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Albert Kantner
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Publisher
    (April 11, 1897-March 17, 1973)
    Born in Baranovitch, Russian Federation
    In 1941, began publishing what was to become known as 'Classics Illustrated,' a line of comic books that gave literary classics such as 'War of the Worlds (pictured) the comic book treatment
    Also began publishing 'Classics Illustrated Junior' giving fairy tales the comic book treatment for small children in 1953
    169 total issues including the first issue, 'The Three Musketeers'
    Other titles included; Ivanhoe, Oliver Twist, Mysterious Island, The Deerslayer, Don Quixote, Moby Dick, Hamlet, Uncle Tom's Cabin, and Gulliver's Travels
    Classics Illustrated versions of some books were used as Cliff Notes style cheat sheets.
    Some of the treatments were bowdlerized to the point of giving the original versions a disservice.
    He was a high school dropout.
    Some of the titles were less than classics such as Jules Verne's obscure 'Off on a Comet' and some weren't literary classics at all, such as the original to Classics Illustrated, 'World War II.'
    He didn't actually do any of the writing or artwork.
    His titles suffered an inexplicable drop in popularity (television perhaps?) in the late sixties and his company folded shortly after he sold it in the early seventies.
    The Great Depression destroyed his real estate business.
    He introduced millions of children to works of classic literature that they probably would never have experienced otherwise.
    Classics Illustrated was one of the biggest success stories in the history of comics, by 1960 they were selling over 262,000 copies a MONTH!
    He didn't allow advertising in any of his comics.
    He took a lot of heat off the comic book industry that had developed a poor reputation by the fifties.
    He looked a little like Walt Disney.
    He developed an appointment book for doctors and dentists and invented both a fully operational toy telegraph set and a working toy crystal radio set.
    He had a wide variety of leisure interests including; fishing, baseball, reading and the theater and gave extensively to philanthropy, especially Jewish charities.
    Both Classics Illustrated and Classics Illustrated Junior were so popular and so well done that they were actually used in schools as textbooks.
    The art in his books was across the board fantastic.
    Being remembered as a philanthropist who helped introduce children to science and great literature is about a good a way to be remembered as is possible.

Credit: tom_jeffords


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