Vintage Classics Illustrated Comic Books

Classics Illustrated was founded in 1941 by Russian-born publisher Albert Lewis Kanter. Under the name Elliot Publishing Co., and later Gilberton Company, Inc., Kanter adapted classic books and novels for the comic-book format. In 1967, Kanter sold his company to Twin Circle’s Frawley Corporation, and by 1971, with 169 publications to its name, the classic era of Classics Illustrated had come to an end.

The series actually began as Classic Comics, with an abridged version of “The Three Musketeers,” the Alexandre Dumas tale of the swashbuckling Aramis, Athos, Porthos, and their young protégé, D’Artagnan. With its line-drawn cover and interior art by Malcolm Kildale, the story ran for 64 of the comic book’s 68 total pages. Like most original printings of Classic Comics, issue number 1 of “The Three Musketeers” features the price (“10¢”) in the upper-right corner of the front cover, plus a preview of the following issue (“Ivanhoe”) on the back cover. Kildale did the line-drawn cover art for “Ivanhoe,” too, but that was the extent of his contributions to the series.

One of the things that keeps collectors of Classics Illustrated busy are the numerous cover variations, which can affect the value of a given title by as much as 90%. For example, there are 23 editions of “The Three Musketeers,” the first dozen of which feature the Kildale art. Subsequent issues had what are known as painted covers, a reduced page count of 64, new interior art, and a price increase of a nickel (the last two editions of “The Three Musketeers” in 1969 and 1971 cost a quarter).

In addition to cover, interior art, and page-count changes, early issues of Classic Comics were rebranded as Classics Illustrated in 1947. By then, the series numbered 34 issues. The last Classic Comics was Jules Verne’s “Mysterious Island,” whose cover depicts a smoking volcano in the background. The first Classics Illustrated was issue number 35, Edward Bulwer-Lytton’s “The Last Days of Pompeii,” whose garish cover by Henry Kiefer (the first of dozens by the artist) also features a volcano, but this one is erupting, causing oxen, horses, and people to flee for their lives.

Other titles in the series include “The Count of Monte Cristo” (one of nine by Dumas), “The Last of the Mohicans” (one of eight by James Fennimore Cooper), “Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea” (one of 10 by Jules Verne), “Romeo and Juliet” (one of five by William Shakespeare), and “Huckleberry Finn” (one of four by Mark Twain).

In 1953, Kanter created an even more youthful spinoff of Classics Illustrated called Classics Illustrated Junior, whose sources were well-known children's books. The first issue, number 501, introduced kids to “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs,” whose interior art was created by Classics Illustrated stalwart Alex Blum. Collectors of Junior titles focus almost exclusively on original printings since the reprints feature no cover or interior art differences to drive demand.

As with Classics Illustrated, Classics Illustrated Junior ceased publication in 1971. Its last issue was number 577, “The Runaway Dumpling,” which is described on the inside of t...

Three other Classic Illustrated titles of interest are the Giants printed in October 1949. Each had a new cover by Kiefer, cost 50 cents on newsstands, and contained reprints of four full issues. The Giant called “An Illustrated Library of Great Adventure Stories” includes “Tale of Two Cities,” “Robin Hood,” “Arabian Nights,” and “Robinson Crusoe.” The title devoted to “Exciting Mystery Stories” features yarns by Wilkie Collins, Arthur Conan Doyle, Edgar Allen Poe, and Robert Louis Stevenson. As for “Great Indian Stories,” it collected four of CI’s most popular James Fennimore Cooper issues (4, 17, 22, and 37).

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Vtg Lot (48+) Silver Age Dell- Classics Illustrated- Dc- Cdc- Superman -westernClassics Illustrated 43 Great Expectations Hrn 43 Original 1st Print1944 Classic Comics #21, 1st Printing. Courier. Fine ConditionClassics Illustrated 41 Twenty Years After Hrn 41 Original 1st PrintClassics Illustrated Comics Mixed Lot Of 33 Comics, 1968-1971 Good ConditionClassic Comics #7 Robin Hood 1942 Original Edition Very Good+Vintage Classics Illustrated Junior Comics 1960's Lot Of 20 100 SeriesLot Of 4 Classics Illustrated Faust Call Of The Wild Oregon Trail Classics Illustrated Great Expectations No. 43 Classics Illustrated 42 Swiss Family Robison Hrn 42 Original 1st PrintClassic Comics #21 Sherlock Holmes Edgar Allan Poe 3 Famous Mysteries Golden AgeComic Lot-bronze Age-mixed-classics Illustrated,hawkman, Tv Casper, Uncle ScroogClassics Illustrated #15 (hrn 89) "1951". Featuring.. Uncle Tom's Cabin. Classics Illustrated Lot Berkely Publishing 1990 & 1991 All First EditionsVintage Classics Illustrated Junior Comics 1960's Lot Of 31 500 SeriesClassics Illustrated Comics Lot Of 14 1960sClassics Illustrated Comics 273 Issues Dvd Collection Berkley Regular JuniorLot:11 Classics Illustrated Comics #18,22,42,52,80,100,105,130,149,(jr)515,555Classics Illustrated 39 Jane Eyre Hrn 39 Original 1st Print9315a. National Classic Comics The Brothers Karamazov Vg C29318a. National Classic Comics Little Women Abt. Vg C2Classics Illustrated #153 (1959, Hrn 153 1st Print) Gd/vgClassics Illustrated Lot Of 3: #133 (hrn142) #144 (hrn153) #16 (hrn167) Gd/vgLot Of 5 Vintage Classics Illustrated Comic Magazine #34 164 1968; 4 25 69 1969 Classics Illustrated No 125 The Ox-bow Incident By Walter Clark Hrn 169 ReprintLot 3 Classics Illustrated Graphic Novel Jekyll Hyde Rip Van Winkle Call Of WildClassics Illustrated No 145 The Crisis Comic Book Winston Churchill 1968Classics Illustrated # 12 Rip Van Winkle And The Headless Horseman H R N 118Classics Illustrated # 48 David Copperfield H R N 64Classics Illustrated # 47 Twenty Thousand Leagues Under The Sea H R N 64Classics Illustrated # 37 The Pioneers H R N 92Classics Illustrated # 75 The Lady Of The Lake H R N 85Classics Illustrated # 31 The Black Arrow H R N 64Classics Illustrated # 34 Mysterious Island H R N 92Classics Illustrated # 23 Oliver Twist H R N 85Classics Illustrated # 36 Typee H R N 64

Recent News: Classics Illustrated Comic Books

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