Friday, December 04, 2020

“Another Idol Has Displaced Me” | Marvel Classic Comics #36 (1978)

Marvel's adaptation has Belle and Scrooge lounging in a nicely furnished parlor. It doesn't try to explain where they are, but it seems inconsistent with anywhere the miserly Scrooge might live. Belle is of course poor, even in this version, so maybe they're visiting with friends and have sneaked away for a quiet conversation. Thinking about it makes me curious to see what settings the other versions put the couple in. Dickens was vague about it, so there's lots of room for interpretation. Classics Illustrated also had them in a fancy room.

Belle is wearing a green dress and there's no mention of her parents, recently deceased or otherwise. And also as with the Classics Illustrated adaptation, she just seems to have finally had enough of Scrooge's attitude about money as opposed to being driven to this decision by any specific incident.

The conversation goes more or less how Dickens wrote it and ends with Old Scrooge holding his head and begging the Spirit not to show Scrooge any more. I noticed last year that the mania Marvel's Scrooge exhibited in the early scenes has tapered off and this scene continues that. Scrooge reacts like he does in Dickens: a man severely hurt by the memory of losing Belle. Maybe these memories, even this painful one,  are healing Scrooge when coupled with the Spirit's curative touch.

True to Dickens, the Ghost isn't quite done with Scrooge yet though and takes him to Belle's later home where she lives with her husband and children. I only count a total of four kids, including the young woman that Dickens obsessed over, but we only get a couple of panels with them and it's possible that there are more. They're not excessively boisterous, but Belle's husband does come home with Christmas presents and a daughter rushes at him in the first panel while the second has her and two brothers ripping into the gifts in the background.

It's interesting that Belle's husband doesn't ask her to guess which old friend of hers he saw that day. He simply tells her that he saw Scrooge and that his partner is on the point of death. I don't care for the guessing game in Dickens, so this is a nice change for me.

The Ghost doesn't physically force Scrooge to watch any of this. He's cold to Scrooge's plea to be removed from the scene though, so Scrooge grabs what at first looks like a curved trumpet from the Ghost's belt. I went back and looked and it's not in any of the earlier drawings of the Ghost, so it's just appeared here for this scene. It ends up being a candle snuffer with a long handle, but it doesn't look anything like a cap and the bell-shaped extinguisher part of it is way too small to be headgear for the Spirit, even if the handle wouldn't make it impossibly ridiculous to wear. In fact, Scrooge looks rather silly in the panel where he's pressing it against the ground, presumably trapping the Ghost underneath (although, as in Dickens, light is still spilling out).

The comic skips from Scrooge's grabbing the extinguisher straight to his holding it against the floor, so there's no final transformation of the Ghost into the other faces from Scrooge's past. And the very next panel is Scrooge lying in his own bed, exhaustedly falling asleep, with the snuffer discarded on the floor nearby.

1 comment:

Caffeinated Joe said...

Seems like it gets the point of flashing back to Belle across with both scenes. Have to wonder if the high-end room was just what the artist assumed for the time, and didn't take into account their actual financial standing when drawing.


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