Tuesday, December 08, 2015
His Usual Melancholy Tavern | Graphic Classics, Volume 19: Christmas Classics (2010)
Alex Burrows and Micah Farritor's version is sort of the opposite of the old Classics Illustrated version. Classics Illustrated relies heavily on text, so the drawings serve more like illustrations than true, comics storytelling. I guess that's fair considering the name of the comic. But Burrows and Farritor take the opposite approach, letting the drawings do a lot of the work.
Take this year's scene for instance. It cuts out the dinner part and just follows Scrooge home, but there's no caption to give us the history of his house or who else does or doesn't live there. And honestly, the story doesn't need it. That stuff is flavor, but Burrows and Farritor are challenged with adapting the tale in very few pages and I like their choice of focusing on the mood and the major story beats instead of Dickens' details.
Like Classics Illustrated though, Graphic Classics uses the scene to remind us how Scrooge feels about Christmas. Farritor draws a lovely panel in which Scrooge is surrounded by Christmas celebrants shopping, partying, and smooching in the road, surrounded by holly and 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." He's not sneering about it though like he was in the office. Possibly that's because no one's paying any attention to him now. Scrooge's hatred of Christmas is genuine, but he might play it up more when he knows he can get a rise out of someone.
The only other panel between Scrooge's office and the supernatural door-knocker has Scrooge standing on the front steps of his place. He's about to go in and we get a quick, closely cropped look at the house. It's colored in a dreary brown and there are mud puddles on the ground and dangerous-looking icicles hanging all over the place. It looks plenty lonely and spooky without a single word of text.
Index of other entries in The Christmas Carol Project