Graphic Novel Review 195/365: Jane

Please keep up with all of my old Graphic Novel Reviews here as I quest for 365 in 365 days! Or search #GN365 on Twitter.

Hey, all!  No special theme this week, just some cool books that I’ve been waiting to tell you about!

Title: Jane 

Author(s): Aline Brosh McKenna and Ramon K. Perez

Publisher:  Archaia/Boom (2017)

Age Rating: 13+

This week wraps up with a title that I’m sure many English teachers are going to be excited to hear about: Archaia’s Jane by Aline Brosh McKenna and Ramon K. Perez.  A current-day re-imagining of Bronte’s Jane Eyre.

Considering the amount of hours I have spent with Jane Eyre (reading it; teaching it; watching adaptations of it), I was excited and interested to delve into this new telling.  And with an award-winning screenwriter penning the script and an award-winning illustrator crafting the images, this book seems set up for success, and I did enjoy the read, but I wanted more.

I think this book has a place in the telling of Jane Eyre…absolutely; I just wish it were longer.  The original tale of Jane Eyre is massive in its construction; there are turns and emotions in almost every page turn.  It reads like a five act play; however, this modern reinterpretation is much shorter and to the point, switching up or leaving out much of what made Jane Eyre…Jane Eyre; I almost wish this graphic novel was twice as long, but would that scare off newer, younger readers of the classic?  This adaptation might open readers up to the original, and even if it doesn’t, at least the reader gets a glimpse into the epic story.  And I understand that the work that goes into a graphic novel is daunting, and my request for doubling the size of the book might add a year (at least) to the production, and that means not only more time, but much more funding.

I believe the length is fine though, for the juxtaposition of this graphic novel with the original text can create some interesting conversations and comparisons.  For one, the setting.  New York City opens our characters up to many more experiences and interactions than 19th century England.  And get this, Jane and Rochester sleep together on their first night together!  Scandalous.  I know.  Especially when it happens the night before he disappears for a few months on business.  You remember the story…if not, you need to go read the original.  I don’t read many text-only books, but Jane Eyre might be my favorite classic work, which might put me too close to the original to review this book as its own entity.  Jane Eyre is cannon; it’s iconic.  The Guardian has even ranked Jane Eyre as the 12th greatest novel of all time!

Ramon K. Perez delivers some stunning art with an outstanding use of the close-ups and simple backgrounds just as his art in All New Hawkeye, which was where I fell in love with the art work of Perez.  In a way, if you have read that Hawkeye series, this book, at times, almost feels as if it’s part Hawkeye crime-thriller.  In that way, I love this book.  I guess I’m saying I wanted Clint Barton to bust through the window and save Jane with a dumb joke and grappling-hook arrow.  But I digress.  But if the Jane Eyre/Clint Barton crossover happens, I want in on that writing!  Although Kate Bishop is sort of like Jane in that…oh…never mind.  If you’ve read and loved Jane Eyre, check this one out, and if you have no experience with the original, read this graphic novel and let me know what you think.  I’m excited to hear from someone that has only read this version.

Happy reading!


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