Wednesday, December 05, 2018

“I Was a Boy Here!” | A Christmas Carol: The Graphic Novel (2008)

Sean Michael Wilson and Mike Collins' adaptation is super faithful to Dickens with only a few changes. Like in Dickens, the Spirit leads Scrooge directly from his room to the countryside and Scrooge reacts the way he does is Dickens: with joy and tears.

The tears fit with how this version has presented Scrooge so far. Marley made some headway on this Scrooge in a way that the Classics Illustrated and Marvel Marleys didn't, so Scrooge is in a receptive mood. It doesn't mention his being pleased with his schoolmates' wishes of Merry Christmas, but it does include the little market town and leaves room for Scrooge's schoolmates to have been genuine friends to him (though - also like Dickens - it doesn't explicitly say that they were).

The school isn't especially rundown and since this version doesn't say anything more about Scrooge's dad than Dickens does, we can't infer anything about the Scrooge Family's financial status. I like how Collins draws the furniture in the schoolroom with the long benches mentioned in Dickens as opposed to the individual desks in many adaptations. It's not something I'm keeping track of, but there's a nice big panel of the schoolroom in this version, so it stands out.

Scrooge's literary companions are mentioned just as Dickens did, but because Scrooge seems mentally sound in this version, there's no reason to be concerned about Ali Baba and Company's appearing to Scrooge one Christmas. If it was an hallucination, it was a passing one. And it's more likely that Scrooge is just describing a vivid fantasy he had one Christmas when he was especially lonely.

Fan is younger than Scrooge and seems to be about eight or nine, which fits how I read her in Dickens. Her speech is right out of Dickens, too, and - as I said above - reveals nothing extra about Scrooge's dad. His unkindness towards Scrooge is still a mystery in this version.

The graphic novel is so faithful that it even includes the schoolmaster and dedicates a panel to his goodbye scene with Scrooge and Fan. It doesn't call attention to the wine and cake, but does show the Scrooge siblings eating. Contrary to Dickens though, they're apparently enjoying the snack and Scrooge even gives the schoolmaster a little smile when it's time to say goodbye.

Appropriate to Fan's age, she's been brought to the school in a carriage with a driver, but it's an open carriage in this one where Dickens described his as having a top for Scrooge's trunk to be tied to. C'est la vie.


Caffeinated Joe said...

Interesting. From that art, it seems like it is more a desolate landscape than a barren field, but probably just need a little more context.

Michael May said...



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