I was over at Peta's Journal reading her post of a few days ago, about graphic novels and comics that illustrate fairy tales and fables, etc.
Which got me to remembering all the wonderful Classics Illustrated I read as a kid. (Not to mentions "regular" comics. I'm thankful my parents "let" my sister and me read comics. Reading is reading after all.) Anyway, I wish I still had those Classics Illustrated.
They were a great introduction to classic literature. Early on I mentioned reading Jack London's Call of the Wild, and the influence that had on me.
Here is a list of some of the others I remember reading. I went on to read most of the books these "comics" introduced me to. In some cases I can still see the illustrations in my mind's eye. It was a wonderful thing.
Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, The Last of the Mohicans, A Tale of Two Cities, Robinson Crusoe, The Three Musketeers, Hamlet, Huckleberry Finn, Jane Eyre, Man in the Iron Mask, Rip Van Winkle, The Count of Monte Cristo, The Food of the Gods, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, The Prince and Pauper, The Song of Hiawatha, The Time Machine, Treasure Island, Kidnapped, White Fang
There were many "Classics Illustrated Juniors" too, that illustrated fairy tales, legends and myths, like Rumplestiltskin, The Golden Fleece, Beauty and the Beast, and The Pied Piper, to name a few. And there was a series called "The World Around Us," which introduced me to Vikings, Indians and the Crusades.
Recently, at our little local library, I saw a graphic novel of The Wizard of Oz. Dorothy is illustrated as a girl wearing jeans, living in a modern Kansas city. But (and?) I was pleased to see that the illustrators/authors were true to the original novel. If this is an indication of what is being done today, I say, "Way to go and keep up the good work."
Reading is reading. It's the heart and essence of the story that matters. If you can get a kid to read a classic that's been treated well in this manner, maybe, like me, that kid will go on to one day read the full text. If not, at least they've had a taste and certainly a taste is better than no taste at all.