Tuesday, December 06, 2011

Sense & Sensibility (Marvel Illustrated)

As part of the Sense & Sensibility Bicentenary Challenge
I set for one of my tasks to read the Marvel Illustrated version of Jane Austen's Sense & Sensibility.

Having read the original earlier in the year, as well as treating myself to rewatching of two of the three adaptations, the story was very fresh in my mind, which means that I was painfully aware when the adapters, Nancy Butler and Sonny Liew, deviated from the original or inserted their interpretation of what I saw as Austen ambiguities in the story.

Overall, I enjoyed the graphic version. The drawings were fun and fresh. Unlike the Northanger Abbey graphic version that I so enjoyed in Gothic Classics: Graphic Classics Volume 14, I didn't think this rendition was superior to other adaptations (video or otherwise). Where it fell down was when the adaptors added their own language, which I found rather wooden.

Again, I think Marianne was a bit over-simplified as a highly emotional self-centered twit instead of a self-absorbed, committed artist, but that's a bias that runs deep on my part. I was also amused that Margaret and Edward once again play-act at piracy; Emma Thompson's fleshing out of Margaret has apparently become part of the canon. They also fiddled with Mrs. Dashwood's perception of Edward's and Elinor's attachment whilst at Norwood, and mucked with the timing and motivation around her staying at and then quitting Norland. They also didn't portray Willoughby rejecting Marianne in London properly--why change a perfectly good scene like that?

Lucy was depicted perfectly, however, and Colonel Brandon definitely had a David Morrissey look about him. And, they allowed Elinor to feel sorry for Willoughby after he visits her at Cleveland while Marianne is ill. I know that many readers cannot forgive Willoughby for his selfish actions in the story, but Elinor does feel sorry for him and I'm glad they didn't cut that part out as others have.

Despite my nit-picking it was as good an adaptation as the two latest film/video versions, and better than the old BBC version. I liked it enough to offer it up for a giveaway on Austen's birthday, December 16...so stay tuned if you would like to win a slightly used copy!


  1. The Ang Lee movie really does seem to have become part of the canon, doesn't it? But it is an excellent adaptation.

    But despite giving this illustrated version your approval Jane, I'm not completely convinced. Think I'll stick with the original.

  2. Sense and Sensibility as a comic- I had no idea.

    Thanks for the review posting!

  3. I thought the illustrations for the P&P graphic novel had too much of a modern edge... this one looks much better.

  4. A very nice review. I have to say, the artwork on this project was the best I've seen in the Marvel adaptations of Austen. The use of miniaturized figures really added the kind of witty tone in a uniquely visual, graphic novel fashion. It was kind of fun to comment on the artist's website as he was sketching out characters during the series' release :-)