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Timely launch of Classics Illustrated supports Government initiative to improve literacy in school age children

Ofsted - “In the most successful literacy activities, teachers took great care to choose texts that interested the boys. These tended to focus on action-packed narratives which emphasised sporting prowess, courageous activities in the face of danger and situations – often historical – where the main characters had to overcome challenges of one sort or another.”

Launch date – 25th September 2008: 25% discount for schools

Classics Illustrated and Classics Illustrated Juniors are graphic novels that meet the Ofsted criteria of excitement, courage and derring-do. The original novels helped millions of children to develop their reading skills and enjoy the world’s greatest stories during the 1940s, 50s and 60s.

Famous throughout the world Classics Illustrated featured adaptations of literary classics such as Oliver Twist, Robin Hood, The Man in the Iron Mask, Romeo and Juliet, Macbeth and A Journey to the Centre of the Earth while Classics Illustrated Juniors includes wonderful tales such as Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, The Ugly Duckling and The Pied Piper. All the illustrations have been digitally enhanced to give a fresh feel to the original highly acclaimed drawings. At their peak over 3m were printed monthly and were translated into 20 foreign languages. They will be available monthly in leading High Street stores including WH Smiths and available to Schools at 25% discount on cover price.

Graphic novels can play an important part in encouraging reading amongst pupils. The flexibility of the comic medium, which is used in graphic novels, means that they can tell complex stories or explain difficult ideas in a simple way. Layouts can be designed in a ‘text heavy’ or ‘text light’ form (from many words to none at all).

Classic Comic Store Ltd is re-launching these enduring classics at a time when graphic novels are gaining a huge following. Jeff Brooks, Managing Director, is a collector and authority on classic comics and graphic novels. Brooks comments - “These timeless novels remind us of the great adventure stories from our youth and still impart their magic today. At a time when we see children reading less and our literacy rates are a great worry, the graphic novel has the potential to get reluctant readers engaged in these wonderful stories, and hopefully encourage them to go on to read the book.”

The series splits into two age groups, Classics Illustrated for the 8 to 14 year age group, bringing to life the works of Dickens, Shakespeare, Verne, Wells and Louis Stevenson. Classics Illustrated Junior, for younger readers, adapts classical fairy tale and folk stories by famous authors including Hans Christian Anderson and the Brothers Grimm in comic form.

Michael Rosen, the Children’s Laureate comments “I like these illustrated Children’s Classics. I’m a great fan of comics and the comic strip and I think these books offer a good way for young readers to get into some of the greatest stories ever told. My three-year old was particularly keen on the Goldilocks one, and has asked for it again and again!”

Schools will be able to buy directly from the Website – and Teacher’s reading packs of six, with example questions and discussion topics, will be available from there. The Classics Illustrated series includes essays on the adapted story and discussion topics to challenge the reader to analyse the work as well as a timeline of events that were happening across the world when the original book was first published.

Brooks concludes – “These classic novels have introduced several generations of children to the greatest characters in literature – Long John Silver, d’Artagnan, Quasimodo and Hamlet, to name just a few – our hope is that Classics Illustrated will engage new readers and help raise literacy levels in children who might be daunted by the perceived challenge of pages of pure text.”

Classics Illustrated will retail at £2.99 and Classics Illustrated Junior at £2.50. 25% Discount will be given to schools. Subscriptions and individual copies will be available from the website from 15th September.


First published in America in 1941, the original series ran until 1971 with over 1 billion sold worldwide; it is estimated that some 3 million were printed per month in over two dozen languages. From 1943 they were distributed to American GIs via the Red Cross and over 5 million were sent to US soldiers across the world. Original copies are highly collectible.

For further information, photographs, interviews or review copies please contact:

Sue Eyles
Bluebird Associates Ltd
Tel: 01628 638001


Jeff Brooks
Classic Comic Store Ltd
Tel: 07836 388534