Nov 1, 2012

Classics Illustrated

A decade after the Seduction of the Innocent scandal that blamed comic books for single-handedly causing the downfall of society, teachers still thought they were cesspools of corruption.  Archie, Casper the Friendly Ghost, Little Lulu -- it didn't matter.  The only comics we could read with impunity at recess or summer camp were Classics Illustrated, the long-running series of comic adaption of adventure classics: Moby Dick, The Last of the Mohicans, Around the World in 80 Days.  

The publishers quickly ran out of adventure classics and began presenting adaptions of obscure works that no one except literary scholars ever read, like Eugene Sue's Mysteries of Paris, Emile Zola's The Downfall, Jules Verne's Michael Strogoffand Charles Nordhoff & James Hall's The Hurricane. 











But regardless of the "classic," you could always depend on shirtless and semi-nude muscle shots to draw the eye to the cover art.  Who knew that Mark Twain's Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court had such a buffed physique?











There was also a Classics Junior series, with fairy tales and mythology.  The Magic Pitcher was about the muscular Hermes of Greek mythology dishing out a cornucopia, with disastrous consequences.