Classical Comics

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Classical Comics
Industry Publishing
Genre literary adaptations
Founded 2007
Founder Clive Bryant
Headquarters Birmingham,, United Kingdom
Key people
Gary Bryant
Products Graphic novels
Number of employees
Parent Classical Comics Enterprises
Website Official website

Classical Comics is a British publisher of graphic novel adaptations of the great works of literature, including Shakespeare, Charlotte Brontë and Dickens.


All of the volumes will be published as graphic novels. Art is being provided by British artists, most of whom have a long history of working in British comics. Some of the releases, in particular the Shakespeare, will come in three different versions: the original text, plain text and quick text, designed to allow readers with different needs to pick the version that bests suits them.[1]

Classical Comics chairman, Clive Bryant has stated "We want to make Shakespeare as energetic and colourful as Spider-man"[2] The aim is not just to aid in English literature classes but also in other areas: Karen Wenborn, the managing director, has said "We, and the teachers we’ve consulted, can visualize huge benefits within the education process using the books, not only for literacy and literature, but also drama, art and history."[3]

In April 2008 Classical Comics signed a distribution deal with book&volume to cover Australia and New Zealand. In June 2008 they announced two further distributions deals. Publishers Group West will be releasing British English and American English versions of Classical Comics' titles in the US and Canada[4] and Ittosha are going to be translating the books into Japanese.[5]

Classical Comics are also adapting their comics into other media and have turned their Macbeth graphic novel into an interactive motion comic with actors like Derek Jacobi and Juliet Stevenson voicing the roles.[6] Jon Haward, the artist on Macbeth and The Tempest, moved into the role of art direction for the Hamlet adaptation, providing character designs and rough page outlines for pencilled David Lorenzo to work with.[7]


The National Association for the Teaching of English is supporting the project. "This is a fun way of getting into the stories", the director Ian McNeilly said. "Plays are not meant to be read, but to be seen. The illustrations in these books are an easy way of following what is going on".[8] Wenborn has also reported that focus groups were "incredibly enthusiastic"[9] and The Guardian, who examined the version of MacBeth, has suggested that "it will also, surely, suck some more young readers into the brilliant darkness of this play."[10]

However, they have also been accused, by newspapers like the Daily Mail, of dumbing down the original text, especially with the very simplified versions. They quote Dr Bernard Lamb, of the Queen's English Society, as saying "Pupils may just enjoy the cartoons and not connect it with Shakespeare and they won't be much of a contribution to education" and that "A lot of the beauty of Shakespeare is in the language more than the plot."[11]



  • 2008:
    • Won the Silver Medal "Graphic Novel/Drawn Book – Drama/Documentary" Independent Publisher Book Award, for Henry V.[25]
  • 2009:
    • Won the Bronze Medal "Graphic Novel/Drawn Book – Drama/Documentary" Independent Publisher Book Award, for Macbeth.[26]
    • Association of Educational Publishers 2009 Winner - Distinguished Achievement Award in grades 9-12 'Frankenstein'
  • 2010
    • Romeo & Juliet graphic novels win "Distinguished Achievement Award" for Curriculum, Reading and Language Arts, grades 9-12.
  • 2012:
    • 'Wuthering Heights' by Scottish writer Sean Michael Wilson,[27] and hand painted by comic book veteran artist John M Burns, received a nomination for the Stan Lee Excelsior Awards, 2012 voted for by pupils from 170 schools across the UK.
    • Finalist in the Education Resources Awards 2012 for Best Secondary Resource or Equipment - involving ICT Macbeth Interactive Motion Comic[28]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Clive Bryant on Classical Comics, Newsarama, November 8, 2007
  2. ^ Then lend the eye an easy aspect, Times Educational Supplement, August 17, 2007
  3. ^ Classics as graphic novels? Have your say!, National Association for the Teaching of English, June 29, 2007
  4. ^ Classical Comics To Launch In The USA And Canada With Pgw,, June 11, 2008
  5. ^ Classical Comics Reverses The Flow! Graphic Novels To Be Published In Japanese,, June 23, 2008
  6. ^ Flood, Alison (March 1, 2010). "Schools test 'interactive graphic novel' version of Macbeth". The Guardian. Retrieved March 4, 2010. 
  7. ^ Jordan, Melanie C. "Jon Haward". Imagine Daily. Retrieved March 4, 2010. 
  8. ^ To be or not to be dumb, The Sunday Tribune, September 2, 2007
  9. ^ Shakespeare gets comic treatment, BBC, May 11, 2007
  10. ^ Something wicked this way comes, The Guardian, February 25, 2008
  11. ^ Shakespeare dumbed down in comic strips for bored pupils, Daily Mail, August 17, 2007
  12. ^ Classical Comics - Bringing classics to life
  13. ^ Classical Comics - Bringing classics to life
  14. ^ Classical Comics - Bringing classics to life
  15. ^ Classical Comics - Bringing classics to life
  16. ^ Classical Comics - Bringing classics to life
  17. ^ Classical Comics - Bringing classics to life
  18. ^ Talking Classical Comics with Declan Shalvey, Comics Bulletin, November 20, 2008
  19. ^ Classical Comics - Bringing classics to life
  20. ^ Classical Comics - Bringing classics to life
  21. ^ Classical Comics - Bringing classics to life
  22. ^
  23. ^
  24. ^
  25. ^ Announcing 2008 Independent Publisher Book Awards Results
  26. ^ Announcing 2009 IPPY Awards National and Regional Results
  27. ^ Sean Michael Wilson
  28. ^


External links[edit]