Before I conquer Dr. Mütter’s Marvels, I decided to read the Marvel Illustrated version of Emma. If you’re not aware, Emma is my least favorite of Jane Austen’s novels. (Gasp! Horror!) This being said, I’m getting ready to read my first manga which also happens to be Emma, so maybe I’ll find something to enjoy in the story.
I will start that having already read Northanger Abbey, also adapted by Nancy Butler and Janet Lee in the Marvel Illustrated series, it made reading this one a bit easier. I think a large part of this is a direct response to the cover art of Northanger Abbey, it was so different from Lee’s illustrations. This one had the same illustration style for the story AND the covers. It definitely helped and didn’t set up any false expectations.
Thankfully, as I said in both previous Marvel Illustrated responses, Butler is very good at reducing the story down to a much shorter version. She took the longest (at least the longest of the versions I have) book and reduced it from 416 pages down to just over 100 with illustrations! She didn’t exactly make me fall in love with this story or it’s heroine (whom no one is supposed to like because Austen wrote her that way), but she did make me appreciate it a little more than I did before. Not to mention the tall, dark and handsome Mr. George Knightley. Swoon:
In all of the adaptations I’ve truly appreciated Butler keeping the main satire points as well as the romance and characters. In particular, I wondered if Butler would cut the comparisons of governesses to slaves. Austen was very outspoken on so many things and I was so glad Butler pulled in her sass. I can’t wait to read the final Marvel Illustrated, Sense and Sensibility, at some point in the future.
The other cool thing I noticed while reading this book was that whoever illustrated it or designed the layout changed the actual page background color for each of the sections.
It’s hard to see in the photo, but the green and red stand out really well. It made it that much easier to read as I wasn’t really sure where to stop when I wanted to go to bed. I’ll have to see if it’s the same in the last.
Recommendation: Obviously, I think everyone should experience the pleasure of reading Jane Austen at least once. If you don’t think you’d want to ever read Austen, these are great introductions. I am a bit wary of the manga version, but I’m open to trying it so keep an eye out on Wednesday for it.
Opening Line: “Emma Woodhouse, handsome, clever, and rich, had achieved nearly twenty-one years with very little to distress of vex her.”
Closing Line: “And even though Mrs. Elton later pronounced the ceremony ‘a pitiful affair and inferior to her own,’ the wishes, the hopes, and the predictions of the small band of true friends who actually witnessed it were fully answered in the perfect happiness of the union.” (Whited out to avoid spoilers, highlight to read.)