Teen Titans #13 (January-February, 1968)
“The TT’s Swingin’ Christmas Carol!”
Writer – Bob Haney
Artist – Nick Cardy
Cover Price: $0.12
Merry Christmas, friends! Hope everyone woke up to a tree-full of great stuff from Santa.
Today we’re going to wrap up our Twelve Days of Christmas on Infinite Earths with one Swingin’ Christmas Carol. I know what you’re thinking… “Chris, you merry elf… you covered this story last year!” To which I say… well, yeah… I did!
We looked at this story way back on December 21, 2016 as part of the 1988 Christmas With the Super-Heroes Special. So, why do it again?
Well… I finally came into a copy of the original… which has been one of my “white whales” of collecting… also, I get to share all of the groovy ads and letters page… last year I was only able to dedicate about a paragraph to this in our “discussion” section… and finally, it affords me the opportunity to “organically” promote the fact that Reggie and I included this in the Cosmic Treadmill Christmas Special… now available for download!
Before we hop in… I’d like to once again wish everyone the Merriest and Brightest Holiday! Thank you all for a great year of comics chatter… and look forward to our 700th Daily Discussion coming in just five days!
We open at Ebeneezer Scrounge’s Junkorama… oi… inside Scrounge is being a slave-driver to his employee… Bob *hm* Ratchet. Bob asks Scrounge if he might have Christmas Day off to be with his son, Tiny Tom… is any of this sounding familiar? No? It’s just me, then? Anyhoo… Scrounge is all “Humbug”, but tells him if he gets his work done he can have the day off. Hmm, sounds reasonable, no? Suddenly a truck pulls up, and Scrounge decides to shoo Ratchet off for the evening.
Just as this occurs, Tiny Tom rolls up in his not-so-deluxe wheelchair. He overhears Scrounge and a pair of thugs making a deal on some old garbage. Ya see, they’ve got a sort of ray that makes old garbage into new stuff. Why, they’ll make millions!
Tom rushes home to tell his father what he’d heard. He suggests he confront Scrounge with it… which, goes about as well as you might imagine. Scrounge decides that poor Ratchet’s gonna have to work Christmas after all. Tiny Tom’s outta tricks, so he decides to call in the cavalry… the Teen Titans! Not sure how he got a hold of them… but, c’maaaaaan, it’s Christmas… we’ll allow it.
The Titans hide under the bad guys’ truck as they head out. They are stopped by a giant of a man who starts wrecking fools left and right. The Titans bail out and decide to trail their potential ally… all the way back to Ebeneezer Scrounge’s run down mansion.
The big man beats on the door onto Scrounge answers… it’s Jacob *hm* Farley, fresh from the clink… still wearing the stripes, even! He’s here to take some justice from the ol’ skinflint’s be-hind.
The Titans enter the mansion before Farley can obliterate the old geezer… and we come to find that he was Scrounge’s scapegoat for some scummy dealings, which caused some on-the-job injury. Scrounge knows his rights, and decides to phone up the police… Farley and the Titans both scram before they get arrested. Outside, the Titans compare what they’re going through with Dicken’s A Christmas Carol… okay, so we’re going there, fair enough.
The gang decides… what the hell… let’s keep playing along. Maybe have ol’ Scrounge visited by some ghosts and what-not… which, ya know… is exactly what they’re gonna do. First it’s the Ghost of Christmas Past… who I’m guessing is Wally, because he comes in through the wall. He spooks Scrounge pretty good… causing him to flee the mansion…
… where he meets the Ghost of Christmas Present… who is, I dunno… either Robin or Aqualad, I guess. He takes Scrounge out to where he can see Bob Ratchet digging through the snow for spare parts with which he can repair Tiny Tom’s wheelchair… good thing there’s a perfectly good wheel under that snowdrift, right?
Finally, the Ghost of Christmas Future arrives… which is, get this… Wonder Girl in a cute little Santa onesie, with her hood up. We hear some phantom voices about Scrounge’s legacy, including a very nice one from Tiny Tom. The baddies arrive during the haunting… and, not messing around… shoot her right out of the sky. Ouch. Anyhoo, the jig is up.
The next scene is a… weird fighty bit, where the Titans get sucked into a giant “garbage tree” or something. I guess it’s an anti-burglar device… that, I dunno… attracts human flesh?
Suddenly, the attractor starts… attracting, Tiny Tom’s wheelchair. It falls and gets crushed… and they say, that Ebeneezer Scrounge’s heart grew three sizes that day. Seeing the wheelchair of the only boy who ever said anything nice about him destroyed is enough to set him off. He turns off the machine, and frees the Titans.
Scrounge has seen the light… he decides to turn over a new leaf… he even goes as far as to buy Tiny Tom a state of the art, groovy electric wheelchair!
Not only that, Ebeneezer replaces Wonder Girl’s cute little Santa suit so the gang can all pose and deliver a very special (and of course, swinging and groovy) Holiday greeting!
This one just gets sillier (and better) every time I read it! I think it’s the perfect note to end our Twelve Days of Christmas on Infinite Earths feature on.
We really acquainted ourselves with this story for the latest Cosmic Treadmill Podcast… there was so much great far-out dialogue in here that I was toying with the idea of scripting out the entire thing!
The thing of it is now, however, is that I almost feel too close to this one to give it a “fair and balanced” review. I think I can safely say this one won’t rock everybody’s socks. It’s pretty light on action… and it’s, ya know, a parody/homage to A Christmas Carol (by Dickens, if ya dig), so we get pretty much exactly what we expect.
Scrooge/Scrounge is visited upon… then has a complete change of heart. That’s the quick and the dirty on both stories. It still tickles me thought, that the Titans actually come to the revelation that their situation is strikingly similar to A Christmas Carol halfway through the issue. I mean, it sets up the second half… but it’s still just so weird!
Nick Cardy’s art here is fantastic… and just like we mentioned during the podcast, his work on the Titans and the A Christmas Carol knock-offs is quite different. The Titans still look like their usual comic book selves, whereas the rest have sort of a rougher look… heavily shadowed… almost as if they’d literally just stepped out of an old book. It’s a great look and doesn’t distract from the storytelling one bit.
Overall… this story gets a huuuge recommendation from ol’ Santa Chris. It’s available digitally, and has been reprinted a whole slew of times (including 1988’s Christmas With the Super-Heroes, natch). If you see this one, definitely grab it… I think you’ll have a great time with it.
Before I cut out (for another handful of Christmas cookies that I shouldn’t be eating), I want to once again wish everyone a happy and safe holiday season. Thanks for making this a great year… and hopefully some of my silliness has helped in some small part to brighten yours!
O’ Christmas Tree 2017: