The Marvel Illustrated version of Jane Austen’s Pride & Prejudice collects the five comic book series by Nancy Butler and Hugo Petrus (illustrator) in a single hardcover volume. This graphic novel is a retelling of the classic novel, with the basic plot points condensed into dialogue and accompanied by sassy illustrations in warm colors to bring the characters to life.
Butler’s adaptations of Austen’s novels (read my review of the graphic novel version of Emma) make the classics accessible to younger readers. Of course, the richness of Austen’s Pride and Prejudice is sacrificed for brevity and the brilliance of Austen’s characterizations is missing, so readers who are new to Austen and enjoy this version will definitely want to seek out the original right away. It also seems to be based on the movie version with Keira Knightley and Matthew Macfadyen, which I think I only noticed because I watched it the day before reading this book.
For the most part, I enjoyed Petrus’ illustrations. He does a wonderful job showcasing Elizabeth Bennet’s personality through her facial expressions and capturing Mr. Darcy’s arrogance and, later on, the softening of his personality. However, the Bennet sisters often resemble comic book vixens, which I must admit was humorous even if it wasn’t what I’d expected.
For someone who has read Pride and Prejudice numerous times, I thought this graphic novel was a fresh and exciting way to enjoy one of my favorite books all over again. It could never replace the original, but it’s obviously not trying to. It would especially be perfect for younger readers who think classic novels aren’t interesting or fun, and it certainly is a creative way to bring Austen to the masses.
Disclosure: I borrowed Jane Austen’s Pride & Prejudice (Marvel Illustrated) from the public library.
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