Wednesday, December 06, 2017

“Your Reclamation, Then” | Classics Illustrated #53 (1948)

Faithful to Dickens, Classics Illustrated does take a few panels to have Scrooge wake up, experience the sped-up progression of time, and fret about it.

It abandons the old-young Spirit though and goes for a youthful specter with long, blonde hair. Something I didn't mention yesterday was Dickens' refusal to assign a gender to this ghost. He always refers to it as "it." Visual depictions are going to have to decide what to do about that and Classics Illustrated cleverly chooses an androgynous look.

The Spirit has the holly branch in this one and that bright light effect is part of its appearance in every panel, but there's no extinguisher cap. Which is probably good, since this version of Scrooge is one of the meanest and least sympathetic. I wouldn't be surprised to see him extinguish the Spirit's light if he had the opportunity. So the story doesn't give him one.

It also abbreviates Scrooge's conversation with the ghost. Scrooge stammers his initial question about the Spirit's purpose (the old man is clearly scared; there's just not any evidence of change yet) and the Spirit answers that it's there for Scrooge's "welfare and reclamation." That robs Scrooge of his humorous line from the book about a night of unbroken rest. But the Marley scene also removed Scrooge's sense of humor. This Scrooge is all business.

The conversation is so abridged that the Spirit doesn't even explain that it represents Christmas Past. We'll have to pick that up through its actions as it takes Scrooge on tour. [UPDATE: As Caffeinated Joe points out in the comments below, not only does the Spirit announce itself, it does so in the panel I included on this post. I'm a dork.] 

It does take a panel to touch Scrooge's heart though. Or rather, to point at Scrooge's heart. We never see the actual touch. The implication is that it happened though, since Scrooge and the Spirit are outside in the next panel. We'll just have to wait to see if the touch had any effect in "upholding" the old man.


Caffeinated Joe said...

Quick and to the point, which makes sense. But I do think the Spirit says it is the Ghost of Christmas Past, even if it doesn't explain. It is right there in the pic you posted from the comic.

Michael May said...

Gah! I'm such a dork. I skimmed right past that.


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