Just bringing this discussion over to ning...

What books are you reading right now that don't have a narrative driven by images as well as words?

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She by H. Rider Haggard.

My Non-Comics Reading Project for 2021 is kind of loosely defined as "Classics I Always Wanted to Read Sometime."  I started the year by working my way through all of Sherlock Holmes (previous reads had always stopped at the Reichenbach Falls), and I then moved on to King Solomon's Mines.  I'm not sure where I'll go next, but I'm grooving on late 19th/early 20th century detective/mystery/adventure fiction right now, so I may stay in that zone for a while. (Come October, Varney the Vampyre is waiting for me.)

I never did make it all the way through sherlock Holmes (I blush to admit), but I have the entire series in BOMC editions. 

I bought a copy of King Solomon's Mines a couple of years ago in conjunction with a League of Extraordinary Gentlemen reading project, but after Dracula, The Invisible Man and Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde my purpose cooled and my interest petered out. 

I've never read Varney the Vampyre. Maybe I'll pick up a copy and join you in October. 

I have a list of 16 series (some of which I actually have finished) to either read or re-read.

My (2-volume) copy of Varney reprints the original penny-dreadful publication, and is in print so small that I may have to get a magnifying glass (or --shudder -- reading glasses)!

If I tried to make such a list -- even limited just to books I already actually own -- my ambition would have to have a word with my mortality. 

I'm reading another Hard Case Crime book, one I've had on my shelves for a while: The Cocktail Waitress, by James M. Cain. It was written in the 70s, shortly before he died, and decades after his heyday as a crime novelist, writing Double Indemnity and The Postman Always Rings Twice. The manuscript was discovered about a decade ago, and published in 2012. 

It's a blast. It's sly and racy; the characters have sharp edges and the narrator may or may not be a black widow; her sister-in-law certainly thinks she is, although she maintains her innocence. I'm halfway through, and absolutely hooked. 

King Solomon's Mines and She are Haggard's most famous works, but I've liked other works of his more, partly because I knew the plots of those two from adaptations before reading them.

My favourite Haggard works are Allan's Wife, about Allan as a child and young man, and The Ivory Child. The latter is from a later period of Haggard's career: after his initial series of stories about Quatermain, written in the 1880s, Haggard didn't return to the character for twenty years.

The great British comics artist Frank Bellamy did three instalments of an adaptation of King Solomon's Mines. They can be seen here. This post on them from the Frank Bellamy blog has an image of a preliminary rough.

There have been several film versions of both his most famous novels. The 1935 version of She was produced by Merian C. Cooper, the producer of King Kong. According to Wikipedia its depiction of She was the model for the evil queen in Disney's Snow White.

The 1937 version of King Solomon's Mines has Paul Robeson in the cast. He sings Climbing Up. Cedric Hardwicke played Quatermain. The 1950 colour version is a good-looking film, partly filmed in Africa. Its Quatermain is younger, played by Stuart Granger. Deborah Kerr provides romantic interest, and Richard Carlson, later the star of It Came from Outer Space, plays her brother.

In the 1960s Hammer did a version of She and a sequel called The Vengeance of She. I've not seen either, but the latter had a screenplay by Peter O'Donnell, the creator of Modesty Blaise.

Avon did an adaptation of King Solomon's Mines in 1951. The GCD credits the art to Rafael Astarita. The issue can be found at Comic Book Plus. Gilberton adapted the novel in Classics Illustrated in 1952. The art was by Henry Kiefer.

As a kid I read a classy adaptation in Look and Learn. The net tells me the art was by Cecil Doughty.

Marvel did an adaptation of She in its Marvel Classics Comics series in 1977. The GCD says the adaptation was by John Warner, Dino Castrillo, and Rod Santiago, but the cover was by Gil Kane and Rudy Nebres. The date might mean the cover design was provided by Dave Cockrum.

Avon did an adaptation of King Solomon's Mines in 1951. The GCD credits the art to Rafael Astarita. The issue can be found at Comic Book Plus. 

What is the title of the comic under the Avon heading? I don't see King Solomon's Mines listed.

I'm about 50 pages into Empire of the Summer Moon by S.C. Gwynne. I just straight steal this next part from the cover, is about Quanah Parker and the rise and fall of the Comanche tribe. Very interesting so far. I really just need to sit down some time and really dive into it, otherwise it will take me forever to get through it. 

