Classics Illustrated: A Cultural History, 2d ed.

Classics Illustrated: A Cultural History, 2d ed.

by William B. Jones

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A significant expansion of the critically acclaimed first edition, Classics Illustrated: A Cultural History, 2d ed., carries the story of the Kanter family's series of comics-style adaptations of literary masterpieces from 1941 into the 21st century. This book features additional material on the 70-year history of Classics Illustrated and the careers and contributions of such artists as Alex A. Blum, Lou Cameron, George Evans, Henry C. Kiefer, Gray Morrow, Rudolph Palais, and Louis Zansky. New chapters cover the recent Jack Lake and Papercutz revivals of the series, the evolution of Classics collecting, and the unsung role of William Kanter in advancing the fortunes of his father Albert's worldwide enterprise. Enhancing the lively account of the growth of "the World's Finest Juvenile Publication" are new interviews and correspondence with editor Helene Lecar, publicist Eleanor Lidofsky, artist Mort Kunstler, and the founder's grandson John "Buzz" Kanter. Detailed appendices provide artist attributions, issue contents and, for the principal Classics Illustrated-related series, a listing of each printing identified by month, year, and highest reorder number. New U.S., Canadian and British series have been added. More than 300 illustrations--most of them new to this edition--include photographs of artists and production staff, comic-book covers and interiors, and a substantial number of original cover paintings and line drawings.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780786488407
Publisher: McFarland & Company, Incorporated Publishers
Publication date: 09/29/2011
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 416
Sales rank: 308,250
File size: 40 MB
Note: This product may take a few minutes to download.
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

William B. Jones, Jr., is the author of Petit Jean: A Wilderness Adventure; the editor of Robert Louis Stevenson Reconsidered: New Critical Perspectives; and a contributor to The Oxford Handbook of Adaptation Studies and Icons of the American Comic Book. He has written introductions for more than 100 reissued titles in the revived Classics Illustrated and related series.

Table of Contents

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments ix
Introduction: “Good Stories” 1

I. Albert Kanter’s Dream 9
II. Of Musketeers and Mohicans: The Jacquet Shop 17
III. Louis Zansky: The Painter’s Touch 26
IV. Eccentricity Abounding: The War Years 35
V. Arnold Lorne Hicks: Transitional Figure 42

Between pages 48 and 49 are eight pages containing 22 color plates

VI. Enter Iger: The Fiction House Artists 49
VII. Henry Carl Kiefer and the Classics House Style 63
VIII. Alex A. Blum: “A Prince of a Man” 76
IX. A “Newer, Truer Name”: The Late Forties 90
X. Blood, Sweat, and Rudy Palais 104
XI. Painted Covers and an Extra Nickel: The Early Fifties 111
XII. Maurice del Bourgo: A “Man’s World Artist” 131 XIII. Canonical Matters and Classical Curiosities 135
XIV. Lou Cameron: “If John Wayne Had Drawn Comic Books” 144
XV. Norman Nodel: “A Certain Integrity” 153
XVI. From the Crypt to the Classics: The EC Era 165
XVII. George Evans, Reed Crandall, and the Tradition of EC Realism 182
XVIII. Roberta the Conqueror 197

Between pages 200 and 201 are eight pages containing 26 color plates
IX. High Tide and Greenbacks: The Late Fifties 201
XX. Gerald McCann: The Colors of the Sky 213
XXI. Gray Morrow: “Real People and Real Events” 217
XXII. “Roberta’s Reforms”: The Early Sixties XIII. William E. Kanter: About a Son 240
XXIV. Five Little Series and How They Grew: Picture Progress; Classics Illustrated Junior; Classics Illustrated Special Issues; The World Around Us; The Best from Boys’ Life Comics 244
XXV. “Frawley’s Folly”: The Twin Circle Era (1967–1971) 270
XXVI. Classics Abroad: The Worldwide Yellow Banner 274
XXVII. The Wilderness Years: The Seventies and Eighties 280
XXVIII. Great Expectations: First Publishing’s Graphic Novels 283
XXIX. “Your Doorway to the Classics”: Acclaim’s Study Guides 291
XXX. Restoration: Jack Lake Productions and Papercutz 294
XXXI. Classics Collected: Notes on the Evolution of a Pastime and a Passion 299
XXXII. Classical Coda 306
Notes 309

A. Classic Comics and Classics Illustrated 317
B. Classics Illustrated Giant Editions 334
C. Fast Fiction/Stories by Famous Authors Illustrated 334
D. Classics Illustrated Educational Series 335
E. Picture Parade/Picture Progress 335
F. Classics Illustrated Junior 336
G. Classics Illustrated Special Issues 342
H. The Best from Boys’ Life Comics 343
I. The World Around Us 344
J. British Classics Illustrated, First and Second Series 349
K. Classics Illustrated, Second Series (Berkley/First) 353
L. Classics Illustrated, Third Series, Study Guides (Acclaim) 353
M. Classics Illustrated, Fourth Series ( Jack Lake) 355
N. Classics Illustrated Junior, Second Series ( Jack Lake) 357
O. Classics Illustrated Special Issues, Second Series ( Jack Lake) 359
P. British Classics Illustrated, Third Series 359
Q. Papercutz Classics Illustrated DeLuxe Editions 360
R. Papercutz Classics Illustrated Editions 360
S. Correspondence Between Roberta Strauss and the National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, re: The Dark Frigate 360
T. Letter from Roberta Strauss Feuerlicht to E. Nelson Bridwell 361

