Friday, December 08, 2017

“Your Reclamation, Then” | A Christmas Carol: The Graphic Novel (2008)



Sean Michael Wilson and Mike Collins' adaptation again makes great use out of its longer page count. There are three entire pages dedicated just to chiming clocks and Scrooge's nervous build-up before the Spirit's appearance. It plays out just like it did in Dickens, with Scrooge's falling asleep and then being awakened by the midnight chimes so that he can count down the final hour.

Collins bravely takes up the challenge of faithfully depicting the Spirit. It's an accurate representation from the ghost's diminutive stature to its youthful, androgynous face and long, white hair. Collins even goes for the flickering effect by giving the Spirit extra limbs in some panels, but not in others. Sometimes it's more legs; sometimes more arms.

I wish that the holly branch was bigger, but oh well. And it's interesting that it and the cap disappear and reappear through the rest of the Spirit's visit. They're as ethereal as the Spirit itself.

Scrooge's reaction to the Spirit is as Dickens wrote it, but this adaptation calls out something that I missed earlier. In Dickens, Scrooge's observation about "a night of unbroken rest" being best for his welfare is an unspoken thought. I'm so used to its being spoken aloud in movie versions that I read it that way in the text, but Dickens specifically wrote that "the Spirit must have heard him thinking." Wilson and Collins called my attention to it by putting the "unbroken rest" line in a thought balloon. That also helps with what I noticed in the Marvel adaptation, where the "unbroken rest" line is omitted entirely. It was a risky approach for Marvel to just take it out and have the Spirit respond to it anyway, but I'm happy that now it at least looks like it was down on purpose.

The thing I don't like about this version of the scene is what it does with the Spirit's touch. Instead of asking Scrooge to bear but a touch of the Spirit's hand on Scrooge's heart, the Spirit pulls Scrooge's hand to its own heart. I guess it still works - that some of the Spirit's own compassion may pass into Scrooge this way - but it's an unnecessary change and I much prefer that the Spirit literally touch Scrooge's heart.


1 comment:

Caffeinated Joe said...

I agree, better the way Dickens wrote it, abut the heart. I honestly wasn't sure we'd see a depiction of the spirit with the multiple arms/legs idea. Very glad there is at least this interpretation.

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