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Graphic Classics vol 19, Christmas Classics...Yay Comics
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Review by Scott Tingley, December 16, 2010

In they all came, one after another; some shyly, some boldly, some gracefully, some awkwardly, some pushing, some pulling; in they all came, anyhow and everyhow.

Dickens: A Christmas Carol

Certainly everyone's experience is different, but for me the best part of comic adaptations of prose novels is that it makes me want to search out the original source material. The comics act as reminders or introductions to original great pieces of writing. Last year at this time I picked up and read Darwin Cooke's great adaptation of Richard Stark's (pen name of Donald Westlake ) first Parker book, The Hunter . I had never read a word of these crime books – had never even heard of them – but I now own six Parker books, have borrowed that many more from the library and have found many of Westlake's mystery/crime fiction in used bookstores. A comic adaptation made me a fan. I just read Cooke's version of The Outfit and it is at least as good as The Hunter ) I knew I'd find a reason to review, or at least talk about both these books).

Anyway, for me comics lead to more “regular” reading. Comics lead me to read H.G. Wells science fiction, Sherlock Holmes and Edgar Allan Poe (I can thank Batman comics for those last two). Now comics have lead me back to Charles Dickens. Every year I scan the TV menu for the 80s TV adaptation of A Christmas Carol, starring George C. Scott ( if you haven't seen it, do yourself a favour – it's bound to be on somewhere) but watching that movie every year never once made me want to pull my old copy of the book off the shelf. I was a dozen pages into Alex Burrows and Micah Sarritor's comic adaptation in Tom Pomplun's 19 th volume of his Graphic Classics series, Christmas Classics , and I was up searching my shelves for the copy of the original that my mother read to me when I was in grade three. I had to look up two or three things that were in the comic that were never in any of the movies - I wanted to be sure these things were actually from the book and not additions by the comic creators…turns out they were from Dickens. Interesting.

The comic adaptation actually feels a bit rushed – hardly surprising since they only had just over forty pages to work with, but I like the chances the writer took by finding story beats that the movie watchers may not be familiar with.

Also in Christmas Classics is an odd and sweet letter from Santa or “The Man in the Moon” written by Mark Twain to his daughter in 1875 and a fun illustrated version of A Visit from St. Nicholas . Much of the rest of the book is made up of stories I was unfamiliar with, like the beautifully drawn The Strategy of the Werewolf Dog written originally by Willa Cather. I've never heard of it, but I want to read it now. Gift of the Magi by O. Henry was already adapted in Graphic Classics vol. 11 so another O.Henry Christmas story was adapted...and I'm back after a futile search for my small book of O. Henry Christmas stories.

Are you getting the point I am not so subtly hitting you over the head with?

Comics = reading and more and more reading. I recommend that you go out now and pick up Christmas Classics vol 10 or order it online and give it to yourself or someone else as a stocking-stuffer or as a pre Christmas gift – perfect for getting you jazzed up for the season.

I'm off now to read Sherlock Holmes in The Adventure of the Blue Carbuncle . Who knew that there was a Sherlock Holmes a Christmas story...thanks Christmas Classics .

Paperback: 144 pages, Eureka Productions (October 1, 2010), I SBN-10: 0982563019, I SBN-13: 978-0982563014, 17.95 US, 22.50 Can

 

A Christmas Carol quote from “Treasury of Children's Classics: Charles Dickens A Christmas Carol ” Page 46, Published by Octopus Books Limited, London , 1981.



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