First Classics, Inc has been licensing and sub-licensing the rights to Classics Illustrated titles from the Frawley Corporation for some time now, the line that adapted classic works of literature into comic book form.
Today, Richard Berger, President of First Classics, Inc has announced the complete purchase of all Classics Illustrated properties from the Frawley Corporation, around 800 titles, on the seventieth anniversary year of their creation.
Richard Berger is also well known as part of the failed attempt to set up a chain of Chicago comic stores under the names of Moondogs and Dream Factory, before the latter was made bankrupt.
Albert Lewis Kanter began the books in October 1941 as Classic Comics, adapting The Three Musketeers. Patrick Frawley bought Classics Illustrated back in 1967 and published it until 1971.
In 1990, Frawley and Richard Berger published a series of new Classics Illustrated books. Classics Illustrated was then licensed by Acclaim from 97 until 98, and in 2002, Classics Illustrated titles were again republished and then licensed overseas. But their appearance has been sporadic to say the least, though they are firm favourites with libraries worldwide. The new deal may add a little more consistency to the line.
What proportion of the published work will be new, as more classic books have gone out of copyright since then, has yet to be determined. But as 70 years of history has proved, Classics Illustrated is a hard line to put down.