Monday, December 20, 2010

Review: Sense and Sensibility (Comic Book)

Hey everyone! I'm back and doing reviews again! Finals are finally over and I turned in everything that needed to be turned in. So, it's back to weekly reviews! I apologize for the week that I missed.

Also, for this review, I took pictures with my camera of some parts of the pages in this comic book. The pictures may look a little dark since flash whited out the area where the flash was directed. Also, since the pictures are very big, there are small thumbnails throughout the review. You may want to click on the pictures to get a better look at some of the artwork/dialogue. Now, on with the dialogue.

After getting Pride and Prejudice the comic book for Christmas one year, I was wondering if there was going to be another Jane Austen comic book, and one day I found out that Sense and Sensibility was going to be made into a comic book. I was very excited. One day after it came out, I was at Borders looking among the shelves of books and it occurred to me: would Borders have Sense and Sensbility the comic book on the shelves? So, off I went to the graphic novel section and within a minute I saw it displayed on the shelf; needless to say, I bought it that night and began reading it.

Cover Art
Taken from an earlier review I did of Sense and Sensibility (1995)
Sense and Sensibility follows the story of two sisters: sensible Elinor Dashwood and passionate Marianne Dashwood . When their father Mr. Henry Dashwood dies, his property, Norland, is passed to his son from his first marriage, John Dashwood . Before he died, Henry Dashwood made John promise to take care of his current wife and three daughters (Elinor, Marianne, and Margaret). John promises to take care of them and wants to give them some money, but he is persuaded by his wife, Fanny, not to. Meanwhile, the Dashwood women prepare to receive John and Fanny, and when they arrive, Fanny announces that her brother Edward Ferrars will be joining them. Edward arrives and him and Elinor form an attachment, which is broken off by Fanny.

This Marvel comic was written by Nancy Butler, and the illustrations were done by Sonny Liew.

The Dashwoods move into Barton
Cottage; notice Elinor's thought

The characters are well expressed. You get a real sense of Marianne's sensibility through some of her scenes (for example. when she leaves Norland, she goes on in a lament over leaving it); although, it seemed that when she was supposed to be weeping, it would only last for a few frames and then you would just get a sad look on her face.

Elinor's thoughts were well presented in the comic. In the movie, you don't get to hear what she is thinking because obviously thoughts are never spoken out loud. Thanks to the thought bubbles, you get to know what Elinor is thinking, like in the novel where there are a couple of pages worth of Elinor thinking things through. This was quite well done.

Lucy Steele and Elinor walking:
notice Elinor's bonnet.
The artwork isn't the best, but it's not the worst that I've seen. There is more of a cartoon feel to the artwork: there aren't as many colors to make images appear more 3D: shadow lines are sharper instead of gradual, so there is a big difference between lightly colored areas and darker colored areas.

What bothered me was whenever Elinor wore a bonnet, she looked practically bald! She is drawn with a far-back hairline, but it would have helped if there was more of a hint of her hair underneath the bonnet. Sometimes, there would be a slight bit of hair poking out through the side, but most of the time, it appears that she is bald. This could have been easily fixed.

The Dashwoods ask
Edward Ferrars how Mrs. Ferrars
is doing; here is an example of the
"cutesy style"

Something else was also a little unusual at certain frames of the comic book: Mrs. Jennings's double-head. I suppose it was to illustrate her personality as a busybody, but meanwhile there were a couple of frames where she has this double-head which looked a little odd. So, this double-head only appears a couple of times, but it does look a little odd.

The artwork goes back and forth between more cutesy drawings and more realistic drawings. For example, in one frame, everyone could look more cartoon with small bodies and big heads; then in the frames below that one, everyone will go back to their realistic proportions. I personally preferred the more realistic drawings to the cartoon ones, but overall, the artwork is okay.

The dialogue was not modernized: I like that. Most of the time, I don't really like it when people remake a classic work of literature, they feel that they have to modernize the language even if the language is not that hard to understand: sometimes it doesn't bother me if it is done well enough and doesn't take away the meaning of what was being said, but a lot of the time there is something lost in modernization. In Sense and Sensibility the comic book, I didn't find that problem. The language seemed close to what Austen had wrote for her characters. Of course, there would have to be parts of the dialogue paraphrased, but I think the dialogue was well done.

