Classics Illustrated

A Cultural History, 3d ed.

Not Yet Published


New 2023 Pre-Order

Available for pre-order / backorder

SKU: 9781476688329 Categories: , ,

About the Book

In its expanded third edition, this definitive work on Classics Illustrated explores the enduring series of comic book adaptations of literary masterpieces in even greater depth. Drawing on interviews, correspondence, fanzines and archival research, the work of the artists, editors, scriptwriters and publishers who contributed to the success of the “World’s Finest Juvenile Publication” is covered in full detail. Many reproductions of original art are included, along with new chapters covering editor Meyer Kaplan, art director L.B. Cole and artist John Parker, and a complete listing of significant international series.

About the Author(s)

William Bryan 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.

Bibliographic Details

William Bryan Jones, Jr.
Format: hardcover (8.5 x 11)
Bibliographic Info: ca. 400 photos (112 in color), appendices, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2023
pISBN: 978-1-4766-8832-9
eISBN: 978-1-4766-5101-9
Imprint: McFarland

Book Reviews & Awards

• “Classics Illustrated was a wonderful series, which introduced young readers to works of literature which they were encouraged to read in the original—and that’s just what I, like many others, did, in my case from The Iliad to the works of Verne and Wells. Now, with William Jones Jr.’s enlarged and improved third edition of his study of the Gilberton publication, the author has introduced yet another illustrated classic to the world—this one with the title Classics Illustrated: A Cultural History. It’s one of a handful of comics-historical works that belongs on any comics fan’s bookshelf.”—Roy Thomas, Alter Ego

• “Using artwork, interviews, and analysis, William B. Jones, Jr. brings deserved attention to the writers and artists who made condensed adaptation an art form, while also evoking memories of the naughty thrill of writing a plausible book report based on a comic book. With new chapters, new color illustrations, and rarely seen process artwork, this 3rd edition serves up a delightful blend of nostalgia and knowledge.”—Randy Duncan, author of The Power of Comics: History, Form and Culture

• “Bill Jones has written a compelling history, detailing the prescience of Albert Kanter, a man well ahead of his time, in anticipating the 21st-century development of using comics to coax readers towards great literature. Joining Kanter in his endeavor were the writers, artists, editors, and art directors who captivated the imaginations of more than one generation of young readers, allowing them to amass a library of classic literature more economical, in both cost and space, than the originals. Jones profiles each contributor, adding greatly not only to the familiar story of Jews and comics, but also to the lesser known histories of women and educators in the industry. As a result of the efforts of Jones’s subjects, and despite the assumptions of many parents and teachers, comics fans in the ‘40s, ‘50s, and ‘60s grew up arguably more erudite than most young people today.”—Karen Green, Curator for Comics and Cartoons, Columbia University

From the previous editions:

• “This second edition adds some 100 pages of in-depth details, new interviews, and the latest adventures of the series…an especially salient piece of comics culture…chronicles a growing respect for the medium…of interest to comics fans, culture watchers, educators, and high schoolers”—Library Journal

• “Highly recommended major revised edition…illuminating…more thorough and more heavily illustrated, than the original…a book to enjoy and appreciate again and again. Our Highest Recommendation”—Bud Plant, Bud’s Art Books

• “Fabulous…wonderful. A wealth of information is presented, bolstered by interviews with people, especially artists, who worked on the comics. The book’s layout is breathtaking…lavish. The repros of panels and covers are of exceptional quality, clear and crisp…excellent introduction…an extremely well researched, entertaining volume”—Classic Images

• “The appearance (or rather, reappearance, as a second edition) of this volume is an occasion for celebration across the world of comic art scholarship. There are no more than a dozen scholarly works (my favorites include Masters of American Comics, Will Elder: The Mad Playboy of Art, Underground Classics, Jews and American Comics and perhaps, although I am prejudiced, The Art of Harvey Kurtzman) in the field, nearly all of them quite recent. None is as exhaustive for any genre as this. Every reader interested in comic art, will find this volume illuminating. Close readers will find it different, more thorough and more heavily illustrated, than the original. It’s a book to enjoy and appreciate again and again.”—Paul Buhle (Jews and American Comics, The Art of Harvey Kurtzman) Swans Commentary

• “A comprehensive review of the art and careers of the creators…well researched, documented, and analyzed…important…interesting…highly recommended”—ARBA

• “Information is endless…this book encompasses all…an excellent addition to any library…entertaining…in-depth information”—Public Library Quarterly

• “A massive research project…source material is rigorously identified”—Comics Buyer’s Guide

• “Mr. Jones’ study represents the best memory book in a long time. Anyone who remembers horse drawn milk trucks, mail deliveries twice a day, faded red enema bags, pin boys at bowling alleys, the St. Louis Browns, and the ‘cat’s meow’ will love this book. It is a work of outstanding achievement”—Film & History

• “Splendidly readable account…detailed”—Filmfax

• “Influence is immeasurable…wonderfully illustrated”—Hitch

• “For millions of American baby boomers, monthly issues of Classics Illustrated were a colorful, exciting gateway to the classics of Western literature”—The Blade (Toledo, Ohio)

• “Remarkably well researched…meticulously detail…a beautiful volume…painstakingly, almost lovingly, defines the series’ unique place in comic book and cultural history”—Neighbor News

• “Eentertaining, informative”—Active Years

• “A labour of love…an important work…a reminder of the legacy of Albert Kanter”—Weekender, Leader-Post

• “Meticulously indexed…copiously illustrated”—Reference & Research Book News

• “Generously illustrated”—Knowledge Quest

• “Interviews, behind-the-scenes secrets revealed and correspondence all combine to give a wide-stroke history of the publisher that introduced classic literature to several generations.”—Boyce McClain’s Collector’s Corner