Multiversity’s Advent Calendar Day Twenty: Teen Titans #13

By | December 20th, 2011
Posted in Columns | % Comments

We here at Multiversity get pretty excited about the holidays, and this year we’re sharing that excitement with the rest of you as we celebrate that wonder of wonders: THE HOLIDAY COMIC!

Each day for the next twenty-five days, and in no particular order, we’ll be featuring one yuletide yarn set to the tune of tidings of comfort and joy, and today is a treat from the Winter of Love, 1967, which features, perhaps, the most ridiculous retelling of Charles Dickens’s A Christmas Carol of all time. It’s “The Teen Titans’ Swingin’ Christmas Carol!”

Hit the jump for the groovy recap!

Day #1#2#3#4#5#6#7#8#9#10#11#12#13#14#15#16, #17, #18, #19

Who Did It? Teen Titans #13 was written by Bob Haney and drawn by Nick Cardy, with plenty of credit due to the aforementioned Mr. Dickens.

What Is It About? The Teen Titans are doing what four young, hormone crazed teenagers would be doing in their hideout all alone – reading! In a bizarrely meta moment, Wonder Girl, Kid Flash and Aqualad are all reading comic books staring their mentors, while Robin instead chooses to read A Christmas Carol (although he does have a Batman comic handy, too). Robin is ridiculed for reading a real book and how out of touch the story is, and he tells the others: “Duh guys, this could totally happen now.”

And then it does happen now.

BUT, and see if you can follow me here, this isn’t an imaginary story or some sort of collective fever dream, no, this ACTUALLY happens. Except is Ebeneezer Scrounge (not Scrooge), Mr. Ratchet (not Cratchet), Tiny Tom (not Tim), etc. The weirdest part is that, save for the Titans, no one else realizes how coincidental this all is. It was as if, in our actual world, Larry Porter went to Fogwarts to be a wizard and didn’t realize that this was all a bit familiar.

The Titans then manage to stop all the illegal activity Mr. Scrounge is doing (we’ll come back to this in a second) and pose as the Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and Future (again, we’ll come back to this), before being found out and fighting the hoodlums that work for Scrounge, until he suddenly turns over a new leaf and isn’t a prick anymore.

Now, onto that illegal activity. This is some pretty awesome, late ‘60s shit, as this sort of criminal behavior barely gets you arrested today, let alone stalked by superheroes. Basically, Scrounge owns a junk yard, and he, under the table, accepts money from some shadowy figures who import junk from overseas, use a magic ray to restore it to its original beauty, and then sell it WITHOUT PAYING DUTY ON IT. They make a point of saying that this is all to avoid paying duty. Someone call Customs!

So basically, Scrounge is just renting out his land without filing it on his taxes (call the IRS!) to a shady organization. Oh, and he’s a bastard to his employees (call the Better Business Bureau!).

Now, when posing as the Ghost of Christmas Future, Wonder Girl manages to throw/contort her voice and convince Scrounge that she is random observers as well as Tiny Tom, all commenting on his death. Is being an impressionist a skill of the Amazons that I just never read about, or is this just lazy writing? I’m assuming the latter.

Is It Holiday Friendly? If your holidays are spent lamenting how kids these days are always making love and not war and smoking doobies, surely. I say that because this book has the most hilariously “1967 middle aged guys trying to talk like teenagers” dialogue ever. Just check out some of these gems:

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Fantastic. Absolutely fantastic. So, if you are the type of person who calls rock and roll race music, or thinks that Sonny and Cher were too edgy, this probably is just the comic for you, perfectly epitomising youth culture.

The other part of this comic that has gotten a lot of attention on the intarwebs is the skimpy Santa suit that Wonder Girl wears. I found no less than 3 articles online of older men talking about this outfit.


And finally, if the term “skinflint” offends you, DO NOT BUY THIS BOOK. In at least four spots, this is thrown around as a synonym for miser or cheapskate, but it is treated as if they are calling him a motherfucker.

So, holiday themed? Yes. Holiday friendly? Maybe not so much.

Brian Salvatore

Brian Salvatore is an editor, podcaster, reviewer, writer at large, and general task master at Multiversity. When not writing, he can be found playing music, hanging out with his kids, or playing music with his kids. He also has a dog named Lola, a rowboat, and once met Jimmy Carter. Feel free to email him about good beer, the New York Mets, or the best way to make Chicken Parmagiana (add a thin slice of prosciutto under the cheese).