Graphic Classics an Alternative to Comics
Parents looking for an alternative to Spiderman, the Fantastic Four and any of the other assorted super heroes that populate the comic books your kids are reading, might be advised to take a look at the Campfire Classics series. A modernized version of the well known Classic Comics series that ran for 30 years from 1941 through 1971, the Campfire series publishes not only graphic versions of classic novels, plays and short stories, but some biographies, myths and even an original piece of fiction every so often.
Aiming at a preteen audience, the series includes such classics as Romeo and Juliet, The Three Musketeers, and Frankenstein in versions that stick fairly closely to the originals. There are biographies of figures like Harry Houdini, the escape artist and the Wright Brothers. The myth collection includes Hercules and Eros and Psyche. Individual books run over seventy pages and include information about the author and the work, as well as a page of activities and related facts of interest as an appendix. At the end of their adaptation of The Merchant of Venice for example, there is a section called "Riddles and Giggles."
The illustrations are gritty and very much echo the style of the modern comic. Individual stories may contain scenes of violence, so parents of younger children will need to check titles with care. The series does include things like The Wind and the Willows, Alice in Wonderland, and The Wizard of Oz.
Illustrated classics judiciously chosen may well whet a child's appetite for the real thing and even if they don't, a child that comes away from them with some knowledge of Treasure Island or The Hound of the Baskervilles has clearly got something worth more that child would have gotten from the latest Batman. Children would be better off learning about Lemuel Gulliver from a graphic novel than they would from Jack Black.