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Graphic Novel Review

Book Cover

Classics Illustrated
No. 4 - The Man in the Iron Mask


Author: Alexandre Dumas
Artist: Ken Battlefield
Classic Comic Store Ltd
RRP: £2.99
ISBN: 978 1 906814 07 6
Available 02 March 2009

The Man in The Iron Mask is brought to life in comic book form thanks to this illustrated version of Alexandre Dumas's famous tale...

The Classics Illustrated series was originally printed over a 30 years period - from 1941 to 1971. It introduced generations of children to some of the most famous stories ever told. Now, Classic Comic Store Ltd is reprinting these publications so that a new generation of children can discover these classics tales.

Volume 4 is Alexandre Dumas's The Man in the Iron Mask. Sadly nowhere in this collection are we told what the original publishing date was for this comic book edition, something that I'm sure would be of interest to the more mature reader.

The text and illustrations have dated considerably but, taking into account when the story is supposed to be set, this doesn't really detract from the collection as a whole.

At the back of this collection we also get a brief biography of Dumas; a look at the real life tale that inspired the story; discussion topics; and a timeline - so that you can understand a little more about what was going on in the world at the time the original book was published. I'm assuming that these were also originally targetted at schools, and the back section are also handy as teacher's notes.

What's great about this series is that it attempts to bring some of the best literature into the homes of children who would probably never discover the original books on their own. So, once they've read the comic book and know the story, there's an interested generated about the legend which may spurn some youngsters into reading up more on the legend.

While not as interesting a story as some of the others in the series, The Man in the Iron Mask is well worth reading.


Darren Rea

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