Tuesday, December 25, 2012
'Merry Christmas, Uncle!' | Graphic Classics, Volume 19: Christmas Classics (2010)
Like with the opening scene, Graphic Classics' version of Fred's introduction is surprisingly short. It's only a page long, plus change, and whittles the heck out of Scrooge and Fred's interaction.
It does the same thing Campfire does with Fred's entrance, having the nephew call out to Scrooge while still in the doorway. Micah Farritor is a much better storyteller than the Campfire artist though and gives the characters a lot of personality. Fred's younger in this version than most, suggesting that maybe he's not been rejected as much as some of the other Freds we've encountered. He has some worry lines on his forehead as he enters, so it's obviously not his first visit with his uncle, but he looks calm and confident in subsequent panels. He knows enough to be nervous when he enters, but after the first "humbug" he's okay and not at all worn down by Scrooge.
It's too bad that page limits necessitate chopping up the scene so much, because I'd like to see more of these two characters' interacting. Fred's entire speech is gone, taking Cratchit's applause with it. We get a good look at Cratchit's miserable-looking face as he closes the door behind Fred, so there's a little characterization for you, but this version of the scene doesn't reveal much else than that Scrooge is an unpleasant person who hates Christmas. There's no discussion of Fred's marriage, but that's an expected cut for an adaptation of this size.
Although this version cheats Fred of some of the elements that make him my favorite character, if I'm objective I can admit that they aren't bad cuts. With their limited page count, Alex Burrows and Farritor are getting through the introductions quickly. We know everything we need to know about Scrooge and how he feels about Christmas. In the next scene, we'll add to that knowledge by seeing how he feels about the rest of humanity. Burrows and Farritor will spend a little more room on that.