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Graphic Novel Review

Book Cover

Classics Illustrated
No. 2 - Oliver Twist


Author: Charles Dickens
Adapted by: Alfred Sundel
Artists: Reed Crandall and George Evans
Classic Comic Store Ltd
RRP: £2.99
ISBN: 978 1 906814 03 8
Available 02 March 2009

Charles Dickens's classic tale of Oliver Twist is brought to life in comic book form. This illustrated version of the tale revolving around childhood in Victorian times will delight readers of all ages. From those who remember the original Classics Illustrated, to new readers who will love this telling of the traditional 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 2 is Charles Dickens's classic Oliver Twist. I'm guessing that this comic was originally printed in 1957 (as in the credits at the start of the book it attributes the date of the cover painting as 1957). 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 Dickens; plot and themes running through 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 a panel that entices them to search out the original book so that they can read the story as intended.

The only slight problem I had was that the story, as reproduced here, was a little difficult to follow in places. More could have been done to make the plot a little clearer, especially as this is designed to retell the tale to younger readers who will then hopefully go on to read the original book.


Darren Rea

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