I have this unwritten rule with Classics Illustrated issues: if I see a book that looks interesting and it’s under $2.00, I will probably grab it. That’s important because sometimes those books go for upwards of $5, especially if they’re in good condition and I honestly am not here to collect CGC-quality copies. In fact, most of the issues I own are beat up and sit in a bin in my classroom. This is all to say that I was following that rule when I saw “The Knights of the Round Table” issue in my LCS’ back issue bins.
So I picked it up. I have an interest in and growing love for Arthurian Legend, although I admit that I haven’t read enough beyond Le Morte D’Arthur and watching Excalibur. I am slowly working my way through the Pendragon RPG manual (sent courtesy of Gene Hendricks) and am compiling a list of what I could be reading. Perhaps one day I will actually get around to a full Arthurian Legend reading project. For now, it’s fun with stuff like this.
The Classics Illustrated issue is exactly what you’d expect. It’s a 22-page version of the King Arthur story. I don’t know what the specific source material is or if it’s taken from a variety of sources. The date on the issue is 1953, and there were a number of films that touched upon the story during that era along with comic strips like Hal Foster’s Prince Valiant. I would therefore imagine that people would have been pretty familiar with it, especially through children’s books. So, whomever wrote and drew this was not only doing the typical Classics Illustrated thing, they were also channeling what kids were regularly seeing.
Is the story any good? Well, it’s basically a highlight reel of the more well-knowng Arthurian stories, and something you’d expect from a publication like this. And naturally, it also avoids some of the more lascivious parts of the legend (i.e., Mordred’s origin story as well as all of Morgaine Le Fay). In the end, it wound up being a fun read, partly because I enjoy the subject matter, partly because it’s an artifact from my parents’ youth, and partly because it was one of the better done issues of the series.
This went right in my classroom comics bin. Not sure if anyone will take a look at it, but I figured I’d put it out there.
Keep, Sell, Donate, or Trash?
Keep (for the classroom)