We heard from Vaneta Rogers of Newsarama, who has interviewed Nancy Butler, the adapter of Pride and Prejudice for the upcoming Marvel comic book. It’s interesting to note how the book is being sold to the comic crowd (we would think it would more or less sell itself, but there you go).
Beyond the attention given to straight adaptations recently – like the Oscar-nominated Keira Knightley movie of 2005 – Pride and Prejudice has also been noticed by the throngs of fans of the Twilight book series.
Nobody noticed it before that, of course.
Bella, the main character in Twilight, is an avid reader of Austen novels, and Twilight’s much-obsessed-over vampire Edward has been frequently compared to Pride and Prejudice’s Darcy.
No, wait: Darcy is Snarky McJerkpants; Edward is Stalky McPerfectpants. Glad we could clear that up! Though it sounds more like Darcy’s Clark McKentpants here:
“One of the reasons the story is so enduring is because Darcy represents a new type of hero,” explained Butler. “He’s this shy, kind of awkward man from nobility. He’s not out slaying dragons. But he’s rescuing Lizzie in other ways, by dealing with Wickham and correcting everything with Bingley. So this isn’t a knight in shining armor, but he is doing these very noble things. And he does it anonymously. He rescues her sister and doesn’t want anyone to know about it. He’s a different kind of hero.”
In fact, the author admitted, his status as an anonymous hero makes him ideal for comic book adaptation, since he came before other chivalrous heroes like Superman and Spider-Man.
He’s fighting for Truth, Justice, and the British Empirical Way!
“He’s an anonymous hero. That’s a great tie-in right there to comic books already. But you know, that’s a problem in the Jane Austen world. A lot of these Austen blogs – and there are a lot of them – they’re all like, ‘oh, what is this comic going to be? Darcy in a cape and tights? Or Darcy with huge muscles?'” Butler laughed. “And I’ve gone on there in a couple cases and said, no, it’s a very respectful story. No one flies or repels bullets.”
Psst. That was a joke. Humor? Jane Austen? Funny?
The Editrix whips off her spectacles and shakes out her hair, ripping off the drab muslin gown that hides her superhero outfit. She flies off into the night on her special superhero curricle (purchased used for a very good price from Henry Tilney, whose superhero alter ego is, of course, Da Man) and wields her Cluebat in the pursuit of Justice for Jane Austen. The camera tilts as she encounters a lineup of villains: authors of bad paraliterature and “fixers” of film adaptations. “Justice for Jane!” she cries, wading into the villainous horde, the Cluebat of Janeite Righteousness gleaming in the moonlight as it cuts a swath through the ignorance and mendacity of the Enemies of Jane. “Jane! Austen! Is! Funny!” cried Cluebat Girl, punctuating each word with another deadly stroke . . .
. . . Hey, that was fun. But Cluebat Girl needs sharks with some frickin’ laser beams in their heads.
“But I think I’ve captured the essence of the novel while still making it accessible. I write in a style where I start out with kind of an old-sounding vernacular. And I ease into a more modern tone,” she said. “I sent the first issue… and Ralph passed it around and got a lot of people saying how surprised they were that I could shorten these conversations and really get the essence of them and the flavor of Austen without it having to be a hundred pages long. So I was very glad to hear that. That’s what I was trying to do – capture the flavor of Austen.”
We look forward to reading it! And we’ll probably continue with the whole “humor” theme as well. Just a fair warning.