Classic Illustrated Comics

Cursus sodales egest lobortis sit vitae aliquam sapin undo blandit nulla at sodales.

About Classic Illustrated Comics

Classics Illustrated is a comic book series featuring adaptations of literary classics . Created by Albert Kanter, the series began publication in 1941 and finished its first run in 1971, producing 169 issues. Following the series' demise, various companies reprinted its titles.Russian-born publisher Albert Lewis Kanter (1897–1973) created Classic Comics for Elliot Publishing Company in 1941 with its debut issues being The Three Musketeers, followed by Ivanhoe and The Count of Monte Cristo. In addition to the literary adaptations, books featured author profiles, educational fillers, and an ad for the coming title. In later editions, a catalog of titles and a subscription order form appeared on back covers. Recognizing the appeal of early comic books, Albert Lewis Kanter [1] believed he could use the new medium to introduce young and reluctant readers to "great literature".

The first five titles were published irregularly under the banner "Classic Comics Presents" while issues six and seven were published under the banner "Classic Comics Library" with a ten-cent cover price. Arabian Nights (issue 8), illustrated by Lillian Chestney, is the first issue to use the "Classics Comics" banner.

With the fourth issue, The Last of the Mohicans, in 1942, Kanter moved the operation to different offices and the corporate identity was changed to the Gilberton Company, Inc.. Reprints of previous titles began in 1943. Wartime paper shortages forced Kanter to reduce the 64-page format to 56 pages.

Classic Comics is marked by varying quality in art and is celebrated today for its often garish but highly collectible line-drawn covers. Artists include Lillian Chestney (Arabian Nights, issue 8, and Gulliver's Travels, issue 16), Webb and Brewster (Frankenstein, issue 26), Matt Baker (Lorna Doone, issue 32), and Henry Carl Kiefer (second cover for The Prince and the Pauper, issue 29, cover for The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, issue 33, and the first Classics Illustrated issue The Last Days of Pompeii, issue 35). Oliver Twist (issue 23) was the first title produced by the Eisner & Iger shop.

Some titles were packaged in gift boxes of threes or fours during the period with specific themes such as adventure or mystery.

The series name-changed in March 1947 to Classics Illustrated with issue 35 The Last Days of Pompeii. In 1948, rising paper costs reduced books to 48 pages. In 1951, line-drawn covers were replaced with painted covers (issue 81), and the price was raised from 10 cents to 15 cents, (and, at a later date, to 25 cents). In addition to Classics Illustrated, Kanter presided over its spin-offs Classics Illustrated Junior (1953), Specials, and The World Around Us. Between 1941 and 1962, sales totaled 200 million.

The publication of new titles ceased in 1962 for various reasons. The company lost its 2nd-class mailing permit and cheap paperbacks, Cliff's Notes, and television drew readers away from the series. Kanter's last new title was issue 167 Faust (August 1962) though other titles had been planned. These titles appeared in the company's foreign editions. In 1967, Kanter sold his company to Catholic publication Twin Circle and its publisher Patrick Frawley, whose Frawley Corporation brought out two more titles but mainly concentrated on foreign sales and reprinting older titles. After four years, Twin Circle discontinued the line because of poor distribution. Since the series' demise, various companies have reprinted its titles. By the early 1970s, Classics Illustrated and Junior had been discontinued.

See Our Collection

Our Latest Comics

Find Out More

Most Visited Comics

Find Out More

Featured Series Of The Month

Cursus sodales egest lobortis sit vitae aliquam sapin undo blandit nulla at sodales