Author: Jane Austen
Adaptation: Nancy Butler and Janet Lee
I’ll be the first to admit that i’m normally not a huge graphic novels fan mostly because they weren’t all that popular when I was growing up. I mean, you could easily get your hands on things like Marvel comics, things like the avengers, but things like a graphic novel interpretation of a classic novel, not so much. So when I was browsing for possible Emma adaptations and came across this, I realized that I needed to try it. It was the first classic that I had read in this form, although I have seen other ones, and I might potentially check them out in the future.
I will say one of the weakest forms of telling classics in this format, is that the descriptions of the settings, something which Ms Austen was well-known for, don’t always translate well. In that, a vivid scene that she describes, has to be translated into simple pictures. And the story itself has to be reduced to simple panels of conversation. So something just feels a bit, lost in translation, for lack of a better word.
But I did enjoy seeing the illustators (Janet Lee’s) interpretation of how she thought Jane Austen’s world looked like based on the words on the original page. There is that saying, a picture if worth a thousand words and for the most part, I enjoyed the illustrations at the beginning, but towards the end, I kind of felt that some of the illustrations felt a bit forced. The smiles just seemed a bit over-done, and there wasn’t necessarily under-stated elegance that I expect in Jane Austen’s work.
That being said, I do feel that these graphic novels would be a good/different way to get kids interested in reading the classics. Maybe if they had been around when I was younger, I might have read Jane Austen earlier than in my late-20’s (yes, I was a late bloomer).