a smilar 'superhero female character from central casting' look, seeming even to wear lipstick. The muddy coloringdoesn't help either, with too many browns and ochres slathered together to scream, 'IN THE PAST.' (We shouldn't blame petrus, a capable Spanish artist who perhaps received misleading direction.) Verdict: This P&P packages Austen's classic for fanboys and newbies. Women readers and Austenites are likely to want more story, more appealing art, and more distinctive female characters."