In Review: A Christmas Carol by Joe Matthews and Dave McCluskey

While it’s never too soon for Christmas for some I’m definitely in the don’t bother with it until December camp. But for once, I was delighted when I got an ‘early present’… This utterly charming retelling of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol by Joe Matthews, told in verse by Dave McCluskey, which dropped through my door recently. 

Yes, in August. But have you seen the Quality Steet piles in some supermarkets already?

This 76-page full colour book is a wonderful retelling of A Christmas Carol (and that’s not to knock others, such as that by the marvellous Mike Collins a while back now), which will give younger readers (and some older ones, too) a wonderful introduction to one of Dickens’ best-known stories. 

Funny, with great characterisation, and wonderful scenes as Scrooge is taken on a journey of his life Past, Present and Future by the Ghosts of Christmas, this is a charming take on what has often been drawn in a more adventure-style way. 

As I mentioned, there have been past comic strip adaptations of A Christmas Carol, but off the top of my head, while there have been animated humour-led versions, I can’t think of a comic version that has used this approach, and with such panache. Dave’s telling of the story is a perfect complement to Joe’s smashing, fun-filled art, with some humorous asides from Scrooge during the story that will, I think, play well to younger readers. (They certainly played well with this old silly reader).

Along with the main story, there’s also a number of gallery pictures featuring Scrooge and other characters from the story, by the likes of Beano artist Nigel Parkinson and Hunt Emerson. Smashing!

To quote  Nigel Parkinson himself: “Don’t ask! Just buy it! Great work from Joe Matthews and Dave McCluskey!”

And so say I!

• Buy  A Christmas Carol direct from Joe at his many appearances such as SciFi Wales today or the Lakes International Comic Art Festival in October. Place your order with Joe by email before the end of September and get a free character sketch included pay via paypal at £12 including p&p 84 A4 pages in full colour

Destination Venus in Harrogate will be stocking A Christmas Carol

• Tweedmill Shopping Outlet at St. Asaph are also stocking A Christmas Carol and Joe has agreed to do a book signing nearer Christmas

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John Freeman

The founder of downthetubes, John works as a comics editor, writer, as Creative Consultant on the Dan Dare audio adventures for B7 Media, and on promotional work for the Lakes International Comic Art Festival. Working in British comics publishing for over 30 years, his credits include editor of titles such as Doctor Who Magazine, Star Trek Magazine and Babylon 5 Magazine. He also edited the comics anthology STRIP Magazine and edited several audio comics for ROK Comics. He has also edited several comic collections, including volumes of “Charley’s War and “Dan Dare”. He’s the writer of “Crucible”, a creator-owned project with 2000AD artist Smuzz, published on Tapastic; and “Death Duty” and “Skow Dogs” with Dave Hailwood for digital comic 100% Biodegradable.

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