While doing some preliminary research on the term "classic," I came across this Wikipedia article: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Classic_literature
And of course, the picture right next to it: Moby Dick.
Later on, it talks about "imprimaturs." It has this comic book version of Moby Dick next to it:
I believe it very telling that these imprimaturs came about in the early part of the twentieth century, just as interest in Moby Dick had risen...hmmmm.