Thursday, December 30, 2010

"Jane Bites Back" by Michael Thomas Ford & "Pride & Prejudice" by Marvel Comics

When waved the white flag on challenges a couple of weeks ago, I had completely lost track of the fact that the Everything Austen Challenge also ended on December 31.  I may be willing to give up on some challenges but not on this one!  So I've immersed myself this week in racing to complete five more things for the challenge, having already read and reviewed "Northanger Abbey." 

Jane Bites Back by Michael Thomas Ford
Published December 2009 by Random House Publishing Group
Source: I won this book as part of the prize pack for last years' "Everything Austen Challenge"

What if Jane Austen really was dead?  Or, more precisely, what if she were undead?  In Jane Bites Back, 41-year-old Jane Austen traveled for a tryst with Lord Byron only to have him seduce her...and the turn her into a vampire.  She returned home only to fake her own illness and death.  Over 200 years later, she's living in a small town, operating a bookstore, fending off a possible suitor and just about to give up on having her last manuscript published.  Things are complicated enough but they get even more complicated when a publisher buys her book, Lord Byron returns to try to woo her away (and by "woo" I mean threaten to harm those she cares about if she doesn't come with him), and a particularly vocal Charlotte Bronte fan, who is also a well-known blogger, starts causing trouble. 

This book did pose some interesting ideas as Jane contemplated her modern day life as opposed to her known life and what it might be like to actually outlive everyone and everything you ever knew.  But seriously, this book is almost three hundred pages long and in the end almost nothing is tied up.  Byron seems to have become a changed vampire, Jane has decided to take a chance on love but there is still the matter of another vampire, Jane still hasn't told her lover the truth about herself and Byron is prepping to train her more secrets of the vampire world.  Ford appears to have written this book solely to set himself up with the means to write a sequel.

Pride & Prejudice (set of 5 comic books)
Published April 2009 by Marvel Comics
Source: more loot from the Everything Austen prize pack

Exactly what it says it is--the graphic version of my all-time favorite book.  Kudos to Marvel comics for a job well done chopping the book down to the amount of dialogue and narrative that can be squeezed into this format without losing the essence of the book.  This book took me right back to the comic versions of other classic books I read growing up and I have to admit that enjoyed them.  Except for the faces.  Really, I often found them to be more than a little creepy, hard to distinguish the different young female characters and the faces were a bit too modern. Oh, and the ads for other comics and video games were distracting and seemed entirely out of place.  If I'm reading any kind of a version of Pride & Prejudice, am I really likely to be the kind of person who will be interested in picking up the game "Red Faction: Guerilla," rated M for mature audiences?

Sex and the Austen Girl
An internet series written by Laura Viera Rigler (Rude Awakenings of a Jane Austen Addict and Confessions of a Jane Austen Addict) seen on Babelgum.com

It has been my intention since I first heard of this series to keep up with it as the new episodes came out.  And then I completely forgot about it.  So I watched all 23 (as of now) episodes in one evening.  Which means that I watched the beginning 23 times.  Boy, was I sick of that by the end.  The series consists of two characters, "Jane Mansfield" and "Courtney Stone" having a conversation about different aspects of life.  "Jane" has been dropped from Regency England into modern day Los Angeles and "Courtney" has been dropped from L.A. into Jane Austen's England.  These ladies find a lot they agree on (indoor plumbing is vastly superior to chamber pots) and some things they don't (Jane is appalled that women shave and wax off all of their body hair).  Twenty-three episodes in a row got to be a little much.  But taken individually, these are a lot of fun and make you think about the things we take for granted and things that might be better done the good old-fashioned way.

5 comments:

  1. This bunch seems like it was a lot of fun to read and review! I like the idea of the web series, but am not sure if I would like the comic book. I know that this year I am going to be reading a lot more Austen and Austen spin-offs!! Wish me luck with those spin-offs!

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  2. I wasn't a big fan of Jane Bites Back. Too many things I just didn't agree with on Jane Austen nor Charlotte Bronte. Just couldn't get into it. Congrats on the challenge!

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  3. I own all of the P&P comic books too...I wished they wouldn't have put those ads in there too but unfortunately it's a comic. I am passing on the first book for sure..just not my cup of tea!

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  4. This sounds so cute! I am going to check it out.

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  5. I agree that Jane Bites Back was set up for a sequel, but I still really enjoyed it. I found it humorous, especially Jane's thoughts on the popularity of her books today.

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