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Classics Illustrated Junior Returns
By Brian Jacks


Once upon a time, a child of seven, Albert Kanter entered the United States with hopes and dreams of a wonderful new world. United States was a land of opportunity, prosperity and a place where dreams come true.

Albert's dream was to introduce classic literature to young readers through the comic book medium. In October 1941, during the Second World War, he launched Classic Comics with issue #1, The Three Musketeers. In total, 169 issues were produced.

Based on the success of the Classics Illustrated comics, Albert decided to provide reading to the younger readers also. In October 1953, Classics Illustrated Junior was born with the first issue being #501, Snow White and The Seven Dwarfs. In total, 77 issues were produced.

A darkness then covered the land when Albert Kanter passed away in 1973. The man can die, but the dream lives on. After 50 years, and to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Classics Illustrated Junior comic series, Jack Lake Productions Inc., (from Toronto, Canada) has embarked to relaunch the entire Classics Illustrated Junior line. The goal, their publisher says, "is to reintroduce Albert Kanter's dream of providing meaningful, intelligent literature to today's young readers to invoke hope, imagination, values and the ability to distinguish between right and wrong."

Article continued below advertisement

While details are sketchy, the publisher says they have brought together art directors, graphic designers, marketing and sales professionals from around the world to undertake this task.

Through digital technology, the company says every page and cover will be reproduced to enhance and embellish the original artwork. The comics are a slightly smaller trim size, 6 1/2-inches x 9 1/2-inches; however, the comics will be printed on a white bond paper stock versus the original newsprint stock. This stock change will provide for more brilliant colors on each comic panel, the company says. The 32-page count will be retained. No corporate advertising will appear anywhere in the comic book. French and Spanish versions will also be offered.

Each comic is broken down into 5 sections: The main story; Aesop's Fables or other mini-tale; Poem or nursery rhyme; an Animal Kingdom page; and finally, a color-me page.

Each of the authors are reknown writers of children's literature: Jacob & Wilhelm Grimm, Hans Christian Andersen, Charles Perrault, Robert Browning, William Godwin, Robert Southey, Gianfrancesco Straparola, Carlo Collodi, W.B. Laughead, John Ruskin, L. Frank Baum, Nathaniel Hawthorne and Lafcadio Hearn.

The first issue, #570, The Pearl Princess by the Grimm brothers, will hit newsstands in Spring 2003.


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