“The Last of the Mohicans” and “Jane Eyre” are two of the first “Classics Illustrated” comic books that Comixology will republish digitally.
In the mid 20th century, Classics Illustrated comics were the salvation of students faced with the grim prospect of creating book report on titles such as “Silas Marner” or “Moby Dick.” Now hundreds of literary classics adapted and illustrated as comics in the pages of “Classics Illustrated” are going digital.
Digital comics distributor, Comixology said Wednesday it made a deal with Trajectory Inc. to bring the entire 120-issue run of “Classics Illustrated” to its digital storefront within several months, with the first titles to include adaptations of H.G. Wells’ “The War of the Worlds,” James Fenimore Cooper’s “The Last of the Mohicans” and Charlotte Bronte’s “Jane Eyre,” among others.
Classics Illustrated was a comic book series featuring adaptations of literary classics. Created by Albert Kanter, the series began publication in 1941. Some titles were packaged in gift boxes with specific themes such as adventure or mystery. Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (issue 13) and Uncle Tom’s Cabin (issue 15) – were both cited in Dr. Fredric Wertham’s infamous 1954 condemnation of comic books Seduction of the Innocent.
Original edition Classic Comics in near mint condition command prices in the thousands of dollars.
Founded in 2007, ComiXology revolutionized the comic book and graphic novel industry by delivering a cloud-based digital comics platform – ComiXology’s Guided View™. Its reading technology transformed the comic book medium into an immersive experience, helping the company propel itself to one of iTunes top 10 grossing iPad apps in 2011 and 2012. Its vast library offering comic book content from the top 75 publishers, as well as independent creators.
At this year’s New York Comic Con, the company announced a dramatic readership increase since its launch in 2007. TechHive reports that six years ago, women represented less than 5 percent of ComiXology users; now that figure has sky-rocketed to 20 percent. Even more intriguing, the company knows their exact demographic: “She’s 17-26 years old, college-educated, lives in the suburbs, and is new to comics. She prefers Tumblr to Reddit. She may have never even picked up a print comic.”
This readership information arrives just two weeks after the company announced it has surpassed 200 million downloads — impressive since it took three years to reach the 100-million milestone, but just a year to double that. In that time, ComiXology opened a Paris branch (leading to distribution agreements with French publishers Delcourt, Glénat and a dozen others, and, just this week, Viz Media Europe), struck partnerships with Seven Seas, UDON, Scholastic’s Graphix imprint and (again, just this week) Avatar Press, and expanded its deal with DC Comics.
It seems likely we’ll see ComiXology readership statistics rise once more in the next 12 months.