Marvel Classics Comics was an American comics magazine which ran from 1976 until 1978. It specialized in adaptations of literary classics such as Moby-Dick, The Three Musketeers, and The Iliad. It was Marvel Comics’ attempt to pick up the mantle of Classics Illustrated, which stopped publishing in 1971. 36 issues of Marvel Classics Comics were published, 12 of them being reprints of another publisher’s work.
Classics Illustrated, created by Albert Kanter, began publication in 1941 and finished its first run in 1971, producing 169 issues. Editor Vincent Fago’s Pendulum Now Age Classics, published by Pendulum Press, began adapting literary classics into black-and-white comics beginning in 1973. The Pendulum series was the direct antecedent to Marvel Classics Comics — in fact, the Marvel series’ first twelves issues were colorized reprints of selected Pendulum comics, with new covers. These issues featured writers like Otto Binder, Kin Platt, and Irwin Shapiro doing the adaptations; with art by Filipino artists Alex Niño, Rudy Nebres, and E. R. Cruz, among others.
Issues in the Marvel Classics Comics series were 52 pages with no advertisements. Most of the titles in the series had previously been adapted in Classics Illustrated, but two new ones were added: Bram Stoker’s Dracula (issue #9, a Pendulum Press reprint) and H. Rider Haggard’s She (issue #24).
After the first twelve reprint issues, adaptations were handled by writers like Doug Moench and John Warner (Warner was the series editor from issue #13–24). Many issues were drawn by Dino Castrillo; artists like Jess Jodloman, Yong Montaño, and Rudy Mesina also had multiple contributions. Ernie Chan was in charge of most of the early covers. Michael Golden’s first work for Marvel Comics was “The Cask of Amontillado”, a backup story in Marvel Classics Comics #28 (1977) adapting an Edgar Allan Poe short story.
In 1984, Marvel teamed with Fisher-Price to re-issue a selection of Marvel Classics Comics titles in toy stores, packaged with a cassette tape of the book.
Original run (1976-1978)
Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, adapted by Kin Platt and Nestor Redondo
The Time Machine, adapted by Otto Binder and Alex Niño
The Hunchback of Notre-Dame, adapted by Naunerle Farr and Jun Lofamia
Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea, adapted by Otto Binder and Romy Gaboa & Ernie Patricio
Black Beauty, adapted by Naunerle Farr and Rudy Nebres
Gulliver’s Travels, adapted by John Norwood Fago and E. R. Cruz
Tom Sawyer, adapted by Irwin Shapiro and E. R. Cruz
Moby-Dick, adapted by Irwin Shapiro and Alex Niño & Dan Adkins
Dracula, adapted by Naunerle Farr and Nestor Redondo
The Red Badge of Courage, adapted by Irwin Shapiro and E. R. Cruz
The Mysterious Island, adapted by Otto Binder and E. R. Cruz
The Three Musketeers, adapted by Naunerle Farr and Alex Niño
The Last of the Mohicans
The War of the Worlds
The Count of Monte Cristo
Master of the World
Food of the Gods, adapted by Doug Moench and Sonny Trinidad
The Invisible Man
The Pit and the Pendulum
The Prisoner of Zenda
The First Men in the Moon — cover mistakenly attributes authorship of the original novel to Jules Verne
The Prince and the Pauper
Alice in Wonderland
A Christmas Carol