Bibliography 363
Index 367

Customer Reviews

Classics Illustrated: A Cultural History 2d ed. 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 5 reviews.
TomKitten on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Comic books were just one of many forbidden fruits of my childhood - along with rock 'n' roll records, cleats on heels and any hair style longer than a crew cut. Oddly enough, my brothers and I were allowed to have comic books during those blissful ten days we spent at the lake cottage every summer, which, of course, made them all the more wonderful in our eyes. But during the school year? Never! Is it any wonder I hated school as much as I did? In the hierarchy of acceptable and unacceptable comics, the books that were truly intended to be comic were deemed safest. Superhero comics were frowned upon but still managed to infiltrate the comic pile on the shelf above the kitchen table at the lake. As that house was shared by various members of my extended family, the comic pile even grew to include a few romance numbers, purchased, we assumed, by one or more of my female cousins. But the most forbidden of all fruits were Classics Illustrated comics, which dared to reduce great works of literature to the level of Superman. Under no circumstances were we permitted to purchase or read those. And, honestly, we didn't mind that much, as most of them looked pretty boring. I mean, Silas Marner or The House of the Seven Gables vs. Spiderman? No contest. Every now and again there'd be one that looked kind of interesting, like The Food of the Gods, with that giant chicken on the cover but we were largely content to leave Mom's defense of Great Literature unchallenged. "Well, gee, okay, Mom, I guess if I can't have Jane Eyre, I'll settle for The Silver Surfer." It's somewhat surprising to me then, to note that so many of the covers and interior pages that appear in this copiously illustrated history are more than a little familiar. I can only conclude that Classics Illustrated comics were so much a part of the Zeitgeist of that era that even those of us who were forbidden to own them have them ingrained in our psyches. Mr. Jones' passion for Classics Illustrated comics has inspired him to produce an exhaustive and, at times, exhausting, survey of the entire history of the books. Everything one could possibly want to know about the writers, artists, editors and publishers of the books is here included to the extent that it often becomes too much of a muchness. For the ardent collector or student of comic book art I'm sure this is would be a gold mine. For the general reader it's a bit of a slog, frankly, so intent is Mr. Jones on cataloging every contribution, great and small, to the development of the books. Still, it's great fun for casual browsing. The amount of material reproduced allows one to see, first hand, how the books developed and which artists really excelled at the form. I'm glad I had a chance to look at it.
Artymedon on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This book is a treasure of analysis, art samples and a memorial to the activity of publishers, comic illustrators, cover art artists and scenarists who, from 1941 until 1971 thrived to create an accessible comic art library of litterary classics for the American public and then for the world. It is also the history of their vicissitude through censorship and sales declines. William B. Jones Jr. masterfully makes the spirit behind a collection come to life and serious comic collectors, literary classics amateurs or creators will find this book precious to trace how an adaptation is put together. Young minds might be more familiar with quotes from "Star Wars" [Return of the Jedi] than from those of "Robinson Crusoe" or "The three musketeers" so a collection introducing classic works and encouraging to read the original text still has meaning today. Digital books will give new access to the "Classics" which hopefully will continue to be published on paper. An appendix gives a chronology of each issue or reissue with the names of the creators for each work. The balance between covers and strips is well chosen. If there was a curator to name for an exhibition over "Classics Illustrated" around the USA and Comic strip museums around the world it would be Mr. William B. Jones Jr.
LA12Hernandez on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I always loved Classic Illustated and learning the stories behind the pen was facinating. This book had lots of great pictures and graphics with plenty of information about the people who brought the Classics to life. Now I'll have to read the first edition.
bjbookman on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
What memories this book has bought to me. To see the covers of comics I used to have, the hours I would spend reading and re-readingthem. I was in fifth grade when I discovered Classic Illustrated. Most of my friends were into DC, Dell and Marvel, I bought Classic Illustrated. These 'comics' gave me my love of literature. I couldn't wait to be able to read the novels when I got older. William B Jones's Classics Illustrated is a readable history of the publication. I know I will put this book in a area where I can refer to it often. The appendix's are excellent and Jones put a lot of effort in them.I loved the reproductions of the covers, " The Lion of the North" was my favorite cover and was happy to see it included, in color, along with many others.If you ever bought a Classic Illustrated this book is for you. As I stated above, this book bought me a lot of memories, almost all good, and one bad, The day I came home from school and found out my ma gave them all to the little kid down the hall.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago