For those who know me and my work, it’s no secret that I am interested the relationships between texts and images. So much so that I’ve straddled the line between (and made some professional moves from what is deemed) English and Visual Arts. Although I’ve made no effort to experiment with comics themselves, I am especially interested in comics as a form of both literature and scholarship, and in the Winter 2016 volume of my journal Textshop Experiments published Barry Mauer’s “Making Repulsive Monuments”.
For those interested in further reading on the subject, Scott McCloud’s Understanding Comics (1993) is still the best place to begin. I might also recommend Comic Books and American Cultural History (2012) edited by Matthew Pustz and, more recently, Comics as History, Comics as Literature: Roles of the Comic Book in Scholarship, Society and Entertainment (2015) edited by Annessa Ann Babic.
Next semester–yes, I’m already working on the spring term–I’ll be teaching a class on the Arts and the Rise of the Nazi Party in the Public History program at Stevenson University, and I hope to introduce Art Spiegelman’s graphic novel Maus to students.
But one of my upcoming projects is dedicated to book covers and book design. I can think of no better transition then but comics. One series I’ve begun to look more closely at is Classics Illustrated, or Classic Comics (the original series name until 1947). Began in 1941, this comic book series published adaptations of literary classics. The original series ran until 1971, but re-issues and new developments have been released periodically from several publishers since the 1990s. Most recently, just this past year, Jack Lake Productions have begun to re-print the collection in English and in French.
For this post, I thought it would be fun to share the book cover designs of the first 25 issues of Classic Comics . . .
Have you ever read this editions?
What are your thoughts of these comic adaptations?
What is your favorite issue? Which cover is your favorite?