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Classics Illustrated 17 of 169 : The Deer Slayer

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Classics Illustrated is a comic book series featuring adaptations of literary classics such as Moby Dick, Hamlet, and The Iliad. Created by Albert Kanter, the series began publication in 1941 and finished its first run in 1971, producing 169 issues. Following the series' demise, various companies reprinted its titles. The first five titles were published irregularly under t Classics Illustrated is a comic book series featuring adaptations of literary classics such as Moby Dick, Hamlet, and The Iliad. Created by Albert Kanter, the series began publication in 1941 and finished its first run in 1971, producing 169 issues. Following the series' demise, various companies reprinted its titles. The first five titles were published irregularly under the banner "Classic Comics Presents" while issues six and seven were published under the banner "Classic Comics Library" with a ten-cent cover price. Arabian Nights (issue 8), illustrated by Lillian Chestney, is the first issue to use the "Classics Comics" banner. With the fourth issue, The Last of the Mohicans, in 1942, Kanter moved the operation to different offices and the corporate identity was changed to the Gilberton Company, Inc.. Reprints of previous titles began in 1943. Wartime paper shortages forced Kanter to reduce the 64-page format to 56 pages.


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Classics Illustrated is a comic book series featuring adaptations of literary classics such as Moby Dick, Hamlet, and The Iliad. Created by Albert Kanter, the series began publication in 1941 and finished its first run in 1971, producing 169 issues. Following the series' demise, various companies reprinted its titles. The first five titles were published irregularly under t Classics Illustrated is a comic book series featuring adaptations of literary classics such as Moby Dick, Hamlet, and The Iliad. Created by Albert Kanter, the series began publication in 1941 and finished its first run in 1971, producing 169 issues. Following the series' demise, various companies reprinted its titles. The first five titles were published irregularly under the banner "Classic Comics Presents" while issues six and seven were published under the banner "Classic Comics Library" with a ten-cent cover price. Arabian Nights (issue 8), illustrated by Lillian Chestney, is the first issue to use the "Classics Comics" banner. With the fourth issue, The Last of the Mohicans, in 1942, Kanter moved the operation to different offices and the corporate identity was changed to the Gilberton Company, Inc.. Reprints of previous titles began in 1943. Wartime paper shortages forced Kanter to reduce the 64-page format to 56 pages.

