Thursday, December 03, 2015
His Usual Melancholy Tavern | Marvel Classic Comics #36 (1978)
Marvel's version makes a bold choice and has the tavern being not melancholy at all. On the surface, this seems like an obvious fix of Dickens' text. Of course there would be Christmas celebrants at a gathering place. But places have character just like people do and this being Scrooge's "usual melancholy tavern," I expect that part of the reason he frequents there is that there's something about the place that discourages festivity. There's an interesting story behind why the place wouldn't be celebrating Christmas; Dickens just isn't telling us what it is.
But Marvel's not wrong for giving a different take. There's also a deeper story behind why this group of merrymakers chose to invade this particular tavern; Marvel just isn't telling us what it is. But it adds some fun irony to the word "usual" and highlights how withdrawn and pathetic Scrooge is as he sulks and reads in the background. Coloring him a cold blue helps with this, too.
Like Classics Illustrated, Marvel also mentions that Scrooge's home used to belong to Marley. It adds the detail that the other rooms in the house have been rented out, but omits the part about their being offices.
The art does a nice job of communicating the dreariness and seclusion of the place. It's colored in the same cold blue that Scrooge was in the previous panel. The dark, looming gateway in the foreground creates space between it and the distant house. It's a more open space than I imagine when I read Dickens though and gives the impression of a once luxurious mansion. I've always pictured the house being at the end of a long alley and closely surrounded by other buildings. But I don't want to read too much into this one, small panel. It's hard to tell much about the house and its grounds from the angle of the drawing.