Monday, October 1, 2012

A path to the classics

Much of my earliest reading was comic books and at some point I discovered Classics Illustrated. That series introduced me to books I would not read as books until I was much older — and provided me with a knowledge of characters and plots in books I have never read, thus expanding my cultural literacy [although perhaps not my appreciation of literature]. It pleases me to discover that the series has been revived, with new art, and now with a hardback option as well, by the graphic novel publisher Papercutz. A review of a book in the current series provides some background:
When they first appeared on newsstands in the early 1940s, Classics Illustrated stood alone among comic books. At the time, everything else published in the new “four color magazines” was horror, crime, superheroes, and funny animals.

The series was the dream of Albert Kanter who, in 1941, saw how incredibly fast comic books were growing. He wanted to add something of substance to this new publishing sensation. It was his idea that the rapidly expanding readership in the field of comic books could be used to introduce younger readers to the great works of literature. ....

...[A]fter reading Classics Illustrated comics, kids, soldiers, and autodidacts were often inspired to find the original novels and dig into “real literature.”

Reading Classics Illustrated helped my father find Jack London and classical myths and also introduced me to Sherlock Holmes. ....

Today, the original idea behind Kanter’s very successful publishing breakthrough is being kept wonderfully alive by Papercutz Publishing. Their two concurrent series of Classics Illustrated are once again inspiring both young and the old to find their way to the classics. .... [more]
Most of the rest centers on a favorable review of one of the new series, two of Dickens' Christmas stories: A Christmas Carol and the Remembrance of Mugby. Amazon offers many more of the Papercutz Classics Illustrated titles, including Treasure Island, The Count of Monte Cristo, The Three Musketeers, H.G. Wells' The Invisible Man, and many more.

Here is the Classics Illustrated link at the Papercutz site.

Classics Illustrated Deluxe: A Christmas Carol and the Remembrance of Mugby | New York Journal of Books