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Review: Harvey Kurtzman’s Marley’s Ghost

A Christmas Carol is one of those stories that resonates with you for years. I say this, knowing that most people only know the story from watching the many adaptations of the story itself in the movies or your favorite’s show’s own version. Recently, Charles Dickens’ own adventure in creating the story itself has been immortalized on screen in The Man Who Invented Christmas. Then there is the twist of the same story, but with hint of modernization and a ton of sentimentality in Its Wonderful Life, which many consider a classic all its own but borrows heavily from Dickens epic tome.

One of my favorites of the adaptations of this epic tale is the Muppets Christmas Carol which added some levity to an otherwise gloomy yet hopeful tale. Another of my favorites is Scrooged, the vey definition of dark comedy throughout, as it was both funny and horrifying. Within the comic realms, I cant recall any direct adaptation for the work, until I heard of Harvey Kurtzman working on his own adaptation a few years before he died. It is a good thing that his unfinished work was discovered recently, and what was discovered is probably the most brilliant adaptation of Dickens work, in Marley’s Ghost.

In the opening pages, we get an even grimmer version of Ebenezer Scrooge, a man whose whole life has passed him up, including his business partners. The one consistency amongst all the adaptations is just how dispirited Ebenezer is, and this one doesn’t mince words, as the creators behind this book, understood what Dickens was trying to convey including the late Kurtzman. Each ghost also is as haunting as every adaptation, this one is more on the spooky side sie than some of the more light hearted version. By book’s end, Scrooge, gets a new lease on life, as most anybody who knows this story.

Overall, this is the adaptation that comics fans will love to read over and over again, as it captures those iconic moments the movie and television shows did, including some moments only book readers will remember. The story by Josh O’Neill, Shannon Wheeler, and Harvey Kurtzman captures the perfect balance between adaptation and storytelling. The art Gideon Kendall is gorgeous as it reminded me of some of my old MAD Magazines. Altogether, you may think you know this story, but definitely not the way this team brings it together.

Story: Josh O’Neill, Shannon Wheeler, and Harvey Kurtzman Art: Gideon Kendall
Story: 9 Art: 9 Overall: 9 Recommendation: Buy

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