26 review for Classics Illustrated 17 of 169 : The Deer Slayer

  1. 4 out of 5

    Bionic Jean

    I had never previously read anything by James Fenimore Cooper. All I really knew was that he was a popular American fiction writer of the early 19th century, writing adventure stories about frontier and Native American Indian life in the early American days. The work everyone has heard of, probably his most famous work, is "The Last of the Mohicans". The stories of James Fenimore Cooper are heavily influenced by his own experiences in his early childhood. The family were Quakers, who purchased pl I had never previously read anything by James Fenimore Cooper. All I really knew was that he was a popular American fiction writer of the early 19th century, writing adventure stories about frontier and Native American Indian life in the early American days. The work everyone has heard of, probably his most famous work, is "The Last of the Mohicans". The stories of James Fenimore Cooper are heavily influenced by his own experiences in his early childhood. The family were Quakers, who purchased plots of land in New Jersey and Pennsylvania. When James was only a year old, his father founded a community on a large piece of land which he had bought for development. This was subsequently known as "Cooperstown", New York. It was situated in a central area of New York which had previously been occupied by the Iroquois of the Six Nations. The Iroquois had been forced to give up their territory after the British defeat in the Revolutionary War, as they had been allies. James Fenimore Cooper went to Yale University at the age of 13, but was expelled for "misbehaviour". He had instigated a dangerous prank which involved blowing up another student's door — after having already locked a donkey in a recitation room! This led to his immediate expulsion in his third year without completing his degree. At the age of 17 he enrolled as a sailor on a merchant vessel, and then went on to serve as a midshipman in the U.S. Navy, after which he was well placed to write sea stories. James Fenimore Cooper became a prolific writer, also writing five historical five novels, known as the "Leatherstocking Tales", about the frontier period. Although this one, The Deerslayer, was the last of these to be written, chronologically it served as a prequel, covering the years 1740-1745, during the lifetime of the hero of the Leatherstocking tales, "Natty Bumppo", or "Deerslayer". The main motif throughout The Deerslayer seems to be that Deerslayer, a young frontiersman in early 18th-century New York, objects to the practice of taking scalps. Even though he is told, "The Governor's raised the price on Indian scalps. Fifty pounds for every scalp you get ... They take our scalps ... we take theirs" he insists that every living thing should follow "the gifts" of its nature, and therefore European Americans should not take scalps, "Scalping is the savage way ... not the white man's ... Our way is to be civilised." Opposing Deerslayer and wanting to take scalps are Henry March (alias 'Hurry Harry') and the former pirate 'Floating Tom' Hutter, who lives in "Muskrat Castle" — a cabin on a lake. Deerslayer is introduced to the family on his way to meeting his lifelong friend, Chingachgook, (who is later to feature in "The Last of the Mohicans"). Henry March and Tom Hutter set off to try to scalp some "Injuns", but are captured in turn by the indigenous Hurons. They have also taken prisoner Chingachgook's sweetheart Wah-ta-Wah. Deerslayer sets off in his canoe, continuing on his journey to meet Chingachgook by a rock. When they return, they find that silly Hetty has run off in panic. They all barricade themselves in and Judith gathers together "silks, and brocade and jewellery" plus any fine ivory ornaments which they think they may be able to barter for the two captured men. When the siege finally comes, the tiny ivory elephants prove to be the only things the Hurons are tempted by. Meanwhile Hetty has met up with Wah-ta-Wha who rescues Hetty from a bear in the forest near the Huron camp. Wah-ta-Wah explains that she has been taken prisoner by the Hurons, and that they are not her friends, but her enemies, because, "They seize me at night, take me to marry warrior chief's son. I Delaware girl, Wah-ta-Wah." When the two girls reach the Huron camp, Hetty bursts forward to speak to the chief, and they proceed to try to convince each other of their beliefs. Hetty quotes the ten commandments from the Holy Bible, and the chief insists that the only neighbour they love is themselves, the Iroquois, and that, "Indian must kill to live ... kill animal ... kill paleface. GREAT SPIRIT not right in Good Book. You not right, paleface girl." But the chief realises that there is no harm in Hetty and an agreement about the ransom is made — except for Wah-ta-Wah, as the chief's son insists that his father has promised her to him. (view spoiler)[ There is an exchange of the two prisoners for the ivory elephants, but Henry March reneges on the deal and strikes out at his captors, until Deerslayer stops him with his gun. There is also an arrangement between Hetty and Wah-ta-Wah, involving a bright star. But Hetty mistakes this for the moon, and the plan to rescue Wah-ta-Wah goes wrong, so that Deerslayer is himself captured. The Hurons threaten him with torture, but their chief promises, "No torture if you become Huron of Iroquois tribe. You brave young warrior. Live with us, fight for us." "Never!" Deerslayer responds, "I belong with my own people, not with their enemy." Hetty in the meantime has convinced her family, back at Muskrat Castle, that she would be safe in bargaining for Deerslayer's life with some more ivory elephants, as "Indians don't hurt feeble-minded people". She is correct, and is allowed in the Huron camp — but the deal does not go as they had planned. The Hurons will set Deerslayer free, but only if Wah-ta-Wah agrees to marry the chief's son. Plus, they have a new condition. The "paleface beauty ... your sister ... to come live here, be Huron". Later, when her guards are drowsy with drink, Wah-ta-Wah goes to cut the ropes to free Deerslayer. They flee the camp and meet up with Judith, who has also set out from Muskrat Castle to rescue Deerslayer. When the