Moby Dick by Herman Melville
Moby Dick
by Herman Melville

Classics Illustrated, which actually began life as Classic Comics, was a comic book series that took classic literary works – such as Moby Dick, Robinson Crusoe and The Three Musketeers – and adapted the storylines into comic panels ideal for young readers.

The series was the brain child of Albert Kanter, a Russian-born publisher who oversaw the series from its first issue in 1941 until it was finally retired in 1971. The stable of artists working on the comics included Jack Abel, Matt Baker, Lou Cameron, Jack Kirby and Angelo Torres

Kanter’s first issue of Classic Comics was a telling of Alexander Dumas’ classic tale of the musketeers but he swiftly adapted novels by Rudyard Kipling, Robert Louis Stevenson, Walter Scott, Victor Hugo, Charles Dickens and Wilkie Collins. His simple goal was to introduce young readers to great books.  We will never know how many youngsters who read Classic Comics and Classics Illustrated are now confirmed bibliophiles with homes full of literature, but we suspect the figure is high.

The comics were instantly recognisable for their gaudy, but entertaining line-drawn covers. They were cheap and popular. Today these comics are ideal for collectors keen on revisiting their childhood or interested in a special slice of popular culture stretching across 30 years.

Meet the Classics Illustrated collector

 

A Selection of Illustrated Classics

Gulliverís Travels by Jonathan Swift
Gulliverís Travels
by Jonathan Swift
Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain
Huckleberry Finn
by Mark Twain
The Black Arrow by Robert Louis Stevenson
The Black Arrow
by Robert Louis Stevenson
Lorna Doone by R.D. Blackmmore
Lorna Doone
by R.D. Blackmmore
The Pathfinder by James Fenimore Cooper
The Pathfinder
by James Fenimore Cooper
Typee by Herman Melvile
Typee
by Herman Melvile
Swiss Family Robinson by Jonathan Wyss
Swiss Family Robinson
by Jonathan Wyss
Twenty Years After by Alexander Dumas
Twenty Years After
by Alexander Dumas
Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
Jane Eyre
by Charlotte Bronte
The Pioneers by James Fenimore Cooper
The Pioneers
by James Fenimore Cooper
The Hurricane by Nordhoff and Hall
The Hurricane
by Nordhoff and Hall
War of the Worlds by H.G. Wells
War of the Worlds
by H.G. Wells
Mutiny on the Bounty by Nordhoff and Hall
Mutiny on the Bounty
by Nordhoff and Hall
A Midsummer Nightís Dream by William Shakespeare
A Midsummer Nightís Dream
by William Shakespeare
The Jungle Book by Rudyard Kipling
The Jungle Book
by Rudyard Kipling
Western Stories by Bret Harte
Western Stories
by Bret Harte
MacBeth by William Shakespeare
MacBeth
by William Shakespeare
Green Mansions by W.H. Hudson
Green Mansions
by W.H. Hudson
King Solomonís Mines by H. Rider Haggard
King Solomonís Mines
by H. Rider Haggard
The Oregon Trail by Francis Parkman
The Oregon Trail
by Francis Parkman
Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson
Treasure Island
by Robert Louis Stevenson

What is your favourite Classics Illustrated book? - leave a comment:

More to Discover




King of the Cowboys Timeless Tales of Adventure 50 Books for an 11-Year-Old