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Graphic Novel Review

Book Cover

Classics Illustrated
No. 6 - A Journey to the Centre of the Earth


Author: Jules Verne
Artist: Norman Nodel
Classic Comic Store Ltd
RRP: £2.99
ISBN: 978 1 906814 15 1
Available 02 March 2009

Professor Lidenbrock discovers a note in an old Icelandic book. The note is written by Arne Saknussemm, a great Icelandic scientist, who appears to have found a route to the centre of the Earth via a volcano. Lidenbrock and his nephew Axel set off to see if they can follow in the footsteps of Saknussemm and make their way to the centre of the Earth...

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 6 is Jules Verne's classic A Journey to the Centre of the Earth. 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.

To be honest, I've not read the original book since I was a child, and if I'd picked up this graphic novel first I doubt I'd bother with the book - as it just seems such a dull story. Nothing much happens, they only really witness two prehistoric monsters, and they're back home in no time at all - with no explanation of why the wooden raft they are on doesn't get set on fire by the lava.

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 Verne; 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 find the book so that they can read the original.

Sadly, this adaptation seems rather dull in a time when movies and TV shows (like Jurassic Park and Primeval) are throwing a constant stream of dinosaurs, and people in peril, at kids.


Darren Rea

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