ang lee

Jane Austened

Started sketches for the Marvel adaptation of Jane Austen’s Sense and Sensibility, which will be written by Nancy Butler.  Did some of the covers for the Pride and Prejudice adaptation, but hadn’t really read any of Austen’s books before, and only had a vague awareness of all the movies made from her book…

It seemed like an intriguing challenge though; how to translate a novel into comic form, especially a story that featured no real action scenes, and where so much is just people talking in rooms….

So first thing to do was to read the book itself, followed by watching adaptations like Emma Thompson/ Ang Lee’s 1995 film and Andrew Davies’ more recent BBC production. The Thompson/Lee version was especially entertaining, but raised issues in terms of how true to the novel it was (something covered quite a bit in another book I picked up, “Jane Austen in Hollywood“). One of the thorny issues of adaptations i guess; how much to adapt to modern sensibilities, how reverential to treat the source material.

That’s mostly Nancy’s call though – the main goal on my part would be to try to make the adaptation make sense as a comic – to justify its existence, maybe, through the use of comics language. The Karasik/Mazzuchelli adapation of Paul Auster’s City of Glass might be a touchstone of sorts…

Interpretation aside, there’s the issue of character designs, which is kinda like a casting process, figuring  out how to make the characters look right, how to avoid being too influenced by movie or tv versions… particularily tricky in Sense is Edward Ferrars, who is supposed to be plain looking in the book, but is usually played by attractive actors – difficult I suppose to separate the idea of interior worth and exterior looks when it comes to any visual medium? (Or let’s face it, much of Life Everywhere)

A couple more sketches can be found on the deviantart site here.

In the meanwhile, a lot more research to do; period costumes, architecture… i wonder if the prodcution crews of the movie and tv adaptations kept any of their notes, and if they would lend me some :p