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Pride and Prejudice and Zombies: The Graphic Novel

Posted by Adam Krause on May 4, 2010 at 1:06 PM

With pop culture’s insatiable love for seeing the flesh eating undead on the big screen, it was really only a matter of time before zombies invaded classic literature as well.  When I first came across Seth Grahame-Smith’s “rendition” of Jane Austen’s beloved romance novel Pride and Prejudice, I immediately purchased the book onsite. And I’m not a big reader of books and certainly not a big collector.


The title was simple and yet to the point. Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. Freaking genius! It was the first time I experienced the whole “couldn’t put it down” syndrome while reading a book and I literally finished it in one day.


Released in the spring of last year, Pride and Prejudice and Zombies didn’t take long to find itself on the New York Times Best Sellers List. Published by Quirk Books, the novel has gone on to inspire a new niche in the world of literature. Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters and Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter (Seth Grahame-Smith’s follow up) are just two of the countless titles that have used the same formula.


With a Hollywood film on the way starring Natalie Portman as well as the recently released prequel novel Dawn of the Dreadfuls picking up steam, it’s safe to say that Pride and Prejudice and Zombies is a certified hit among American literature.


And now, to expand the audience base of Pride and Prejudice and Zombies even more, Quirk Books has teamed up with Del Rey Publishing to refashion Seth Grahame-Smith’s story into a graphic novel, a format I feel is much more suited to the novel’s violent and campy attributes.


The graphic novel is adapted by writer Tony Lee and stays very faithful to Grahame-Smith’s novel, using much of the dialogue verbatim. Like Jane Austen’s story, we follow Elizabeth Bennet and her family as she deals with issues of love and social standings in her aristocratic surroundings.

The only difference is that England has been ravaged by a plague of zombies, or “unmentionables” as they are referred to in the story. Oh yeah, and Elizabeth’s father has trained her by the way of the ninja to be a deadly, ass-kicking zombie killer. Pretty cool, hey?


Just like the book, the graphic novel of Pride and Prejudice and Zombies is a thoroughly enjoyable read and is sure to entertain anyone who is enthralled by the title and subject matter.


My only gripe with it is that the illustrations are at times scribbled and come off as uninspired. Drawn by Cliff Richards, they are presented in black and white in a style that at times gives the impression of unfinished storyboards. I’m sure the decision to present the graphic novel this way was an attempt to relate the material more to its time period and setting.

But I feel the creators missed a great opportunity to breath stunning, visualized life into this story by not illustrating it with color and more detail. I thought the handful of illustrations that appeared randomly throughout the original Pride and Prejudice and Zombies book from artist Philip Smiley had more bite than those of the graphic novel.


Believe it or not, I have now actually read both the book and the graphic novel of Pride and Prejudice and Zombies as well as Jane Austen’s original Pride and Prejudice (Women’s Literature class in college; thought it would get me some action... it didn't) and I can safely say that incorporating "dreadful" flesh eaters is the best thing that could have ever happened to this story and these characters.  I’m sure if Ms. Austen were alive today, she’d be ninja-kicking herself for not thinking of it first.


Pride and Prejudice and Zombies: The Graphic Novel hits book shelves and comic book stores on May 4.

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