Synopsis: Enjoy this new version of Dickens’ A Christmas Carol in graphic novel form – Harvey Kurtzman’s Marley’s Ghost.
Review: As a fan of Charles Dickens ‘A Christmas Carol’ I have collected a good mix of films, animations, books and comics over the years that have given their own spin. I like to bring them out around this time of year and this latest one from the late Harvey Kurtzman of Mad Magazine fame is a keeper.
Specially put together based on Kurtzman’s thumbnail drawings of Scrooge and all the other characters. ‘Marley’s Ghost’ is a labor of love. You only have to glimpse the pages and see the love and care taken with the drawings, layouts, and colors.
From the writing point of view. It’s a fairly true adaptation of the books with a few corners creative changes here and there. In essence, the few changes matter not because Dicken’s original story structure still holds strong.
One notable change involves the Ghost of Christmas Present. When he finishes with Scrooge he introduces Scrooge to a boy and a girl ignorance and want. This comic only refers to the boy, which makes sense given that in the book the Ghost warns Scrooge to be aware of the boy the most. Aside from changes like these Josh O’Neill and Shannon Wheeler do a pretty good job of working from Kurtzman’s original story pitch, which was based on the original Dickens.
Gideon Kendall does a brilliant job of basing his artwork on Kurtzman’s drawings and staying as true as possible to them. I love the work done on Marley’s haunting of Scrooge as well as Christmas Past and Christmas Present, but was a little underwhelmed by Christmas Future. That said the context of what Christmas Future shows Scrooge is drawn beautifully and does bring the point home.
The back of the book has a brief history of Kurtzman’s attempts to do an adaptation of ‘A Christmas Carol’ and surprisingly they date back to 1953. Kurtzman attempted to sell the idea to Simon & Schuster but was turned down.
Overall. This is a really good adaptation and a fine and loving tribute to the late Harvey Kurtzman as well as an excellent retelling of one of the most beloved Dickens stories.
‘Marley’s Ghost’ is available to buy now at Comixology and is well worth the purchase.