Pocket Classics Comics From 1984

booksThis was a series of books produced in the 70’s by Pendulum Press. They were comic book versions of classics, done in the style that I always think of as soap opera-serious: severe black and white line drawings meant to communicate reality, accompanied by typed, not printed, dialogue.

In 1984, their parent company Academic Industries released the whole collection–including a sub-series of biographies–as a giant 100-volume or so set of tiny paperbacks.

My older brother got it for me, and that was my introduction to the world of literature. (In fact, I remember him keeping the Beatles biography for himself, and it was searching for that part of the set that finally led me to finding this info online now–so thanks!) Man, I loved those books. Many of them I read until they literally fell apart (the glue in their small spines, alas, was not strong).

These little comics were not dumbed down “Classics Illustrated” titles–they were mature and serious (or at least they felt so to elementary me). I feel like reading them legitimately prepared me to understand the original classics as I got older. Believe it or not, they truly were educational and fun.

At some point, I felt that such a set was childish and they were given away, but I’d love to have them again now. I wish my own children had access to these. I’ve checked, and nobody seems to have a set of them, not eBay, not any vendor–no more than just a handful at a time. It was a beautiful set, but it wasn’t built to last, I guess.

Isn’t this what Google Books is for? Where are they?


17 comments on “Pocket Classics Comics From 1984

  1. I also had this set as a youngster, and look back in them with fondness. Pretty sure I begged my mom to order them off of a TV ad. I am now searching for the full listing of titles in numerical order, but coming up empty. Do you have access to such a list? Thank you!

  2. I received this set as well, although mine wasn’t the complete set, 50 books perhaps, my parents got it for me. It came with narrated double sided cassettes that were a word for word narration complete with sound effects.. I don’t remember what happened to the tapes, perhaps they were thrown out at some point. It’s too bad someone didn’t convert them to CD. I would be interested in finding out who did the narration and track this down, I would love to have it again. Perhaps finding out who contracted the narration would help. I would be interested in finding out some specs on the project, although I can’t find anything online.

    • Alisa, is there a table of contents? Could you take a photo of it? I’ve not been able to track down a complete list of the titles included in the set. Thank you.

        • CLASSICS
          C 1 Black Beauty
          C 2 The Call of the Wild
          C 3 Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde
          C 4 Dracula
          C 5 Frankenstein
          C 6 Huckleberry Finn
          C 7 Moby Dick
          C 8 The Red Badge of Courage
          C 9 The Time Machine
          C10 Tom Sawyer
          C11 Treasure Island
          C12 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea
          C13 The Great Adventures of Sherlock Holmes
          C14 Gulliver’s Travels
          C15 The Hunchback of Notre Dame
          C16 The Invisible Man
          C17 Journey to the Center of the Earth
          C18 Kidnapped
          C19 The Mysterious Island
          C20 The Scarlet Letter
          C21 The Story of My Life
          C22 A Tale of Two Cities
          C23 The Three Musketeers
          C24 The War of the Worlds
          C25 Around the World in Eighty Days
          C26 Captains Courageous
          C27 A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court
          C28 The Hound of the Baskervilles
          C29 The House of the Seven Gables
          C30 Jane Eyre
          C31 The Last of the Mohicans
          C32 The Best of 0. Henry
          C33 The Best of Poe
          C34 Two Years Before the Mast
          C35 White Fang
          C36 Wuthering Heights
          C37 Ben Hur
          C38 A Christmas Carol
          C39 The Food of the Gods
          C40 Ivanhoe
          C41 The Man in the Iron Mask
          C42 The Prince and the Pauper
          C43 The Prisoner of Zenda
          C44 The Return of the Native
          C45 Robinson Crusoe
          C46 The Scarlet Pimpernel
          C47 The Sea Wolf
          C48 The Swiss Family Robinson
          C49 Billy Budd
          C50 Crime and Punishment
          C51 Don Quixote
          C52 Great Expectations
          C53 Heidi
          C54 The llliad
          C55 Lord Jim
          C56 The Mutiny on Board H.M.S. Bounty
          C57 The Odyssey
          C58 Oliver Twist
          C59 Pride and Prejudice
          C60 The Turn of the Screw

          S 1 As You Like It
          S 2 Hamlet
          S 3 Julius Caesar
          S 4 King Lear
          S 5 Macbeth
          S 6 The Merchant of Venice
          S 7 A Midsummer Night’s Dream
          S 8 Othello
          S 9 Romeo and Juliet
          S10 The Taming of the Shrew
          S11 The Tempest
          S12 Twelfth Night

          B 1 Charles Lindbergh
          B 2 Amelia Earhart
          B 3 Houdini
          B 4 Walt Disney
          B 5 Davy Crockett
          B 6 Daniel Boone
          B 7 Elvis Presley
          B 8 The Beatles
          B 9 Benjamin Franklin
          B10 Martin Luther King, Jr.
          B11 Abraham Lincoln
          B12 Franklin D. Roosevelt
          B13 George Washington
          B14 Thomas Jefferson
          B15 Madame Curie
          B16 Albert Einstein
          B17 Thomas Edison
          B18 Alexander Graham Bell
          B19 Vince Lombardi
          B20 Pele
          B21 Babe Ruth
          B22 Jackie Robinson
          B23 Jim Thorpe
          B24 Althea Gibson

          I also Have Full Color animated Printouts that were made by Saddleback Illustrated Publishing, and Full dramatized word for word readalongs for all the following books:

          20,000 Leagues under the Sea A Christmas Carol
          A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthurs Court
          A Tale of Two Cities
          Around the World in 80 Days
          Best of Poe
          Black Beauty
          Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde
          Gullivers Travels
          Huckleberry Finn Jane Eyre
          Journey to the Center of the Earth
          Moby Dick
          Mutiny on Board H.M.S Bounty
          Romeo and Juliet
          Sherlock Holmes
          Swiss Family Robinson
          The Call of the Wild
          The Hunchback of Notre Dame
          The Invisible Man
          The Last of a Mohicans
          The Man in the Iron Mask
          The Mysterious Island
          The Prince and the Pauper
          The Red Badge of Courage
          The Scarlet Letter
          The Taming of the Shrew
          The Three Musketeers
          The Time Machine
          Tom Sawyer
          Treasure Island
          War of the Worlds

          The only book I do not have from the collection is the one for the Beatles.
          I have a large quanity of extra books, if anyone was interested in getting any to finish a set.

  3. Hi, Jason, I’d be interested in possibly getting some of your extra books. How can I get in contact with you? And how much would you ask for each one? Thanks!

  4. I had the base set (no Shakespeare nor biographies) as a kid, and loved them. Believe it’s one reason why I enjoy literature as an adult. I was fortunate enough to come across an almost complete set on ebay a few months ago at a reasonable price….they’ve clearly not been read, and appear to have never been opened. I gifted them to my 10 year old for Christmas, and he really enjoys them. They did a great job with these!

    You can occasionally find them on ebay…..I simply set an email alert for related keywords. There are still sets out there in great condition for reasonable prices.


  5. I had these too growing up, LOVED them. They helps give me alive for classic literature and go on a read the real books.
    I had been looking for them for 20 years, especially the Don Quixote one.
    I finally found it!
    Classic Comic Store in the UK has HEAPS of them. Good luck!

  6. I got a boxed set in the 80’s for my children. only the classics would love to get the shakespeare set and the bios set I am giving them to my grandchildren

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