Newsweek Loves Classics Illustrated
Posted by Scott Tingley, March 29, 2008
The schoolkids' best friend is back and getting rave reviews from the
"Dazzling." "Wonderful." "A visual masterpiece."
That's how NEWSWEEK'S Malcolm Jones describes books from Papercutz's
new CLASSICS ILLUSTRATED imprint. The magazine's March 31 issue, on
newsstands now, features "Everything Is Illuminated," a three-page
overview of comics based on classic literature.
CI's THE WIND IN THE WILLOWS, drawn by Michel Plessix, receives Jones'
highest praise: "Every frame is drawn and colored with meticulous care.
Every elegant page is composed with a dual purpose: to enchant the eye
and to further the various narratives."
Jones also covers Papercutz's version of Charles Dickens's GREAT
EXPECTATIONS (by Rick Geary, best known for his TREASURY OF VICTORIAN
MURDER series for NBM Publishing) and previews the upcoming edition of
Lewis Carroll's THROUGH THE LOOKING-GLASS by Kyle Baker (TALES FROM THE
CRYPT, WHY I HATE SATURN, PLASTIC MAN). "CLASSICS ILLUSTRATED always
had the goods," Jones concludes. "Looks like it still does."
NEWSWEEK's piece is only the newest in a stream of praise and
attention that mainstream news outlets have paid to CLASSICS
ILLUSTRATED. Under the headline "Revised 'Classics' Illustrate New
Interest in Quality," Scripps-Howard News Service's Andrew Smith says, "Papercutz is certainly putting its best foot forward. . . . [with] a
roster of talented European and American artists" and adds that CI"promises comics adaptations that any sort of reader can enjoy." He
calls GREAT EXPECTATIONS "riveting" and says of THE WIND IN THE
WILLOWS, "Mr. Toad and company come to life in a heart-stoppingly
beautiful ride through a fantasy world loved by children worldwide." In
Canada's national newspaper, THE GLOBE AND MAIL, Nathalie Atkinson
calls CI's books "excellent," points out that they "will lure both
adults and children," and praises THE WIND IN THE WILLOWS for its "page
after page of lush detail." From THE WASHINGTON TIMES and the MEMPHIS
COMMERCIAL APPEAL to THE BUFFALO NEWS and the SANTA FE NEW MEXICAN,
publications all over the country have paid flattering attention to
CLASSICS ILLUSTRATED was the creation of Albert Lewis Kanter
(1897-1973), a visionary publisher. Kanter believed that comics could
introduce young readers to great literature. In 1941, he launched
CLASSIC COMICS (changed to CLASSICS ILLUSTRATED in 1947). For thirty
years, Kanter produced more than 200 CLASSICS ILLUSTRATED and CLASSICS
ILLUSTRATED JUNIOR publications. They introduced young readers
worldwide to fiction, history, folklore, mythology, and science.
In 1990, the Berkley Publishing Group and First Publishing revived
CLASSICS ILLUSTRATED as a series of graphic novels featuring new
adaptations by such top graphic novelists as Baker, Geary, Bill
Sienkiewicz, and Gahan Wilson. Papercutz will reprint many of the
Berkley-First books. Papercutz has also obtained rights to new
adaptations of the classics by some of the world's finest graphic
novelists. Published under the CLASSICS ILLUSTRATED DELUXE imprint,
they devote three to five times as many pages as the previous series
and more fully capture the depth of the original novels.