This is the second book recommended by one of the hosts of the sports talk station I listen to has recommended. He's had pretty solid picks so far.

I found it by using the search option within Comic Book Plus. It's not listed on the main screen.

Richard Willis said:

Avon did an adaptation of King Solomon's Mines in 1951. The GCD credits the art to Rafael Astarita. The issue can be found at Comic Book Plus. 

What is the title of the comic under the Avon heading? I don't see King Solomon's Mines listed.

I found it the same way. There are two scans, and one is noticeably better than the other. They're listed in Avon's section under "Avon Periodicals One Shots". 


The GCD's indexer notes that it formerly attributed the art of the adaptation to Lee Ames, whose signature is on the cover. I'm not very familiar with his work. The handling of Sir Henry on the cover is stylistically very like the interior art, but there are possible tells that the cover artist was different: Twala is drawn on the cover like Umbopa inside, and the handling of Sir Henry's chainmail shirt is different.

Possibly Astarita inked or did cover alterations. I compared the cover of Fox's A Spectacular Feature #11 (Samson and Delilah), which is from the previous year and by Ames. (There's no signature, but the GCD says he told Alter Ego he drew it.) It's a nicely-drawn cover, but doesn't have those heavy ink lines the King Solomon's Mines cover has, which are also found inside.

The novel and the Avon adaptation refer to Umbopa and his people as a branch of the Zulus. In the 1950 movie, the net tells me, they were played by Tutsis. Umbopa's hairstyle in the adaptation is a variation on hairstyles seen in the movie.

Links to King Solomon's Mines at Comic Book Plus:

And the GCD entry is here.

Thanks, Peter.

The GCD found a few more Haggard adaptations for me. Seaboard Publishing published an adaptation of She in Fast Fiction #3. Comic Book Plus has that here. This was scripted by Dick Davis and drawn by Vincent Napoli. The cover and back cover were by Henry Kiefer.

It's a semi-wraparound cover. Comic Book Plus doesn't show the two parts together, so here's the GCD's image of it spread out:

Just for the fun of it, this is the Marvel Classics Comics adaptation:

The net tells me Marvel published an omnibus of Marvel Classics Comics #13-#36 last year. Presumably it doesn't own the material from #1-#12 as those issues were Pendulum Press reprints.

In 1936-37 an adaptation of She with art by Sven Elven appeared in New Comics/New Adventures Comics #6-#22. At the time the novel was about fifty years old. Presumably it was still under copyright: H. Rider Haggard died in 1925.

Some curiosities:

"Tarzan and the Demon Elephant" from Tarzan #197 (Western, 1970) is semi-based on Haggard's The Ivory Child. I reviewed these here.

The GCD says "The Black Tower of Koor" in The Jungle Twins #6 (Western, 1973) is a similar treatment of She. The GCD attributes both stories to Gaylord Du Bois and Paul Norris, and Mike Royer with the inks on the Tarzan story. Perhaps Du Bois mined other Haggard stories elsewhere.

After Gilberton stopped producing new Classics Illustrateds further adaptations were produced in Britain and Europe. Several extra Haggard adaptations appeared in Europe: Allan Quatermain (in the Swedish Illustrerade klassiker #184 as Skräckens Land), Maiwa's Revenge (#213), and The Saga of Eric Brighteyes (#228).

This page mentions some more. Some comments:

Gilberton's Classics Illustrated #161, Cleopatra, was another Haggard novel adaptation. The poster points out that the adaptation predates the Elizabeth Taylor movie by two years. I think it was probably prompted by the movie's going into production. According to Wikipedia filming commenced  in 1960 with Robert Mamoulian directing, but production was halted in Jan. 1961 because Taylor became ill. The GCD's date for the comic is Mar. 1961.


The page has the masthead of an adaptation of King Solomon's Mines by Dudley Watkins from a British comic, The Topper. The net tells me this was a colour reprint of an adaptation that originally appeared in B&W in a publication called The People's Journal. He also did Allan Quatermain. Lew Stringer has a post on Watkins's adaptations, focusing on Treasure Island, here.

The Mark Ellis/Pablo Marcos version of King Solomon's Mines was a reimagining rather than a straight adaptation. It was published by Sequential Pulp Comics. The press release is here.

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