Tuesday, December 09, 2014
“If Quite Convenient, Sir" | Graphic Classics, Volume 19: Christmas Classics (2010)
Index of other entries in The Christmas Carol Project
It's been tough to get a particular read on Scrooge and Cratchit in Alex Burrows and Micah Farritor's version so far. The two characters have performed their parts, but there hasn't been anything to distinguish them yet from other adaptations. But like with the other comics adaptations we've looked at, this scene helps some with that.
As soon as the charitable solicitors leave, Scrooge is up and putting on his coat. When he asks Cratchit about the day off tomorrow, it's with the same sneer he's been wearing for most of the story so far. There's an arrogant quality to this Scrooge. He has a sense of humor, but it's mean-spirited. He doesn't complain that Christmas off isn't fair, so he's not even making a bid for sympathy. That reinforces the idea that he's proud and sees others - especially Cratchit - as beneath him.
When he leaves, the story follows him and leaves Cratchit alone in the office. It makes no mention of how long Cratchit will be there, further distancing Scrooge from his employee. In fact, this is the first interaction that Scrooge and Cratchit have had all story. They've worked together in the same office for five pages now, but haven't spoken to each other. There's been no threatening of Cratchit's job or anything else. Cratchit is mostly ignored; not worth Scrooge's attention.
And with only two lines of dialogue so far, Cratchit's barely worth the reader's attention either. I still can't get a good read on him, which may be intentional if Burrows and Farritor are trying to keep me in Scrooge's shoes. Maybe in this version I'm not supposed to get much about Cratchit until we visit his house later in the story.
As Scrooge takes off, there is a lone caroller at the door singing "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen," but Scrooge is unprepared for him and doesn't have time to grab a ruler. Instead, he growls at the kid, chasing him off, and slams the door shut behind himself.
The boy doesn't seem to be singing for money though. His hands are full with a songbook and a lantern on a pole, so he doesn't even have anything to collect donations in if they were offered to him. I'm not sure why one kid would be singing door to door by himself, but the exchange doesn't seem to be making any social commentary other than "Scrooge really hates Christmas."
We get more of that message when the story follows Scrooge into the street. Farritor draws a lovely panel in which Scrooge is surrounded by Christmas celebrants shopping, partying, and smooching in the road. Unlike the previous street scene in this version, this one is full of holly and other greenery.
Christmas is in full force, but Scrooge is having none of it. He's raising one arm as if to strike someone who isn't there and he's frowning as he says, "Humbug." The sneer is gone though, maybe because no one's paying any attention to him. Scrooge's hatred of Christmas is genuine, but he possibly plays it up when he knows he can get a rise out of someone.