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Classics Illustrated - Frequently Asked Questions - answering those little conundrums that fascinate and confuse us about this extraordinary Comic Book series.
 
Within this page you will find explanations to some common terms used in describing various issues. For instance, what is meant by HRN, when is a CI an original edition, what do we mean by LDC and PCV? Now some visitors to the site may know all of this but for those new collectors I hope these explanations prove to be helpful.
 
Question 1: What is meant by the Highest Re-order Number (HRN) on the Classics Illustrated series?
Answer: The HRN is more often than not found on the back of the comic. On the back (or sometimes inside the front or back covers) you should find a list of the other Classics Illustrated titles that were in print when the comic that you are looking at was published. This list can go up to number 169 - Negro Americans - the Early Years, which was the last CI ever published. Thus, if you had a comic which had that title as the last one listed, the HRN on that comic would be 169. Common HRN's include 126 - The Downfall and129 - Davy Crockett (in the British series) and 167 – Faust in the US series. It merely provides the collector with an idea of what version he or she is buying and how old the comic is. Some of the titles were re-printed over a dozen times and the HRN allows us to ascertain what re-print run that particular issue was part of.
 
Question 2: What is the difference between the different editions of each of the Classics Illustrated series?
Answer: In the main the editions are pretty much the same as each other. The original edition is distinctive (see Question 4 below - What is meant by an Original issue of a CI?) and at certain different editions the cover would change from Line Drawn (LDC) to Painted (PCV) and then to a second Painted cover (PCV2) (see Question 3). Also, at certain editions, new interior artwork would be introduced - see Question 5.
 
Question 3: What is the difference between a Line Drawn Cover and a Painted Cover on the CI series?
Answer: Initially, Gilberton, the American publishers of Classics Illustrated (see CI History page), published the comic with a rather basic and "cartoonish" cover drawing. This is known as the Line Drawn Cover or LDC. On later issues however, whilst most of the inner artwork would remain the same (with some exceptions) a Painted Cover Version (PCV) would replace the LDC. It is the PCV's that we probably all remember most, but, because they were produced earlier, it is the LDC versions that cost more and grow in value more quickly. Later, Gilberton would re-issue some titles with a second Painted Cover (PCV2) and these are very sought after because, with one or two exceptions, they were not produced in the UK. Some of the titles in the US series was only ever printed in the LDC format (for instance, Great Expectations) but the UK publishers produced a PCV of them and these are very sought after.
 
   
Line Drawn Cover   First Painted Cover   Second Painted Cover
 
Question 4: What is meant by an Original issue of a CI?
Answer: Many collectors are keen to collect original editions. These cost more and more sought after and appreciate in value more quickly. An original version will normally have a HRN that is the one before its own number. So the HRN on no. 56, The Toilers of The Sea, will be no. 55 - Silas Marner. Original issues are also identifiable because they have an advert inside the front cover of the next title that is to be published - in Toilers of the Sea this is no. 57 - Hiawatha. I mention Toilers as an example here because I believe it was the first Classic Illustrated to sell for in excess of $1000 in 2001!! That was an Original in flawless, virtually mint condition. So the Originals are like a first edition of a book and attract a premium in the same way.
 
Question 5: Many of the Classics series had new interior artwork drawn - how can I tell which is which?
Answer: You may want to purchase one of the reference books for sale to study the series fully including the different artists for both covers and interiors (click button on left). However the list below outlines the interior artwork changes (all other editions had only one interior artwork):
  1. The Three Musketeers had new interior artwork from edition 15

  2. Ivanhoe had new interior artwork from edition 14

  3. The Count of Monte Cristo had new interior artwork from edition 14

  4. The Last of the Mohicans had new interior artwork from edition 15

  5. Moby Dick had new interior artwork from edition 14

  6. A Tale of Two Cities had new interior artwork from edition 11

  7. Robin Hood had new interior artwork from edition 14

  8. Arabian Nights had new interior artwork from edition 8

  9. Les Miserables had new interior artwork from edition 9

  10. Robinson Crusoe had new interior artwork from edition 12

  11. Rip Van Winkle had new interior artwork from edition 12

  12. Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde had new interior artwork from edition 9

  13. Uncle Tom’s Cabin has only the one interior artwork

  14. The Hunchback of Notre Dame had new interior artwork from edition 13

  15. Huckleberry Finn had new interior artwork from edition 11

  16. Oliver Twist had new interior artwork from edition 12

  17. A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court had new interior artwork from edition 8

  18. The Last Days of Pompeii had new interior artwork from edition 2

  19. Typee had new interior artwork for one of the UK editions and numbered 116 - this interior artwork was not produced in any of the US issues

  20. The Adventures of Cellini had new interior artwork from edition 2

  21. Jane Eyre had new interior artwork from edition 9

  22. Swiss Family had new interior artwork from edition 9

  23. Tom Brown’s Schooldays had new interior artwork from edition 3

  24. The Adventures of Tom Sawyer had new interior artwork from edition 11

  25. The House of the Seven Gables had new interior artwork from edition 4

  26. The Man in the Iron Mask had new interior artwork from edition 4

  27. The Toilers of the Sea had new interior artwork from edition 2

  28. Black Beauty had new interior artwork from edition 4

  29. The Man Without a Country had new interior artwork from edition 4

  30. Julius Caesar had new interior artwork from edition 5

  31. The Man Who Laughs had new interior artwork from edition 2

  32. The Jungle Book had new interior artwork from edition 12

  33. The Gold Bug had new interior artwork for one of the UK editions - this interior artwork was not produced in any of the US issues

  34. The First Men in the Moon had new interior artwork from edition 6

Question 6: What is meant by a Stiff Cover Version?
Answer: After Patrick Frawley bought the rights to publish these comics from Albert Kanter (see CI History page) he printed many of the series with a stiff card cover – these aren’t hardbacks but the cover is heavier than the old glossy paper based cover and wears better as a result. These were printed in the late sixties before Frawley gave up on the series in 1970.
 
Question 7: What is the difference between a US issue and a British issue (beyond the difference in currency as a price)?
Answer: The British issues were generally printed on better paper than in the US and with better, more vibrant inks – consequently they have more appeal on the eye but they cost a bit more since less were printed over here. If you did have these as a child, however, you are likely to have had some of both since many US issues were shipped over here and a shillings and pence price sticker affixed over the cents price.
 
Question 8: What issues were printed in the US and not printed in the British series?
Answer: There were fifteen published in the US that were never published in the UK: 21 - Three Famous Mysteries
26 - Frankenstein
33 - The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes
44 - Mysteries of Paris
66 - The Cloister and the Hearth
76 - The Prisoner of Zenda
83 - The Jungle Book
92 - The Courtship of Miles Standish
95 - All Quiet on the Western Front
102 - The White Company
110 - A Study in Scarlet
117 - Captains Courageous
136 - Lord Jim
143 - Kim
169 - Negro Americans
 
Question 9: What issues were printed in the UK and not printed in the US series?
Answer: There were thirteen published in the UK that were never published in the US:

143 - Sail with the Devil
146 - The Adventures of Baron Munchausen
147 - Through the Looking Glass
148 - Nights of Terror
149 - The Gorilla Hunters
150 - The Canterville Ghost
156 - The Dog Crusoe
157 - The Queen of Spades
158A - Dr No
159 - Master and Man
161 - The Aeneid
162 - Saga of the North
163 - The Argonauts
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