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Back to June Ed Reporter

Education Reporter
NUMBER 137 THE NEWSPAPER OF EDUCATION RIGHTS JUNE 1997
The Ultimate Reading List — Classics That Endure

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Since the end of World War II, illustrated comics of literary classics have captured the imaginations of children and introduced them to Western civilization's most enduring stories. Beginning in 1941 with Alexandre Dumas's The Three Musketeers and ending in 1962, 167 titles were published. The first 34 were called Classic Comics, and subsequent issues (including reprints of earlier titles) were known as Classics Illustrated.

Al Kanter, the creator, was a Russian-Jewish immigrant who worked as a sales representative for a publishing company after the Depression. "He had the idea that you could publish illustrated books, each title a different literary classic. You could sell them as comics to kids and as books as adults," said Dan Malin, author of The Complete Guide to Classics Illustrated.

Classic Comics made it cheap and easy for kids to sample Western culture through Shakespeare, the Brontes, and Mark Twain. Many titles printed much of the original text. Shakespeare's Julius Caesar, for example, contains Mark Antony's complete eulogy to Caesar in huge text balloons over three full pages.

"I used Classic Comic books to get through grammar school," said Charles Schwab, chairman of his own financial services company, in a 1995 interview.

While some may have used the comics as educational shortcuts, many took the advice that began to appear at the end of each story: "Now that you have read the Classics Illustrated edition, don't miss the added enjoyment of reading the original, obtainable at your school or public library."

Why have the comics endured? "The stories are new to each generation," said collector and dealer Raymond True.

