Recently, a gentleman who has attended a talk I had given asked a familiar question about comics. He wondered if I had heard of the adaptations of classic fiction that he had read and enjoyed in his youth. He argued that they had opened him up to the possibility of reading classics, which, he said, he would never have willingly done otherwise, and that it had led to a lifetime of enthusiastic reading across genres and canons. The same gentleman said that whilst these comics were seen by teachers in his era as ‘cheating’, by which he meant enabling students to avoid reading the full text of books that were part of the curriculum, he thought that they would offer a good plot summary and get key ideas across well. His hope was that they were still available, although he feared that they would be rather dated. Many readers will already have recognised that the texts under discussion are the Classic Illustrated series, which began in the 1940s http://www.classicsillustrated.co.uk. What I'm going to outline here are a number of the different approaches taken by various creators and publishers who have created comic or manga versions of a range of texts. In doing so I hope to show that whilst the memory of the Classic Illustrated series, ably summed up by the gentleman above, is dominant, there are actually a range of ways of thinking about creating and working with such texts. I’m also going to make a few suggestions about ways of using these texts in schools.
|Publication status||Published - Oct 2009|