Pride and Prejudice and Zombies: The Graphic Novel by Jane Austen, Seth Grahame-Smith and Tony Lee
|Pride and Prejudice and Zombies: The Graphic Novel by Jane Austen, Seth Grahame-Smith and Tony Lee|
|Category: Graphic Novels|
|Reviewer: John Lloyd|
|Summary: A great mix of dancing and killing gets turned into a verbose graphic novel that really needed a better approach.|
|Buy? Maybe||Borrow? Maybe|
|Pages: 176||Date: April 2010|
|Publisher: Titan Books Ltd|
It is a truth universally acknowledged that a zombie story of any renown will not remain simply a zombie story. Before you can say the risen undead it will become a series of books, inspiring others, and/or lead to the same story being published in many different guises. Here, then, on its way to Hollywood, is Jane Austen’s story of Lizzie Bennet, the feisty young woman trying to ignore Mr Darcy while fighting off the manky unmentionables – at least she is until the hidden truths open up to her, just as the soft soils of Hertfordshire do to yield their once-human remains. And this time it’s in graphic novel form.
Pride and Prejudice and Zombies by Jane Austen and Seth Grahame-Smith was a great fun invention, and it’s no surprise this has followed, alongside Sense and Sensibility and Sea-Monsters, the new Jane Slayre, and as I say a movie version is on its way. Still it wasn’t perfect, but that brings to mind the old line about dogs walking on their hind legs. You don’t expect a mash-up of Regency ball-going and fickle romances struggling to survive through pride and more, with a strange plague bringing the lifeless back to living form, so why should you expect it to be done perfectly well?
It was a worthwhile read, however, and great fun to see what could be done with such a sacred script as Austen’s. It was notable how much of the text was the original, and how easy it was to thrust thrusting young fighters into things, and spread blood and gore all over proceedings. Call me biased, though, but I think it suffered a little by sticking too closely, and verbosely, to Austen.
And this is where this version suffers. If you imagine how little zombie fiction readers would appreciate wading through P&P, you can imagine how many graphic novel fans would baulk at the same. But here they’re forced to. This is one of the wordiest graphic novels out there, and with so much of the archaisms of the original intact, people are going to get turned off easily.
Not only that, but all the confusions are intact. The copious Bennet sisters look too similar, the houses and balls just run into each other, and I for one certainly struggled, even though I knew the first version. Tony Lee here is far too reverential of the original, which might have had too much of its original.
I did only notice one page that did not mention the unmentionables, or Lizzie’s bloodthirstiness, or their training in Japan, but for those seeking a kinetic, action-packed drama, whether arch or matter-of-fact about the zombies, will seek it in vain. There are scenes of those lovely frocks getting stained by brains, but they will not come with any of the regularity comics fans might wish for.
The other major problem with this book is the artwork. I cannot fathom why it is in black and white. The penmanship is good, and once you can pick Lizzie out from the crowd she stays picked out, courtesy of some attractive shading, and framing, but longer shots are almost remaining in draft form, and so are not what I would have expected. I guess they sought a happy medium between classic art and something scratchier, greyer and more erratic as per the zombies, but I don’t think they succeeded.
I took one look at this and wanted to put another silly vintage line here, about it not being black and white, but that it should be black and white and read all over. But I don’t think the mix of old and lifeless is at all right here, and I can’t see it being nearly as popular as it might have been.
I must thank the publishers for sending me a review copy.
Tony Lee is responsible for one of the best graphic novels of recent times, with Outlaw, about Robin Hood. For horror in comics form we still recommend the brilliant Angel Fire by Chris Blythe and Steven Parkhouse.
You can read more book reviews or buy Pride and Prejudice and Zombies: The Graphic Novel by Jane Austen, Seth Grahame-Smith and Tony Lee at Amazon.co.uk
You can read more book reviews or buy Pride and Prejudice and Zombies: The Graphic Novel by Jane Austen, Seth Grahame-Smith and Tony Lee at Amazon.com.
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