One of the great pleasures of my childhood was reading Classics Comics versions of great books. The proper name is Classics Illustrated. I once had a collection, gone to dust. But I just found this site, Tom’s Place, which has some of the issues online, a treasure trove. Going through the complete list, I am not surprised to think how my reading of certain books is completely coloured by these comic illustrations: The Last of the Mohicans, With Fire and Sword (my favourite), Oliver Twist, A Tale of Two Cities, The Time Machine.
Yeah, me too — they took longer to read than regular comics, more bang for the buck & I discovered books I would go on to read as an adult. Think how great it would have been to have a Classics Illustrated version of “On the Road” or “Naked Lunch”!!
I wish film-makers could take a look at those classics comics. “The Time Machine” is an excellent example, so much more faithful to the original text and so much more compelling than the cheesy Hollywood version. I’ll never forget that panel when the time traveler finds the stash of ‘strike anywhere’ antique lighting technology in the ruined museum:
And then the movie left out the Morlock-defeating forest fire. Probably too expensive.
I say, stick with the comics.
Florian Duisjens tweeted the link and called them the first graphic novels which, it now occurs to me, is exactly right.
At the library where I work, we just started to get new versions of Classics Illustrated for our children’s department. Thus far, the kids seem to dig them.