The Complete Classic Adventures of Zorro seems to be in three parts. The first part was the basis for the Zorro book I had as a child. The middle part is tales like "A Bad Day for Bernardo," "The Little Zorro," and "A Double for Diego," which are as bad as they sound. Then the book recovers with recovers somewhat with a couple of serial stories, such as Zorro's involvement in an attempt to take over California.
The first part I enjoyed, because it was rediscovering what I'd read as a child, and that was fun. The middle part was pretty bad. But the last part weren't so bad.
The artwork was very interesting--all black and white, and rather stark, yet I quite liked it. The first panel of "The Enchanted Bell" (which was a not so great story) I really like. The two men are standing under some trees, and the sunlight is dappled on their backs--it's very interesting look, and makes up for a rather silly story.
But through and through I loved the artwork. It struck me as very simple (which I'm sure it wasn't) because there was not a lot of detail. In fact there was an additional story at the very end, and the characters had a good deal more detail, and I found the characters rather unappealing. I liked the stark lines and the strong contrasts.
Is the book worth $19? It was to me, because the first part was the story I remembered as a child, and it was I really enjoyed re-reading the tales. The other stories? Well, some where better than others, and some were downright foolish, but overall I found it the whole thing rather fun.
The treatment of women wasn't quite as bad as I expected. Women were pretty pathetic creatures, but then most of the men were pretty pathetic in comparison to Zorro, so considering the time period, it wasn't too bad. The portrayal of the Indians was nowhere near as bad as I had feared it might be. They seemed to have attempted to portray the Indians sympathetically, which was about the best that one could have expected in the 50s I suppose.
As I said, the artwork was lovely, and the stories were enjoyable, although sometimes I did roll my eyes in disbelief, such as at the passages:
Tornado responds to the two whistles, unties his reigns and trots slowly to the cell...
Tornado obeys Diego's intricate hand signals and lifts the key ring from Garcia's chair...
I found that bit to be utterly ridiculous, and there were a few other scenes like it, but not too many.
The stories were uneven in quality, some pretty good, some pretty terrible. The artwork was consistently good, and made up in places for the lower quality tales. But for the most part it was just fun to read.
This books should be prefectly acceptable for children.