Saturday, November 22, 2008


I'm often surprised to discover just how much graphic material there is out there. Living in a town where we have just one major book chain (there used to be a Dillons and a Waterstones but we now have two Waterstones within twenty yards of each other both carrying the same stock) and one independent bookseller (perfectly formed but small and able to carry only a limited stock), I'd miss out on a lot more if it wasn't for Amazon.

In this instance, Romano Felmang, a long-time supporter of Bear Alley, pointed out a whole graphic novel series available in the UK that I've missed. Aimed at the 7+ age range, Graffex is a series of retellings of classic tales for a younger audience than Classical Comics. Anyone who read Look and Learn will recognise the style immediately—clear illustrations, text boxes and limited use of word balloons—although may find these even more simplified.

Graffex have already published 14 titles and have more lined up for 2009. What with Classics Illustrated returning to the newsstands and Classical Comics adapting stories for an older audience, there shouldn't be any excuse why youngsters can't get a taste of the classics, just as we did when we were kids.

Oliver Twist
by John Malam & Penko Gelev. Book House ISBN 978-1905087914, 1 September 2006. Paperback edition, ISBN 978-1905087921, 1 January 2007
Treasure Island by Fiona Macdonald & Penko Gelev. Book House ISBN 978-1905087990, 1 September 2006. Paperback edition, ISBN 978-1904642749, 1 January 2007.
Moby Dick by Sophie Furse & Penko Gelev. Book House ISBN 978-1905087952, 1 January 2007.
The Hunchback of Notre Dame by Michael Ford & Penko Gelev. Book House ISBN 978-1905087938, 1 January 2007.
Kidnapped by Fiona Macdonald & Penko Gelev. Book House ISBN 978-1904642046, 1 May 2007.
Journey to the Centre of the Earth by Fiona Macdonald & Penko Gelev. Book House ISBN 978-1905087983, 1 May 2007.
Dracula by Fiona Macdonald & Penko Gelev. Book House ISBN 978-1905638529, 1 August 2007.
The Man in the Iron Mask by Jim Pipe & Penko Gelev. Book House ISBN 978-1905638536, 1 August 2007.
Frankenstein by Fiona Macdonald & Penko Gelev. Book House ISBN 978-1905638727, 11 January 2008.
Macbeth by Stephen Hayes. Book House ISBN 978-1905638826, 1 Mar 2008.
The Three Musketeers by Jim Pipe & Penko Gelev. Book House ISBN 978-1905638734, 1 July 2008.
Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde by Fiona Macdonald & Penko Gelev. Book House ISBN 978-1905638819, 1 July 2008.
The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Tom Ratcliff & Penko Gelev. Book House ISBN 978-1433094507, 1 October 2008.
A Tale of Two Cities by Jacqueline Morley & Romano Felmang. Book House ISBN 978-1433091643, 1 October 2008.
Wuthering Heights by Jim Pipe. Book House ISBN 978-1906370138, 1 March 2009. Forthcoming
Hamlet by Kathy McEvoy. Book House ISBN 978-1906370107, 1 March 2009. Forthcoming
Jane Eyre by Penko Gelev. Book House ISBN 978-0764161421, April 2009. Forthcoming


  1. I recently picked up the War of the Worlds issue - very good too.

  2. I'm glad that I'm not the only one who is puzzled that after all these years that the Waterstone branches in Colchester still replicate each others stock. You'd have thought they would have divided up their departments between the 2 shops to expand their ranges especially in a internet age where you have a wider and cheaper range on line.

  3. I remember some books from the 90's called "Graffix" with the slogan "it's a book! it's a comic! it's a graffix!", i think they advertised in the Beano, and i remember seeing some in the library, but i don't know how "comic" they actually where. I suspect something like these, though... or perhaps just straightforward books with a lot of captioned illustrations to "disguise" the fact and encourage kids to read.
    Of course it turned out they didn't nessescarily want pictures to get them to read, just stories that where good. Preferably about wizards at boarding school.



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