JANE (9 out of 10) Written by Aline Brosh McKenna; Art by Ramón Pérez; Cover by Ramón Pérez; Published by Archaia
If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a thousand times: I am a sucker for adaptations. I’m my own worst enemy in that I will watch a movie too soon after reading the book it’s based on. I intentionally make sure to catch up on source material knowledge before I get into anything I know is an adaptation. I thrive on spoilers.
So when I heard about Jane, a comic adaptation of Jane Eyre (a novel classic by Charlotte Brontë) I immediately got my hands on a copy. The other selling point? It’s written by Aline Brosh McKenna, most notably remembered for adapting The Devil Wears Prada for the big screen and is a co-creator of the CW show Crazy Ex-Girlfriend (a wildly relevant and humorous show, but that’s a different article).
In Jane Eyre, if you slept on this one in high school, we follow the life of Jane Eyre—an orphan turned governess in the late 19th century. It’s long and dramatic, filled with romantic plots and depressing ventures.
Jane, the comic adaptation, remains true to elements of the novel while bringing it into the 21st century. Jane, still an orphan, is an artist who makes her way to New York on an art scholarship. We skip the depressing orphan years and jump into the meat of the story: her schooling, her fabulous roommate (who we, unfortunately, see too briefly), and the spectacle of this new city. She procures a job as a nanny and, in turn, a romantic relationship between her and the father develops. It’s abusive and fantastical, much like the literature of the 19th century. While the idea of the story is grounded in realism and events happening to Jane that are relatable for a reader, if this series of events unfold in real life you'd wonder if you were living in sexless 50 Shades of Gray. But that is ok, this is a work of fiction based on another work of fiction. We as readers are allowed to escape into stories of romance and dreams, not every story must be created relatably.
Do I recommend this over the original? Not at all. I'm a purist and demand everyone read the original of anything before absorbing the adaptation. But, if you're a lover of classic lit and graphic novels, Jane is a fun combination of the two.