A Christmas Carol

Back in 1971, when yours truly was a mere 9 years of age, ABC broadcast a remarkable animated adaptation of Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol” that –  put simply – scared the #$%^$ out of me.

Directed by Richard Williams – who also co-produced the effort with the legendary Chuck Jones – this Christmas Carol was frightfully faithful to Dickens’ classic novella and employed a unique visual style that was inspired by the 19th century wood engravings that accompanied the original story.

The cartoon also benefited from truly innovative animation techniques – Ken Harris, who worked on some of Jones’ greatest Warner shorts was listed as “Master Animator” – a remarkable performance by Alastair Sim as Scrooge and the scariest Jacob Marley one could ever imagine.

The level of quality was so high for what was seen on TV at the time that the adaptation was eventually shown in movie theaters and even won the Academy Award for Best Short Animated Film in 1972.

Sadly, this iteration of “A Christmas Carol” is mostly forgotten due to ABC – and other networks’ – apparent reluctance the broadcast the program. (Too scary? Not enough toe-tapping tunes?)

Of course, nothing ever truly disappears anymore thanks to the Internet. If this is the first time you’ve seen this adaption, I hope you find it as memorable as my 9-year-old self.

Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Joyous Kwanzaa and a great Festivus for the rest of us!

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Nuts Before Christmas

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Here it is Time Bulleteers … the infamous EC parody of Clement Clark Moore’s “The Night Before Christmas” that was banned in Boston for its disrespectful depiction of Santa Claus.

Because, as everyone knows, Santa Claus is way more important than a certain infant born on Christmas day…

Here’s “The Night Before Christmas” by the legendary cartoonist Bill Elder. (Editor Al Feldstein is credited by the GCD for the script, but since the story is essentially the original poem it’s safe to say the following tale is 100% Elder.)

It originally appeared in Panic #1 (EC Comics, February-March 1954).

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The Mouse That Roared

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With a shelf life that spanned 16 years, Supermouse was one of the longest lived super-heroes of the Golden Age … right along with such better known crusaders as Plastic Man, Captain Marvel, Batman and some guy from the planet Krypton who wore his underwear outside of his pants.

The character, who debuted the same month as Terrytoons’ Mighty Mouse in 1942, was also the very first super-powered animal to appear in a comic book, beating out Hoppy The Marvel Bunny and numerous other competitors by several weeks.

So who better to continue our Christmas week extravaganza than The Big Cheese himself, especially when he’s pit against a greedy toy maker out to destroy the very spirit of selflessness and generosity that play such a pivotal role in the December holiday?

From Santa’s Christmas Comics #1 (Standard Comics, December 1952), here’s “A Super Merry Christmas.” The writer and artist of this tale are not credited.

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Ms. Tree

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Remember when super-heroes took interest in the lives of everyday people?

The Golden Age Wonder Woman – the best version of the character, in my book – takes a bit of time out from wiping out Nazis to reunite a pair of children with their mother and enable a sentient fir tree to find fulfillment!

Take that, New 52!

“The Fir Tree’s Story” originally appeared in Sensation Comics # 14 (DC Comics, February 1943). The story was written by Wonder Woman’s creator, William Moulton Marston, and drawn by the inimitable Harry G. Peter.

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Soul Power

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One of my favorite Golden Age artists, Bob Powell, vividly brings the following Dickensian tale to life.

“The Soul Of Benjamin Sprague” originally appeared in Weird Thrillers #3 (Ziff-Davis, Spring 1952), but these particular scans are taken from a reprint published two years later in Nightmare #13 (St.John Publications, August 1954).

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A Very Marvel Christmas

Now that two-thirds of my family is in the throes of the dreaded December cold virus, today seems as good a time as any to spread a little holiday cheer around the Blogosphere.

So, for the entire week The Time Bullet will present vintage comics and other miscellany celebrating the obscure, Wintertime celebration known as “Christmas!”

First up, “Captain Marvel And Billy Batson’s Xmas” by the Hall of Fame team of writer Otto Binder and artist Pete Costanza. The story originally appeared in Captain Marvel Adventures #69 (Fawcett Comics, February 1947).