When Charles Dickens set pen to paper to write a holiday story in the early 1840’s, he couldn’t have a glimmering of a clue of what he was about to unleash. Dickens’ tale, in which four spirits destroy the soul of a miser in order to redeem him, reconstructing him as a new and better man, has become a classic: A Christmas Carol has never been out of print since its first publication. Few today have read it, which is a pity since the story is wonderfully well-written (Dickens’ description of Fred’s new wife is so vivid that I can close my eyes and see her still) and is a joy to read. Our modern exposure to the tale comes mostly from other media; this is unfortunate since so few retellings get the story right – one major exception is the version made for TV in 1984 which starred George C. Scott as Scrooge and the amazing David Warner as Bob Cratchit, a film which is a holiday tradition at our house.

Much of our perception of Christmas “tradition” comes to us directly from Charles Dickens and Clement Moore. The appearance of Santa Claus as we know him today comes directly from Moore’s poem “A Visit from St. Nicholas”, while Dickens is responsible for dang near everything else; A Christmas Carol is the reason why holiday toy train layouts and tiny ceramic Christmas villages are almost universally Victorian in appearance, why so many Christmas cards feature male carolers in beaver hats and female singers with fur muffs for their hands. Christmas trees, cards, evergreen garlands, and mistletoe first achieved widespread popularity in Dickens’ and Moore’s time, and much of the reason why those traditions have carried through to this day can be attributed to the pens of Dickens and Moore.

We’ve already seen a World War II era comic adaptation of “A Visit from St. Nicholas” in this blog awhile back; today I’d like to share Dickens’ A Christmas Carol as it appeared in Dell Comics’ 1942 edition of Santa Claus Funnies. I don’t know who adapted the text or drew the illustrations but they did a fine job of adaptation in just fifteen pages. Have a look and, when you’re finished, go read Dickens’ version (especially if all you know are the film, TV, and cartoon versions) – it’s actually quite short (about a hundred pages) and deservedly considered a literary classic.

A Christmas Carol – Santa Claus Funnies #1, 1942

A Christmas Carol – Santa Claus Funnies #1, 1942

A Christmas Carol – Santa Claus Funnies #1, 1942

A Christmas Carol – Santa Claus Funnies #1, 1942

A Christmas Carol – Santa Claus Funnies #1, 1942

A Christmas Carol – Santa Claus Funnies #1, 1942

A Christmas Carol – Santa Claus Funnies #1, 1942

A Christmas Carol – Santa Claus Funnies #1, 1942

A Christmas Carol – Santa Claus Funnies #1, 1942

A Christmas Carol – Santa Claus Funnies #1, 1942

A Christmas Carol – Santa Claus Funnies #1, 1942

A Christmas Carol – Santa Claus Funnies #1, 1942

A Christmas Carol – Santa Claus Funnies #1, 1942

A Christmas Carol – Santa Claus Funnies #1, 1942

A Christmas Carol – Santa Claus Funnies #1, 1942

Page scans courtesy of The Digital Comic Museum.

Have fun! — Steve

Copyright 2012, Steven A. Lopez. All rights reserved.

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