Review: Marley’s Ghost

Harvey Kurtzman’s ‘Marley’s Ghost’

Cover Rank: 10/10. What’s not to love? Even if you have never heard of ‘A Christmas Carol’ you would be intrigued to pick this up and start in based on the cover image alone. All the great aspects of the great Dickens novel are there, from a paranormal Marley, chains draped over him while beaming down upon a scowling Scrooge. There’s even a poor man sitting off to the side that Scrooge has no doubt ignored.

What I Like: For starters, the simple fact that the greatest Christmas story of all time is now available in comic book form (not all formats though. See ‘didn’t like section’ for more on that). Seeing the story we all know so well and have seen several variations of now being presented in the form of a comic seemed like a no brainer. The question of why hasn’t this been done before instantly pops up. Well, in fact getting the story in this form proved almost impossible for some reason. The great Harvey Kurtzman tried for years to get his vision of A Christmas Carol in comic book form, but was turned away every time he pitched it. When he died in 1993 many thought his vision would stay only a vision. However, thanks to Gideon Kendall, Josh O’Neill and Shannon Wheeler, along with old drawings of the style Kurtzman was going for, this vision has now been brought to life. It’s a fantastic addition to the many ways the story has been told.

We all know the story. Ebenezer Scrooge hates Christmas and everything that comes with it. When his old partner Jacob Marley visits him in a paranormal like ghost and warns him he will be visited by three ghosts which will change his life forever. Kurtzman and the new team of writers weren’t trying to make any earth shattering changes to the story. They kept everything in its place and we more or less are brought along for a visual representation of the story. If you have seen the Disney version of A Christmas Carol with Jim Carrey playing several roles including Scrooge, that is what I would most closely associate the comic version with. It’s a visual wonder and the drawing team really flexed their muscle and expanded their wings with bringing us a visual delight. Everything from Scrooge himself, to the three spirits to the towns and houses are meticulously drawn and, like the versions of the movie, really draws us into the setting. It’s something that adults will love for its nostalgia and kids will enjoy because it’s beautiful.

What I didn’t like: The one and only place you can read Marley’s Ghost is in digital format on comiXology. To not be able to hold a physical copy of this wonderful rendition and put it out under the tree or on a mantle during the holiday season is quite upsetting. Hopefully sometime in the future it will take a physical form.

Best Moment: The story is the same as we remember it, so there are no ‘wow’ moments. However, I’ve always loved the darker side of the story and always looked forward to the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come, and this version of the ghost was the best one I’ve seen yet. You can really use the comic book medium in a way the movies can’t, and the writers made sure to make this particular character really stand out.

Ending: 10/10. How can you not get the Christmas feels when Scrooge changes literally overnight and rights all the wrongs he done? It’s a story for all of us, and one we can all learn from.

What I’m Looking Forward To: The day I can hold this version in my hand and share it with my family around the holiday season. And because it’s available only in digital, it loses .1 of a point and gets a…

Overall Ranking: 9.9/10