Book Review

Pride and Prejudice:  The Graphic Novel, A Guest Review by CarrieS

C+

Title: Pride and Prejudice
Author: Nancy Butler
Publication Info: Marvel 2010
ISBN: 978-0-7851-3916-4
Genre: Graphic Novel

Pride and Prejudice Graphic Novel Cover Illustrated Elizabeth in light green dress hands clasped in front of her Check out the cover on this Pride and Prejudice graphic novel – is it not the coolest?

My cousin, who I adore, gave me this Pride and Prejudice graphic novel, and when I told SBSarah about it she requested a review.  Since my daughter also read it, at least part of it, you get two mini reviews instead of one long one.  I'll go first:

I have to say that the cover is the best thing about the graphic novel.  Otherwise, it is a fairly faithful retelling of the story that just happens to have a lot of art.  Originally the novel was printed in installments and each installment's cover is included, all in the same style and all very funny.  The non-cover art is less contemporary in style, and while it's nothing ground breaking it is rather lovely.  Mr. Darcy is strangely unattractive to my eyes but the scenes in which Jane and Lizzy interact are full of warmth.  I also got a kick out of the bit where Mr. Collins is pointing out the features of his home, and each feature he lists gets its own little panel. 

My test for an adaptation is not how faithful or innovative it is, but whether or not the adaptation teaches me anything about the source material.  The one thing I picked up from this adaptation is that Mr. Darcy really isn't around for most of the story.  He is such a powerful presence that it had never actually occurred to me that he is hardly ever actually present.  Otherwise, I'd say this was an entertaining diversion but nothing earth shaking.

I'd advice the reader to skip the introduction, which was irritating (RANT ALERT!).  The writer, Nancy Butler, encouraged Marvel to adapt P&P as a means of appealing to female readers, because, says Nancy, Treasure Island is a “boy book”.   Grrrrrrr.  My daughter and I just finished Treasure Island.  It's a book about a boy, but I doubt that makes it a “boy book”.  I don't even know what a “boy book” is.  To give more context, Nancy says, “I would always bring up something I'd noticed at the comics stores – girls stayed outside.  There didn't seem to be anything to lure them inside”.  OK, first of all, I don't believe that's even true these days.  Certainly my daughter and I read comics avidly.  We are lured in by strong female characters like Agatha Heterodyne of Girl Genius and we are lured in by interesting male characters like Tintin and ensembles like The Avengers.  The inclusion of more female authors in the Illustrated Classics line (which admittedly, is overwhelmingly dominated by male authors) would be awesome.  Telling me its necessary because I won't read a “boy book” is insulting.  Nancy has a legitimate point to make but it's couched in condescending language and that's too bad, because we really do need more female authors and artists in the comics world.

Now for my daughter's review.  She is nine, and very into comics, so of course she picked this one up and started reading it.  Here's her short review:

I didn't think it was good.  It gave me a headache.  The only part I liked was when Jane says, “Whatever could she have meant?” and Lizzy says, “We'll know soon enough.  Mama has never yet kept a secret” and Lydia says, “Oh dear, I hope she hasn't learned that the regiment is leaving Meryton” and Kitty says “I doubt it, remember she said, 'delightful news'”, and Mary says, “Why you two waste all your time with those silly officers is beyond me”.  I like that part because it's funny.  Lydia and Kitty are boy crazy!

So there you have it.  The covers are great, the art is nice, it will appeal to adults but not to nine year olds, and Lydia and Kitty are boy crazy. 

Honestly, there's not much else to say about it.  Did the world desperately require a Pride and Prejudice graphic novel?  Judging from this, I'd say no – but it was fun, the art is quite nice, and I can see this being a lovely Valentine's present for your favorite Jane Austen fan.  I certainly got a kick out of it, not counting the introduction, which you can merrily skip over.  And the covers are frame-worthy delights!


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Comments are Closed

  1. 1
    rooruu says:

    This kinda felt like a greatest hits/quotes (it is a truth universally acknowledged etc and so forth). 

    Then there are the pics, which are so much less complex than the characters in my mind as I read the original (or as I’ve seen them on screen, for that matter).

    And I always find graphic novels rather, um, aerobic in comparison to print books.  Flick flick flickety flick…

    But, you know, it wasn’t terrible.  Then again, this graphic version was a DNF for me.  Unlike the original.  Or the BBC series…

    I still added it to the school library.  Because it’s not just what I like, but what might find friends.  As it has.

  2. 2

    I picked this up for my ten year old hoping to get her into P&P and she hated it. Like DNF hated it.

  3. 3
    Maite says:

    I’ve got a vague recollection of flipping through this at some point, but it failed to engage me. All I can truly remember is that everyone’s teeth looked creepy. It was like that Friends episode were Ross whitens his teeth, and then they glow in the dark and you can’t stop staring at the shiny things?. Now and then, I find myself checking teeth in comics to see if I can ever figure out what bothered me so much, but I can’t.

    But thanks for reminding me of the covers. Those are great.

  4. 4
    Tam says:

    I didn’t really love this either… but I DO like reading reviews of graphic novels on here.  Anyone want to review Vaughan and Staples’ ‘Saga’..?  (Nb: definitely for adults only.) 

    I was loving the central romance between Alana and Marko, but now, having read the second volume, I’m loving the way that a pulpy romance novel is the central device which both brought the lovers together, and is encouraging revolutionary sedition in their universe.

  5. 5
    CarrieS says:

    @Tam:  I LOVE Saga!  Thank you for an excuse to review it!  Getting on that now!  Am doing a review of Elfquest in November – the first story arc is very romance-centric.

  6. 6
    DonnaMarie says:

    To give more context, Nancy says, “I would always bring up something I’d noticed at the comics stores – girls stayed outside.  There didn’t seem to be anything to lure them inside”.

    I always found the men in tights motivation enough.

  7. 7
    CarrieS says:

    I ranted a lot about women and comics/gaming/fandom here:

    http://geekgirlinlove.com/2013/08/07/wednesday-video-nothing-to-prove/

    There’s an awesome video that alas I did not make in that post, but also in the last paragraph there’s some recent stats about women and geek media.  Suffice to say, we’re in the comic book store now, and not because of graphic novel adaptations of classic novels.

  8. 8
    LovelloftheWolves says:

    I couldn’t even start reading it. Yes, the cover is the most lovely thing about it, but the actual comic *art* (which, btw is what comics should be judged for first, imo) was terrible! The characters were all plasticine and cheerleader looking! It was like they got a comic artist from a modern teen series and didn’t bother to match the style to the tone of Pride and Prejudice. Had it been a modern retelling it would have been okay, but, no, it was in the true period of the novel. AWFUL.

    On a tangental note, the Wizard of OZ graphic novel series had beautiful art that matched the style and tone of the original story.

  9. 9
    julia says:

    I love this romance even if i cried while i was reading. I even wrote an essay on this topic for college which i published http://writing-help.com/blog/dramatic-monologue-pride-and-prejudice-our-sample-paper/

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