278. Graphic Classics #19: Christmas Classics

Christmas Classics edited by Tom Pomplun (Canada) - (US)
Graphic Classics, Volume 19

Pages: 144
Ages: 12+
Finished: Dec. 10, 2010
First Published: Nov. 9, 2010
Publisher: Eureka Productions
Genre: Christmas, short stories, poetry
Rating: 4/5

First sentence:

Palace of Saint Nicholas in the Moon
Christmas Morning

My Dear Susy Clemens,

I have received and read all the letters which you and your little sister have written me.

Acquired: Received a review copy from Eureka Productions. (examples of the art found at this link)

Reason for Reading: First, I love the Graphic Classics and want to read them all. Second, every December I drop whatever reading I'm supposed to be doing and read a Christmas book. This is my second and final choice this year.

Christmas Classics is another full colour edition and it just wouldn't be Christmas without lots of bright and bold colour. While a couple of the stories are dark ghost stories with colour palettes to match, the rest of the stories have been coloured in bright and festive colour, funny comic or simply outrageous style to offset the darkness and bring a festive atmosphere to the look of the book. What can I say, another job well done by editor Tom Pomplun!

Quite an eclectic assortment of selections are presented here starting off with a letter written by Mark Twain to his daughter in 1875 from Santa Claus. The feature of the book is, of course, Dickens' Christmas Carol which simply because it is such a famous story does seem a bit hurried in an adapted version. But all the good bits are there and the artwork by Micah Farritorn is wonderful. It is dark and dreary but there is also an ethereal quality to the squiggly lines in the background and some of the faces which all comes together to represent the Victorian era, the poverty and ghostly darkness of the story. Next up is another expected treat, Clement C. Moore's famous poem which has been illustrated in a wildly humorous and bright style bringing us straight out of Dickens' gloom.

Then onto lesser known stories that one won't obviously be looking for. A Sherlock Holmes that takes place during Christmas, but really isn't about Christmas. Wonderful caricature depiction of Basil Rathbone as Sherlock. There was a really psychedelic story by Willa Cather entitled "The Strange Case of the Werewolf Dog" which starts off like a kiddy story but is way too weird and creepy to be one and then the bright and funky art style by Evert Geradts matches it perfectly. The book also includes stories by O. Henry (no, not The Gift of the Magi), F. Scott Fitzgerald and Fitz-James O'Brien. Here is where I had a squeal of delight as a favourite of mine, Rick Geary, is back as an illustrator! We haven't seem him in the Graphic Classics series since the initial first few volumes, then he came back for vol. 11 and it's been a long wait for him to show himself again here in vol. 19. If Rick illustrates it, I know I'm going to like and O' Brien's story was no exception. It's a creepy, macabre short story that ends the book on a fine note. I do prefer Geary in his black & white work rather than the colour but that's not a complaint, just sayin'. While none of the stories are what I would call festive and gay, a few do have positive endings and the book is a great collection of Christmas-themed ghost, horror, western, mystery and odd stories based on classic authors. Another fine entry in the Graphic Classics series! Order quickly before December is over from the publisher directly and you'll receive two free Christmas cards. I received one with my review copy and it's a lovely piece of art suitable for framing!


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