Saturday, April 4, 2009

The Austen Reader / Pride and Prejudice #1

Who is the audience for this . . . ?

The cover, modelled on fashion magazines like Cosmo, makes it female-friendly, with the promise of romance, bling, and summer dresses. And Nancy Butler, the scripter of this Austen adaptation, says it's specifically marketed to female readers. Yet inside the covers, the women are drawn and colored in a way that calls into question the female-friendliness. Rather than emulate the look of Austen's characters as found in popular BBC and film adaptations, the (male) artist and colorist create women who resemble porn 'actors,'

with spray-on tans, drowsy bedroom eyes, full lips covered in lip gloss, frosted hair, and 2000's style haircuts (with Mary's retro shag). Note at the center of the panel Lydia's open mouth, the position of her hands directly below, and the way her eyes (and no one else's) look directly at the reader. This oral sex fantasy makes the real audience clear: heterosexual men.

These visual traits are the hallmark of women and super-heroines produced for male readers by mainstream comics companies. And if it is intended for women, the ads are an equally odd choice. Here's a two-page spread that moves from Austen's Regency England to The Marvel Universe in one blood-splattered gesture:

The best panel to panel transition in the comic.

9 comments:

Anonymous said...

Jane Austen goes to Hooters!

Isaac said...

Hilarious.

Anonymous said...

ugh goood call. the cover is so much more appealing.

Jeff said...

I am a heterosexual male who enjoys comics and Pride & Prejudice, and this does nothing but disgust and infuriate me.

laBiscuitnapper said...

I hate the way they do this - the cover looks amazing and then the art inside is bog-standard superhero/pornie comic.

laila said...

Okay, madly late on this, but is nobody else skeeved out by the fact that in the original novel Lydia Bennet is fifteen years old? Yeah, tousle-haired, bedroom-eyed, droopy-lipped pornface is a totally appropriate look to give a fifteen year old girl, Marvel. Good work, guys!

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