Wouldn't you know the first book I finish reading this year would not be on my list? And would be a comic book? Of a book I already know well???
Yeah, it's wrong.
However, that doesn't change how much I enjoyed Pride & Prejudice : Marvel Illustrated Edition.
Ok, yes, it's a graphic novel version of the original novel, but that's ok. It works. It's a wonderful way to achieve two things -- bringing classic literature to an audience who might otherwise think it is stuffy and boring, and opening up the wonders of comics to a female audience. After all, illustrated stories were not always the province of adolescent males, and more than superheroes work well in the medium.
Yes, the story is very, VERY abridged. Whole characters are deleted, scenes are reduced or eliminated, dialog is re attributed, and much of the social commentary is absent. That's only to be expected -- this book has only 120 pages, and they are covered with artwork. However, every word the characters speak is directly taken from Austen's writing. The main plot is there in full, and it's just as arresting and involving as ever.
Then we have the artwork. I'm not familiar with Hugo Petrus, although I have some idea I've seen his work (or work similar) before. It is graceful and lovely, perfectly suited for the story. Personal prejudice -- the color palate was far too orange/brown/sepia for my taste, but that's me and really it has nothing to do with the quality of the color art. What was even more fun were the covers from the individual issues. Done like covers for current womens' magazines and included at the end of the book, they cracked me up.
I was very pleased with the book and I loved the ideas that went into creating it (read the introduction). I'm very aware of the reasons I rarely enjoyed comics and why I only really appreciate specific ones today (yes, impossible boob/waist/hip ratios for females are part of it). It might be as close to Jane Austen as many people get. For others, it will be temptation to look into other classic books. Here's hoping they do some Dickens' stories (which might be the only way I ever finish Bleak House).