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Posts Tagged ‘nancy butler’

S&S graphic novel

Source: Public library
Rating: ★★★★☆

The Marvel Illustrated version of Jane Austen’s Sense & Sensibility collects the five comic book series by Nancy Butler and Sonny Liew (illustrator) in a single volume.  This graphic novel is a retelling of the classic novel, with the basic plot points condensed into dialogue and accompanied by a blend of serious and humorous illustrations to emphasize the different sides of the various characters.

I think this is my favorite of the Austen graphic novel adaptations so far (read my reviews of Emma and Pride & Prejudice).  Butler simplifies the text for the graphic novel format, and at the same time, enables readers to really get to know the characters.  From Elinor’s reserve to Marianne’s overwhelming emotion, from Fanny Dashwood’s arrogance and greed to Mrs. Jennings’ tendency to gossip, from Edward Ferrars’ morals to Colonel Brandon’s quiet suffering to Willoughby’s impropriety, Butler does a great job displaying the essential truths of Austen’s characters, and coupled with Liew’s detailed drawings and charming, almost doll-like portrayals, they are brought to life.

However, there were times that the artwork bothered me.  In some scenes, Elinor’s head is elongated and looks ridiculous, and Liew occasionally incorporates chibi figures, which add some humor but also make the illustrations inconsistent.  Butler also acknowledges in the author’s note at the beginning that she created some of the speeches in her adaptation because there was more narration than dialogue in Austen’s novel.  But neither the artwork or added dialogue detracted from my enjoyment of the book.  I expected Butler to make such changes given the graphic novel format, and there were times that I was so involved in the story that I realized I was paying little attention to the illustrations!

Sense and Sensibility was the first Jane Austen novel I read (back when I was in high school), and Butler’s adaptation reminds me that it’s time for a re-read.  I really enjoyed it, but it made me long for Austen’s writing, particularly her rich observations of human behavior and social interaction.  Overall, I think these graphic novels are a fun and fresh way for readers (especially young ones) to acquaint themselves with Jane Austen and learn that the classics can be very entertaining.

Disclosure: I borrowed Jane Austen’s Sense & Sensibility (Marvel Illustrated) from the public library.

© 2013 Anna Horner of Diary of an Eccentric. All Rights Reserved. Please do not reproduce or republish content without permission.

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P&P graphic novel

Source: Public library
Rating: ★★★☆☆

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.

Book 2 for the P&P Bicentenary Challenge

Book 2 for the P&P Bicentenary Challenge

Disclosure: I borrowed Jane Austen’s Pride & Prejudice (Marvel Illustrated) from the public library.

© 2013 Anna Horner of Diary of an Eccentric. All Rights Reserved. Please do not reproduce or republish content without permission.

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emma

Source: Personal library
Rating: ★★★★☆

The Marvel Illustrated version of Jane Austen’s Emma collects the five comic book series by Nancy Butler and Janet Lee (illustrator) in a single hardcover volume.  The graphic novel retells the classic novel in bright colors, which is what I would expect when depicting the lively Emma Woodhouse, from the start of her matchmaking exploits until the moment when she understands her own heart and realizes she’s made a mess of things.

Butler does a decent job condensing the novel into dialogue.  She covers the main plot points, but the depth of the original novel is missing.  Of course, that’s to be expected given the graphic novel format.  However, I thought it was a unique and enjoyable retelling.  I love the humor and the ridiculousness in Emma, so I found Lee’s caricatures amusing and thought the facial expressions were spot on.  I especially loved the emotions she showed on Mr. Knightley’s face, the disapproving and the anguished looks, letting readers infer what’s on his mind.

This graphic novel would make a great addition to an Austenesque fan’s collection, especially if they love Emma as much as I do.  It was fun to dip into my favorite novel for a couple of hours, giving me just enough of a taste to keep me satisfied until I re-read the original.  It would also make a great introduction to the classic novel for younger readers.

Disclosure: Jane Austen’s Emma (Marvel Illustrated) is from my personal library.

© 2013 Anna Horner of Diary of an Eccentric. All Rights Reserved. Please do not reproduce or republish content without permission.

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Source: Book Expo America 2010
Rating: ★★★★☆

Nancy Butler, author of the graphic novel version of Pride and Prejudice, has turned another Jane Austen classic into a series of comic books.  I was lucky to meet Butler at Book Expo America in May and snag a signed copy of the first issue of the Sense & Sensibility comic series by Marvel.  I haven’t read a comic book since I was a kid, but I was willing to give it a try since I can’t get enough of all things Jane Austen.

I read this issue in about 20 minutes in Penn Station, waiting for the train from NYC to Connecticut.  It was a wonderful way to pass the time in a noisy space.  If you’re familiar with Austen’s Sense & Sensibility, then there are no surprises in Butler’s version — and that’s a good thing when you’re looking for a mindless but entertaining read.

Issue 1 begins with the death of Henry Dashwood and his son’s promise to take care of his stepmother and his three half sisters, Elinor, Marianne, and Margaret.  John’s wife, Fanny, however, wants the entire estate to be theirs and convinces John that he need not provide the monetary support he’d planned on.  While the fate of the four Dashwood women is being sorted out, Elinor becomes acquainted with Fanny’s brother, Edward Ferrars, and grows quite fond of him.  Butler does a good job paraphrasing Austen’s words to show the differences between Elinor and Marianne when it comes to matters of the heart.  Issue 1 draws to a close as the Dashwood sisters and their mother embark upon a new life in a new home.

I really enjoyed Sense & Sensibility in comic form.  Of course, the comic cannot convey everything Austen hoped to through her writing, but Butler captures the essence of the story.  Sonny Liew’s illustrations strike the perfect balance between light and dark, emphasizing the contrast between Elinor’s happiness with Edward and the gloominess of the Dashwoods’ dire financial situation.  The characters look like you’d imagine them to, and their emotions can be plainly seen on their faces.

At BEA, Butler told me that all of the issues in the series will be compiled into a single bound volume to be released later this year — which is perfect for someone like me who doesn’t like to be left hanging and doesn’t plan to track down the remaining issues in the series.  You can bet I’ll be checking out the graphic novel when it is published.

Disclosure: I received Sense & Sensibility (Marvel #1) from Book Expo America 2010.

© 2010 Anna Horner of Diary of an Eccentric. All Rights Reserved. Please do not reproduce or republish content without permission.

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