The Classics

  1. The Three Musketeers (1844) Alexandre Dumas
  2. Ivanhoe (1820) Sir Walter Scott
  3. The Count of Monte Cristo (1844) Alexandre Dumas
  4. Last of the Mohicans (1826) James Fenimore Cooper
  5. Moby Dick (1851) Herman Melville
  6. A Tale of Two Cities (1859) Charles Dickens
  7. Robin Hood (1883) Howard Pyle
  8. Arabian Nights (1704) Antony Galland
  9. Les Miserables (1862) Victor Hugo
  10. Robinson Crusoe (1719) Daniel Defoe
  11. Don Quixote (1605) Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra
  12. Washington Irving: Rip Van Winkle (1819), The Headless Horseman (1819)
  13. Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde (1883) Robert Louis Stevenson
  14. Westward Ho! (1855) Charles Kingsley
  15. Uncle Tom's Cabin (1852) Harriet Beecher Stowe
  16. Gulliver's Travels (1726) Jonathan Swift
  17. The Deerslayer (1841) James Fenimore Cooper
  18. The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1831) Victor Hugo
  19. Huckleberry Finn (1884) Mark Twain
  20. The Corsican Brothers (1845) Alexandre Dumas
  21. 3 Famous Mysteries: The Sign of the Four (1890) Arthur Conan Doyle, The Flayed Hand (1880) Guy de Maupassant, Murders in the Rue Morgue (1841) Edgar Allen Poe
  22. The Pathfinder (1840) James Fenimore Cooper
  23. Oliver Twist (1838) Charles Dickens
  24. A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court (1889) Mark Twain
  25. Two Years Before the Mast (1840) Richard Henry Dana Jr.
  26. Frankenstein (1818) Mary Shelley
  27. Marco Polo (1921) Donn Byrne
  28. Michael Strogoff (1876) Jules Verne
  29. The Prince and the Pauper (1882) Mark Twain
  30. The Moonstone (1868) William Wilkie Collins
  31. The Black Arrow (1888) Robert Louis Stevenson
  32. Lorna Doone (1869) Richard Doddridge Blackmore
  33. Sherlock Holmes Stories: A Study in Scarlet (1887) Arthur Conan Doyle, The Hound of the Baskervilles (1902) Arthur Conan Doyle
  34. Mysterious Island (1874) Jules Verne
  35. Last Days of Pompeii (1834) Edward Bulwer-Lytton
  36. Typee (1846) Herman Melville
  37. The Pioneers (1822) James Fenimore Cooper
  38. The Adventures of Cellini (1562) Benvenuto Cellini
  39. Jane Eyre (1847) Charlotte Bronte
  40. Edgar Allen Poe Mysteries: Pit and the Pendulum (1845), Adventures of Hans Pfall (1845), The Fall of the House of Usher (1838)
  41. Twenty Years After (1845) Alexandre Dumas
  42. Swiss Family Robinson (1813) Johann Wyss
  43. Great Expectations (1861) Charles Dickens
  44. Mysteries of Paris (1842) Eugene Sue
  45. Tom Brown's School Days (1856) Thomas Hughes
  46. Kidnapped (1886) Robert Louis Stevenson
  47. 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea (1870) Jules Verne
  48. David Copperfield (1850) Charles Dickens
  49. Alice in Wonderland (1865) Lewis Carroll (C.L. Dodgson)
  50. The Adventures of Tom Sawyer (1876) Mark Twain
  51. The Spy (1821) James Fenimore Cooper
  52. The House of the Seven Gables (1851) Nathaniel Hawthorne
  53. A Christmas Carol (1843) Charles Dickens
  54. The Man in the Iron Mask (1850) Alexandre Dumas
  55. Silas Marner (1861) George Eliot (Marian Evans)
  56. Toilers of the Sea (1866) Victor Hugo
  57. The Song of Hiawatha (1855) Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
  58. The Prairie (1827) James Fenimore Cooper
  59. Wuthering Heights (1847) Emily Bronte
  60. Black Beauty (1860) Anna Sewell
  61. The Woman in White (1860) William Wilkie Collins
  62. Western Stories: The Luck of Roaring Camp (1870) Bret Harte, The Outcasts of Poker Flats (1870) Bret Harte
  63. Man Without a Country (1863) Edward Everett Hale
  64. Treasure Island (1883) Robert Louis Stevenson
  65. Benjamin Franklin (1817) Benjamin Franklin
  66. The Cloister and the Hearth (1861) Charles Reade
  67. The Scottish Chiefs (1809) Jane Porter
  68. Julius Caesar (1607) William Shakespeare
  69. Around the World in Eighty Days (1873) Jules Verne
  70. The Pilot (1823) James Fenimore Cooper
  71. The Man Who Laughs (1869) Victor Hugo
  72. The Oregon Trail (1849) Francis Parkman
  73. The Black Tulip (1850) Alexandre Dumas
  74. Mr. Midshipman Easy (1836) Captain Frederick Marryat
  75. The Lady of the Lake (1810) Sir Walter Scott
  76. The Prisoner of Zenda (1894) Anthony Hope (Hawkins)
  77. The Iliad (962 B.C.) Homer
  78. Joan of Arc (1801) Frederick Schiller
  79. Cyrano de Bergerac (1897) Edmond Rostand
  80. White Fang (1906) Jack London
  81. The Odyssey (927 B.C.) Homer
  82. The Master of Ballantrae (1889) Robert Louis Stevenson
  83. The Jungle Book (1894) Rudyard Kipling
  84. Edgar Allen Poe: The Gold Bug (1843), The Tell-Tale Heart (1845), A Cask of Amontillado (1845)
  85. The Sea Wolf (1904) Jack London
  86. Under Two Flags (1868) Ouida (Louisa de la Rame)
  87. A Midsummer Night's Dream (185%) William Shakespeare
  88. Men of Iron (1891) Howard Pyle
  89. Crime and Punishment (1866) Feodor Dostoevsky
  90. Green Mansions (1904) William Henry Hudson
  91. The Call of the Wild (1903) Jack London
  92. Henry W. Longfellow: Courtship of Miles Standish (1858), Evangeline (1847)
  93. Pudd'nhead Wilson (1894) Mark Twain
  94. David Balfour (1893) Robert Louis Stevenson
  95. All Quiet on the Western Front (1928) Erich Maria Remarque
  96. Daniel Boone (1939) John Bakeless
  97. King Solomon's Mines (1885) H. Rider Heggard
  98. The Red Badge of Courage (1895) Stephen Crane

