Saturday, December 07, 2019

“Why, It’s Old Fezziwig!” | Graphic Classics, Volume 19: Christmas Classics

Alex Burrows and Micah Farritor's version gives not quite three pages to Fezziwig's party. It's a very abridged version, so there aren't many details. Fezziwig isn't even at his desk when he tells Young Scrooge and Dick that it's time to quit working. He's nicely plump though and this may be the first version we've looked at so far that has the full-on white powdered wig. (It appears to be white in Classics Illustrated, but in that version all visions of the past are completely white, so it's impossible to tell what color Fezziwig's hair was originally.)

Old Scrooge notices Dick Wilkins and calls him by name, but he doesn't mention "poor Dick" or that Dick was "attached" to Scrooge. Dick is just another detail to make the vision that much more vivid.

With a festive wreath in hand, Fezziwig commands the boys to clear away and get ready for the party, but we don't get to see the preparations. The next panel after the command is a half-page of Fezziwig and his wife cutting a jig as others dance and celebrate around them. This is a smaller party than I'm used to, but the warmth of Farritor's color palette makes it a lovely, cozy affair. And the fiddler is there at Fezziwig's (sadly normal sized) desk; behind it rather than on it. None of the guests are called by name or their connections to Fezziwig mentioned. It's just a fun party.

No one praises Fezziwig in the scene, so when the Ghost criticizes the party as a "small matter," it seems uncalled for. Like he's goading Scrooge. Which is fine. Scrooge deserves to be pushed. And of course he defends his former boss with dialogue right from Dickens.

He genuinely feels it, too. Because this version is so shortened, Scrooge's transformation has started early and he's been quite emotional in Christmas Past so far. When he talks about the happiness that Fezziwig gave, he's got a lovely, gentle smile. And he looks profoundly pensive and then remorseful in the next panels as he thinks about his relationship with Bob Cratchit.


Caffeinated Joe said...

Guess they get the gist of it all. My mind wandered and I wondered, there are probably some people who first read or encounter the story in one of these abridged versions. Finding the original or a feature length adaptation must be like delving deeper into this world.

Michael May said...

I think that's true. I listened to a podcast recently where someone mentioned that their first exposure to Christmas Carol was the Disney version with Scrooge McDuck. I imagine that's pretty common.


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