Huron tribe realise that their prisoners have escaped, they set off in pursuit, but then the British troops — redcoats — turn up at the last minute, as in all good cowboy films, having been summoned to help by Chingachgook. Deerslayer expresses his surprise at their support, but (hide spoiler)] the soldiers nobly and prophetically reply in surely what is the voice of the author, "You've cleared trails through the wilderness. You're the voice and heart of this New World. Some day it will be a great country ... and names like yours will be remembered." Deerslayer take his leave of the family, although Tom Hutter has told him that his daughter Judith is in love with him, "But I already have a sweetheart" Deerslayer replies "... it's the forest ... it's the dew on open grass ... it's soft rain, and clouds in blue skies ... That's my life." Judith says she understands. The story ends, "such is Deerslayer's life for years to come." This version of the story misses out and actually changes some of the more gory details, such as (view spoiler)[the part where the Hurons invade Tom Hutter's home, and scalp him alive. On his deathbed, Hutter apparently confesses that Judith and Hetty were not his daughters by birth. Judith then decides to discover her natural father's identity, but is only able to discover that her late mother had been of aristocratic descent. Her mother had married 'Floating Tom' after an illicit affair. (hide spoiler)] Perhaps it is not so surprising that none of this is alluded to in the graphic version. So why did I choose to read this first? Well The Deerslayer, so-called because he was "one of the best shots in the country ... a crack shot at buck but hasn't been in much Indian fighting yet" did not sound at all as if it were my chosen type of novel. I needed a "way in" to this classic. Some people like to watch a film, but I quite enjoy some of the early graphic adaptations such as this "Classics Illustrated" series. The beauty of these lie in the realistic art-work, plus the fact that they incorporate much of the original text. This one is illustrated by "Zansky", and sadly is not one of the better ones. The pictures are a little sketchy, the typeface unusually small and oddly lower-case, and the whole poorly and blotchily printed, with some layers of colours mismatched and offset. It begins, "In upper New York state, along the Hudson and Mohawk rivers, the war-like Iroquois Indians were rampaging ... scalping, pillaging, massacring the white man who was trying to make a home in the wilderness that was part of America ... America ... in the middle of the eighteenth century" and thus the author securely nails his colours to the mast. I could see I was going to have to give this author a lot of leeway, and not judge him from a 21st century point of view... "If the Indians would only let us make our homes in peace" says Deerslayer — and yet this is the character with whom we are meant to empathise. Mark Twain wrote an essay tearing James Fenimore Cooper's writing style to shreds, and in focusing on The Deerslayer said: "In one place in Deerslayer, and in the restricted space of two-thirds of a page, Cooper has scored 114 offences against literary art out of a possible 115. It breaks the record." Not content with that he goes on to list 18 out of 19 rules "governing literary art in the domain of romantic fiction" which in his opinion Cooper violates in The Deerslayer. James Fenimore Cooper died in 1851, and Mark Twain was born in 1835, so there is an overlap between the two. Both wrote popular fiction, but that of Mark Twain has probably outlasted James Fenimore Cooper. Perhaps it is mostly the outdated attitudes held by James Fenimore Cooper, compounded by the quality of the writing. I cannot tell fairly, of course, from this representation of The Deerslayer. It does seem to me that the author has some sympathy for the character Deerslayer, such as here, where he explains to Henry March why he is pleased that the territory has not yet been colonised by the white settlers: “I’m glad it has no name,” resumed Deerslayer, “or, at least, no pale-face name; for their christenings always foretell waste and destruction.” And there are passages such as this one: “I suppose a woman is a woman, let her colour be white or red; and your chiefs know little of a woman’s heart, Deerslayer, if they think it can ever forgive when wronged, or ever forget when it fairly loves” in which Judith explains bitterly to Deerslayer that women of any ‘colour’ are always misunderstood by the dominant males. Putting this together with the solid friendship between Deerslayer and Chingachgook, it seems possible that for the time, James Fenimore Cooper held quite progressive views. This tale is exciting enough, moving on rapidly (at least in this graphic version!) with varied incidents and characters. We become absorbed in Deerslayer's internal conflict, which probably perpetuates through all the "Leatherstocking" novels. He is torn between the forces which draw him to the woods, and his opposing natural attraction and drive towards to his fellow humans. Judith Hutter is a confident and stong — albeit conceited — young women, and we are also rather taken with the ardent young "loping redskin" Chingachgook and the "feeble-minded" silly Hetty Hutter who tries so hard to do the right thing. All in all though, it seems to be basically a story where all the prejudices both racial and of gender ("That's man's work, Judith!" says Deerslayer) are continually and tiresomely compounded. Despite James Fenimore Cooper's fluid-seeming allegiances, there are far too much fisticuffs, battles between guns and tomahawks, and "Injuns are lurking nearby","Injuns! The trees are full of 'em", for me to wish to read the original novel, I'm afraid. Other interesting quotations: "Hurry had all the prejudices and antipathies of a white hunter, who generally regards the Indian as a sort of natural competitor, and not unfrequently as a natural enemy." "'That depends on your inimy. As for scalping, or even skinning a savage, I look upon them pretty much the same as cutting off the ears of wolves for the bounty, or stripping a bear of its hide...'" "Hurry was one of those theorists who believed in the inferiority of all the human race who were not white."