  1. Hamlet (1603) William Shakespeare
  2. Mutiny on the Bounty (1932) Charles Nordhoff & James Hall
  3. William Tell (1804) Frederick Schiller
  4. The White Company (1891) Arthur Conan Doyle
  5. Men Against the Sea (1933) Charles Nordhoff & James Hall
  6. Bring 'em Back Alive (1930) Frank Buck & Edward Anthony
  7. From the Earth to the Moon (1870) Jules Verne
  8. Buffalo Bill (1920) William F. Cody
  9. King of the Khyber Rifles (1916) Talbot Mundy
  10. Knights of the Round Table (1903) Howard Pyle
  11. Pitcairn's Island (1939) Charles Nordhoff & James Hall
  12. The Speckled Band (1892) Arthur Conan Doyle
  13. The Talisman (1825) Sir Walter Scott
  14. Kit Carson (1873) John S.C. Abbott
  15. The Forty-Five Guardsmen (1848) Alexandre Dumas
  16. The Red Rover (1827) James Fenimore Cooper
  17. How I Found Livingstone (1872) Henry M. Stanley
  18. Robert Louis Stevenson: The Bottle Imp (1891), The Beach at Falesa (1892)
  19. Captains Courageous (1897) Rudyard Kipling
  20. Rob Roy (1818) Sir Walter Scott
  21. Soldiers of Fortune (1897) Richard Harding Davis
  22. The Hurricane (1936) Charles Nordhoff & James Hall
  23. Wild Bill Hickok (no author listed)
  24. The Mutineers (1920) Charles Boardman Hawes
  25. Fang and Claw (1935) Frank Buck
  26. War of the Worlds (1898) H.G. Wells
  27. The Oxbow Incident (1940) Walter Van Tilburg Clark
  28. The Downfall (1892) Emile Zola
  29. The King of the Mountains (1857) Edmond About
  30. Macbeth (1606) William Shakespeare
  31. Davy Crockett (no author listed)
  32. Caesar's Conquests (51 B.C.) Julius Caesar
  33. The Covered Wagon (1922) Emerson Hough
  34. The Dark Frigate (1923) Charles Boardman Hawes
  35. The Time Machine (1895) H.G. Wells
  36. Romeo and Juliet (1597) William Shakespeare
  37. Waterloo (1868) Emile Erckmann & Alexandre Chatrian
  38. Lord Jim (1900) Joseph Conrad (Korzeniowski)
  39. The Little Savage (1848) Captain Frederick Marryat
  40. A Journey to the Center of the Earth (1864) Jules Verne
  41. In the Reign of Terror (1890) G.A. Henty
  42. On Jungle Trails (1936) Frank Bucks
  43. Castle Dangerous (1831) Sir Walter Scott
  44. Abraham Lincoln (1952) Benjamin Thomas
  45. Kim (1901) Rudyard Kipling
  46. The First Men in the Moon (1901) H.G. Wells
  47. The Crisis (1901) Winston Churchill
  48. With Fire and Sword (1890) Henry Sienkiewicz
  49. Ben Hur (1880) Lew Wallace
  50. Lafitte the Pirate (1930) Lyle Saxon
  51. Off on a Comet (1878) Jules Verne
  52. The Virginian (1902) Owen Wister
  53. Won by the Sword (1899) G.A. Henty
  54. Wild Animals I Have Known (1898) Ernest Thompson Seton
  55. The Invisible Man (1897) H.G. Wells
  56. The Conspiracy of the Pontiac (1851) Francis Parkman
  57. The Lion of the North (1890) G.A. Henty
  58. Conquest of Mexico (1632) Bernal Diez Del Castillo
  59. Lives of the Hunted (1902) Ernest Thompson Seton
  60. The Conspirators (1843) Alexandre Dumas
  61. The Octopus (1901) Frank Norris
  62. The Food of the Gods (1904) H.G. Wells
  63. Cleopatra (1889) H. Rider Haggard
  64. Robur the Conqueror (1886) Jules Verne
  65. Master of the World (1904) Jules Verne
  66. The Cossack Chief (1839) Nikotai Gogol
  67. The Queen's Necklace (1849) Alexandre Dumas
  68. Tigers and Traitors (1880) Jules Verne
  69. Faust (1808/1832) Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
Source: http://www.classicscentral.com

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