Happy Birthday, Jules Verne: 70 years of fantastic comic-book classics

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Feb 7, 2014, 1:59 PM EST

Saturday marks the birthday of the man most consider to be the Father of Science Fiction -- the famed French poet, novelist and playwright Jules Gabriel Verne.  Born on Feb. 8, 1828, Verne ushered in the age of imagination with his legendary works 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, From the Earth to the Moon, Around the World in 80 Days and Journey to the Center of the Earth. 

These Voyages Extraordinaires were a series of fanciful adventure yarns incorporating modern industrial technology, meticulous research, wild scientific concepts and an indomitable spirit of discovery.  The former lawyer enjoyed wide popular appeal during his lifetime and is now the most translated author on the planet after some bard named William Shakespeare.  The entire steampunk sci-fi subculture of anime, literature, comics and cosplay is inspired and derived from Verne's (and H.G. Wells') revolutionary literature.  Stricken with diabetes and deteriorating health, Verne died at the age of 77 on March 24, 1905, in his home in Amiens, France.

Here's a generous gallery of 21 comic-book covers featuring the sensational stories of Jules Verne. 

Light a candle, make a wish and have a look ...