Classics Illustrated were comic book adaptations from classic literature, a series that Russian-born Albert Lewis Kanter (1897-1973) began in 1941 for Elliot Publishing. Over the years the titles have been published by various companies, including First Comics in the early nineties, Jack Lake Productions Inc. in 2003 and most recently Papercutz, starting in late 2007. Introduced under the title Classic Comics, the series started in October 1941, with a 64-page adaptation of Alexandre Dumas’ The Three Musketeers, followed by Ivanhoe and The Count of Monte Cristo. With the fourth issue, The Last of the Mohicans, Kanter began his own Gilberton Publications. The first 12 issues had 64 pages, but wartime paper shortages forced Kanter to reduce each issue to 56 pages. In 1947, after the first 34 issues, Kanter changed the title from Classic Comics to Classics Illustrated, a logo with a high visibility over the next 15 years because Kanter, unlike other comic book publishers, kept his titles in print, going back to press with occasional reprintings. In 1948, rising paper costs resulted in a reduction from 56 pages to 48 pages. In addition to the illustrated adaptations, the books featured biographical profiles, educational fillers and house ads (but no outside advertising). This 48-page format continued throughout the run. Between 1941 and 1962, sales totaled 200 million on Gilberton’s Classics Illustrated adaptations of great works of literature, including Don Quixote, Frankenstein, Hamlet, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Jane Eyre, Lord Jim, Macbeth, Moby-Dick, Oliver Twist, The Red Badge of Courage, Silas Marner and A Tale of Two Cities. Kanter also began several spin-offs, including The World Around Us and the 77-issue Classics Illustrated Junior with fairy tales and folk tales for younger readers. Lou Cameron was the illustrator of The War of the Worlds (#124, January 1955) and The Time Machine (#133, July 1956). Other artists who contributed to Classics Illustrated included Jack Abel, Stephen Addeo, Dik Browne. Sid Check, Leonard B. Cole, Reed Crandall, George Evans, Graham Ingels, Henry C. Kiefer, Alex Blum, Everett Raymond Kinstler, Jack Kirby, Roy Krenkel, Gray Morrow, Joe Orlando, Norman Nodel, Rudolph Palais, Norman Saunders, John Severin, Joe Sinnott, Angelo Torres, Al Williamson and George Woodbridge. Kanter’s last new issue was Faust (#167, August 1962), and in 1967 he sold his company to Twin Circle publisher Patrick Frawley, who brought out two more issues but mainly concentrated on foreign sales and reprinting older titles. After four years, Twin Circle discontinued the line because of poor distribution. Classics Illustrated had many foreign editions. The American editions had 169 titles with many specials. By the early 1970s, Classics Illustrated and Junior had been discontinued, although the Classics Illustrated branding would be used on at least one made-for-TV film, an adaptation of The Legend of Sleepy Hollow. In 1990, First Comics partnered with Berkeley Publishing to acquire the rights and Classics Illustrated returned with new adaptations and a line-up of artists that included Kyle Baker, Dean Motter, Mike Ploog, P. Craig Russell, Bill Sienkiewicz, Joe Staton and Gahan Wilson. However, First’s line lasted a little over a year.