  2. 4 out of 5

    Charles

    In the popular depictions of the battle between Native Americans and those of European extraction, the taking of scalps of dead enemies is nearly always restricted to the Native Americans. One of the most significant features of the Cooper writings is that he openly mentions that the Europeans also scalped their dead foes. The hero of this story is Natty Bumppo, known to his friends as Deerslayer. When one of his companions states, “The Governor’s raised the price on Indian scalps. Fifty pounds In the popular depictions of the battle between Native Americans and those of European extraction, the taking of scalps of dead enemies is nearly always restricted to the Native Americans. One of the most significant features of the Cooper writings is that he openly mentions that the Europeans also scalped their dead foes. The hero of this story is Natty Bumppo, known to his friends as Deerslayer. When one of his companions states, “The Governor’s raised the price on Indian scalps. Fifty pounds for each scalp you get.” Deerslayer’s response is, “No . . . scalpings out of my line.” As the Europeans began their inexorable movement northward in New York State, they encountered several Native American tribes. Some were much more warlike than others. That fact is also expressed in this comic. Both sides in the struggle are represented as sometimes being principled and other times being ruthless. For example, when the simple-minded white girl encounters the Native Americans, they do not harm her in any way. Popular media generally expresses the conflicts between Native Americans and those of European extraction in an extremely biased form. In “The Deerslayer” and his other works of this genre, Cooper expresses the complexity of the relationships between the Native Americans and the Europeans, some on both sides befriended the other at times, doing all they could to allow the two groups to live together peacefully. That principle is continued in this comic. It is a worthy addition to resources used to teach about the early expansion of the American colonies under British rule.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Kithy

  4. 4 out of 5

    Satyajeet

  5. 4 out of 5

    Harry Cabrera

  6. 4 out of 5

    Vangie Gee

  7. 5 out of 5

    Richard Rothrock

  8. 4 out of 5

    Jos

  9. 4 out of 5

    Cagliostro

  10. 5 out of 5

    Katerina Stournara

  11. 4 out of 5

    Sahar

  12. 4 out of 5

    Pat Winter

  13. 4 out of 5

    Corey

  14. 5 out of 5

    William

  15. 4 out of 5

    Nakul Chand

  16. 5 out of 5

    Seven Negen

  17. 4 out of 5

    Robert Glover

  18. 5 out of 5

    Katie

  19. 5 out of 5

    Xavier

  20. 5 out of 5

    John

  21. 5 out of 5

    Bryan Garcia

  22. 5 out of 5

    Brightynn

  23. 5 out of 5

    Old Cynic

  24. 5 out of 5

    McKenzie Duren

  25. 4 out of 5

    Walter

  26. 5 out of 5

    Jinx:The:Poet {the Literary Masochist, Ink Ninja & Word Roamer}

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