Classical Comics Come To The USA

Summary – We’ve all seen and heard of the “graphic novel” adaptations of Shakespeare’s work.  I guess I didn’t realize that this outfit is in the UK, and has only just now secured a US publisher.  I like the fact that they’ve got a quote from Patrick Stewart at the end, who manages to be complimentary while still saying “for me the original Shakespeare is always my reason for turning to these plays.”  Exactly.  They are companion pieces, not replacements.  I’ve already written back to ask if they’re doing The Tempest. UPDATE:  Karen writes back, “The Tempest should be January 2009. Together with Richard III and Romeo and Juliet.  Then Hamlet.” [Press Release] Just seven months after the publication of their first book, Henry V, Classical Comics have secured distribution for their range of titles throughout USA and Canada. Classical Comics, whose first book Henry V won Silver at this year’s Independent Publisher awards in Los Angeles, have signed an agreement with California-based Publishers Group West (PGW) to distribute both British English and US English versions of their graphic novel adaptations of literary classics, which will be available from October. Chairman of Classical Comics, Clive Bryant said, “We’re delighted to have PGW as the distributor of our books. America and Canada present a massive opportunity for us, and knowing PGW are there to advise and guide us as we start out in these territories is hugely reassuring. Because our books are attractive to both retail and educational sectors, it was important for us to find a distributor that was strong in both areas – which PGW are. With distribution in place, it’s now a case of flowing the books into the market and raising awareness in these territories, just as we did in the UK – which is very exciting indeed.” Classical Comics’ pioneering multiple text versions of well-loved literature have already proven to be a success around the globe, particularly with students and teachers, who welcome this vibrant, colourful way of introducing the classics. Kevin Votel, VP Director of Marketing & Business Development for Publishers Group West, said, “We are delighted to be working with Classical Comics.  What they are doing with classical book content is completely unique and we’re excited to be partnering with them to bring their list to the market place.” PGW will launch the Winter 2008 season with the first five books in the series: Henry V (Shakespeare), Macbeth (Shakespeare), Jane Eyre (Brontë), Frankenstein (Shelley) and A Christmas Carol (Dickens). [Ends] Contact Karen Wenborn on 0845 812 3000 [email protected] Notes to editors Copies of Henry V and Macbeth are available on request Images/sample artwork/text are available on request Copies of the teaching resources are available on request Classical Comics are UK publishers who are creating engaging versions of literary classics, by converting the timeless stories into stunning, full colour graphic novels. Spearheaded by Clive Bryant, Chairman, following his successful exit from a business start-up, he was joined by Karen Wenborn as Managing Director in May 2007. The core team was cemented when Jo Wheeler became Creative Director soon afterwards. To quote Clive, “Neither Karen or I have a publishing background, but we’re both strong businesspeople, and are probably overly enthusiastic about books, literacy and education. Jo comes from a print background, so we rely on her to make sure the end product is right.” As well as meeting the criteria of being strong in colour, dynamic in action, vibrant, engaging and exciting, the books have a myriad of applications in education across all ages and skill levels. The team of scriptwriters include teachers, playwrights and novelists, while the artists range from newspaper stalwarts to Spiderman creators and Eagle award winners. “I’m fascinated by your approach to the play and its language. I find them gripping, dramatic and, although for me the original Shakespeare is always my reason for turning to these plays, I think that what you are doing in illuminating and making perhaps more lucid, especially for young people, is clever and meaningful.” – Patrick Stewart, Actor “This is a fun way of getting into the stories. 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.
The genius of Shakespeare is in the language but for some students understanding it can be a struggle. It will be useful for teachers to have three different versions of the text.”
– Ian McNeilly, director of the National Association for the Teaching of English “What a marvellous way to bring Shakespeare to new audiences and venues.
Bridging 400 years with a graphic pen is brilliant.”
– Barbara Romer, founder of The New Globe Theater, New York

3 thoughts on “Classical Comics Come To The USA

  1. For christmas, my husband bought my daughter a fantastic graphic novel of King Lear. She was in it this past summer, and he thought that it would be an amazing thing for her to have.

    and it is.

    by the way — i made a purchase from Shakespeare’s Den for my daughter… I blogged it here, if you would like to read it:

  2. I suspect that some of these are in fact much older than the recent publication suggests – I notice the credits on at least one of them is for an artist who did ‘Graphic’ Shakespeare back in the 1980s – full text (no cutting) and the best thing since sliced bread for teenage ‘boys’ (girls tended to be disdainful) with a hatred of Shakespeare (before they’d ever seen a word).
    They went a long way to reading a performance experience – so were far superior to just the text.

  3. Morning you knowledgable people!
    Wonder if anyone would like to suggest which Shakespeare books we should cover next? In the UK it’s so much easier, the curriculum is published with set texts and recommended plays. Can’t find the same for the USA, so assuming a state-by-state set up. Is that correct? So, answers/suggestions on a virtual postage plese…or to me at [email protected]

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