Warning: Spoilers Below
Marianne taking a walk
in damp grass: a scene
left out of recent adaptations.
I would have to say that this comic book is very close to the book. As much as I liked the 1995 movie of Sense and Sensibility with Emma Thompson, there were a couple of things that were left out: characters like Lady Middleton, the Middleton children, Anne Steele, and Mrs. Ferrars were entirely left out of the movie, along with scenes such as the dinner party with Mrs. Ferrars and Willoughby's confession scene. In this comic, those characters and scenes have been included.

Also, the movie (and from what I've heard, the 2008 miniseries), also added a scene of Marianne walking in the rain in her distress over Willoughby, which was not in the book. In the comic, you get a closer picture of what happened in the book: Marianne was walking in wet grass and caught a chill that lead to her fever. This comic does a good job staying faithful to the original story.

Overall: 5/5
I would highly recommend this comic. Of course, you should read the original novel, but this comic does the novel justice. It stays pretty close to the original work. You also get certain aspects of the novel in this comic that you might not get in recent adaptations.

Sense and Sensibility is available in the stores (I got mine at Borders) or online. It is 128 pages long. The rating on it is A (which, I believe, means "All Ages").

Here are some extra pictures.

Elinor invites Edward Ferrars to come visit them.

Mrs. Jennings, Lady Middleton, and the Dashwood girls
sitting in the parlor.
Colonel Brandon asks Elinor about Marianne

Marianne comes to her realization.
Lucy Steele tells Elinor a secret.
Colonel Brandon visits in London; notice
Mrs. Jenning's double-head.


  1. Thanks for this review. I don't know if I could handle the changes in drawing style throughout the book. I agree with you, it would be nice if Elinor didn't look bald in her bonnet, and Mrs. Jennings double-head thing is pretty weird! :}
    Have you seen the 2008 miniseries yet? Like any other adaptation, it takes some liberties, but it is a lot closer to the book than the Emma Thompson version (which I still love). Lady Middleton, her children, Edward and Fanny's mother, and Lucy Steele's sister are all in it (yay!), it includes Edward's visit to the cottage, and they include Willoughby's confession scene (although the way they interpreted it made you have zero sympathy for him, whereas in the book you almost feel sorry for him at first because of his genuine concern for Marianne). There is a pretty racy scene at the beginning that I fast-forward, but other than that I would highly recommend it. The screenplay is by Andrew Davies, who did Pride and Prejudice with Jennifer Ehle and Northanger Abbey with Felicity Jones. I'd be interested to hear what you think of it if you decide to watch it. :)

  2. beast'sbelle,
    Thank you for your comment :-). I will say with the changes in drawing style, it only happened a couple of times and only lasted for a couple of frames. It wasn't too bad, but it was something that I noticed.
    I haven't seen the entire 2008 miniseries except for a couple of clips on YouTube. It didn't seem too bad, although I did hear about that scene in the beginning (which I wasn't too thrilled about).
    I remember when I read the confession scene in the book, I personally didn't have sympathy for Willoughby; I know that you're supposed to feel a little sorry for him, but I just didn't. *shrugs shoulders*
    Andrew Davies's Pride and Prejudice I've seen and loved. Northanger Abbey I also saw; I liked it though I did notice a couple of difference from the novel.

  3. I've read the P&P comic book, but not the S&S one. I'll have to see if I can find a copy somewhere! I enjoyed the review.

  4. Just wanted to sympathy for Willoughby in the book was fleeting! :) I was just a little frustrated with that scene in the movie. In the book Willoughby came to see Marianne because he was genuinely concerned for her health and thought she was dying. In the movie, he basically just came to defend himself and try to get Elinor to pity him. In the book, it just gives you this extra look at his character. "Okay, he's still a total jerk who's made horrible choices, but he does have at least a little humanity." I think that the Emma Thompson version does a good job of portraying that at the end, when Willoughby is somberly watching Marianne's wedding from a distance.

    Okay, sorry, I'm babbling. Just wanted to clarify that point, lest you think I was cheering for Willoughby. :)

    Oh, and if I come across a Sense and Sensibility comic book, I might just have to try it, bald Elinor and all. :)

  5. beast'sbell,
    Oh no, I didn't think that :-). Yeah, that scene adds a little more to his character and I would have liked to have seen it in the Emma Thompsons version, though that last little scene where Willoughby was watching Marianne's wedding from the distance was a good touch.

    I would highly recommend the comic, though. It seemed to stay very close to the book.

  6. Charity U,
    Thank you! I know I found my copy at Borders, but maybe Barnes and Noble might also have it. If not, I think Amazon has it for a good price.


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