|No, sorry this is just a spoof cover CI never made one|
Tuesday, April 21, 2015
Long before our modern “graphic novels” Classics Illustrated produced a series of 169 well-known titles from the mundane to the fantastic with a publication history that ran from 1941 to 1971 for the original series. They were originally named Classic Comics Presents for the first five releases and then as Classic Comics Illustrated for the next two, after which they were dubbed Classics Illustrated. When the earlier seven titles were reprinted, they were put under the Classics Illustrated banner thereafter. They were printed in several countries over the years and in a number of different languages. Classics Illustrated was a stepping stone from the old-style pulps of the 20s and 30s and into a newer form at allowed slimmed down version of text stories with illustrations.
I remember Classics Illustrated fondly, most especially as I bought them at flea markets when I was looking for more traditional text SF books in the 1960s. In the days before computers, used book shops, flea markets, and garage sales were prime places to hunt books. Few of the old Classics Illustrated comics I turned up were in mint condition and some clearly had been read hard and put away wet. Many early printings in excellent condition can command high prices in the collector’s market.
Science fiction and horror/weird fiction were well represented in the repertoire of the Classics Illustrated series with several classic SF stories. Interestingly, a good portion of them were stories that were Victorian in origin and more importantly (for the publisher) many were out of copyright.
Some of the writers represented by Comics Illustrated were Jules Verne, Edgar Allen Poe, Mary Shelly, and Mark Twain. Alas, there was no Robert E. Howard and no H. P. Lovecraft, although (surprise surprise) Talbot Mundy’s, King of the Khyber Rifles #107 and Arthur Conan Doyle’s, A Study in Scarlet #110, Adventures of Sherlock Holmes #33, and The White Company #102 are in the lineup. Additionally, The Man Who Laughs #71 by Victor Hugo appears, which was made into an outstanding silent movie* and the basis of the character of The Joker, makes an appearance in the lineup.
You’ll easily recognize these classic gems of SF, horror and weird fiction, many of which were made into film, some several times over the years:
Dr Jekyll and Mr. Hyde #13
Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court #24
Poe’s Mysteries #40
Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea #47
Around the World in 80 Days #69
The Gold Bug/The Tell Tale Heart/The Cask of Amontillado #84
King Solomon’s Mines #97
War of the Worlds #124
The Time Machine #133
First Men in the Moon #144
Invisible Man #153
Food of the Gods #160
Robur the Conqueror #164
*The Man Who Laughs (1928) a silent firm starring ConradVeidt, is based on the Victor Hugo story from 1869.
Other Links of Interest
List of Classics Illustrated Comic Books http://www.tkinter.smig.net/classicsillustrated/list.htm
For those of you interested in those earlier SF periodicals check out this Pulps Primer: http://io9.com/5680191/where-did-science-fiction-come-from-a-primer-on-the-pulps and one on the origin of SF pulps: http://www.pulpdom.com/history.html
For those interested in pulps covers of all types, check out this blog on just this subject: http://pulpcovers.com/
Even more pulps and fanzines http://aok.lib.umbc.edu/specoll/exhibits/scifi/
An archive of pulps, many of which are downloadable https://archive.org/details/pulpmagazinearchive
More pulps downloads http://www.pulpmags.org/archives_hub.html
Project Gutenberg has the full text versions, in several formats, of these same stories for download for free: https://www.gutenberg.org/