Wednesday, June 9, 2010


By Chris Wilson

Original Author: Jane Austen
Zombie Adaptation: Seth Grahame-Smith
Comic Adaptation: Tony Lee
Illustrator: Cliff Richards
Publisher: Del Rey
Genre: Traditional novel in comic format

Format: Softcover
Pages: 176
Color: Black and white
ISBN-13: 978-0-345-52068


I read some Jane Austen in college. The subtext and intricacies of the dialogue were lost on me and I spent most of my time trying to figure out what it was that was really going on and what was really being said. No one ever says what they really mean in Austen's novels.

Zombies, however, make for a much more interesting experience. When the graphic novel was solicited, I bought it. It was time to try Austen again and I'm glad I did. This go around I was able to visualize the characters and study their faces. Finally, I was able to understand Austen in an authentic experience and I found her much more interesting. I cannot really determine if my enjoyment of Austen this time was due to my life experience or the graphic novel format. I’ll take it either way.

I found the scene involving the lead musket balls most stimulating. I got it and I snorted out loud. And the scene when Young Miss Bennet –– warrior and protector –– discovered some affection for Mr. Darcy: "I have never seen him so desirous to please as now, when no importance could result from the success of his endeavors. I am almost ashamed of ever wishing to drink the blood from his severed head!" Now that is funny dialogue.

I'm sorry to say that it took the addition of zombies for me to show any interest in Jane Austen again, and it took a graphic novel for me to read it. With that said, I am stirred to purchase a copy of P&P&Z the plain old novel and give it a try. That’s good news. Comics can work to make one want to read the original, or in this case, an enriched adaptation.

It may take trolls or witches, goblins or vampires in order for me to read any other Austen works, and I dutifully apologize to my literature friends who find that offensive, but it made me pick her up again and that is a good thing.

I may rave on the story, but the art of this adaptation is grossly inadequate at best. A Jane Austen title deserves art that is precise, where the myriad of period characters are easily discernible and the lines clean. This looks unfinished, raw, sloppy, and out of place with the author and her style.

Chris’ Rating: High school and older

The Bennet girls having been trained in the Chinese killing arts, beheading zombies as easily as they attend a ball. The language is most appropriate and upstanding. The subtext of the novel is what it is.


Dare I suggest that a teacher use an undead-enhanced adaptation (novel or comic) to entice students to engage classic works? I don't want to start an argument –– and any such suggestion of bastardizing a classic would surely garner me hate mail –– I will simply hint at the fact that it opened new understanding for me.


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