Penguin Classics Graphic Deluxe Editions Going Strong

By | Monday, June 10, 2024 Leave a Comment
Do you recall back in 2007, there was a bit of news in that Penguin Books began re-releasing some of their Penguin Classics Graphic Deluxe Editions with variant covers by comic book artists? They got folks like Chester Brown, Roz Chast, Jason, and Chris Ware to do new covers for books like Lady Chatterly's Lover, The Portable Dorothy Parker, and Moby-Dick: or, The Whale. Each artist was asked to bring their unique -- usually highly identifable -- style to the work and some of them even did the cover art as not just a single illustration but as an actual comic.

I was reminded of the inititive recently and looked to see if those versions had been kept in print. It turns out that not only are those books still in print, but the program is still ongoing! A new edition of Virginia Woolf's To the Lighthouse came out just last year with a cover by Alison Bechdel. Caroonist R. Kikuo Johnson did a cover for Ernest Hemingway's The Sun Also Rises in 2022. They also got Gene Luen Yang to do the foreword to Wu Cheng'en's Monkey King: Journey to the West that year as well.

I don't have a lot to add to this other than pointing out that I'm generally impressed that Penguin has continued working with graphic novelists for the past almost-two decades. I expect that means the program has done reasonably well. I recall many comics people thought it was cool when they first heard about it, but I think the general assumption was that it was a brief marketin gimmick. But instead it turns out to have been a successul strategy; although it is still a marketing gimmick, it appears to be a good one.
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