A Christmas Carol: The Night That Changed the Life of Eliza Scrooge

Writer / Artist
A Christmas Carol: The Night That Changed the Life of Eliza Scrooge
A Christmas Carol: The Night That Changed the Life of Eliza Scrooge review
  • North American Publisher / ISBN: Dark Horse - 978-1-59582-991-7
  • Release date: 2012
  • UPC: 9781595829917
  • Contains adult content?: no
  • Does this pass the Bechdel test?: yes
  • Positive minority portrayal?: no

Charles Dickens published A Christmas Carol in 1843, and it’s never dropped out of print, while numerous adaptations have ensured his story has remained a festive favourite approaching two hundred years later. Rod Espinosa deals with an Eliza Scrooge, not an Ebenezer, and has her running a factory, not an office, but he otherwise sticks broadly to the story we all know.

Eliza can’t be bothered with Christmas as people taking time off interferes with her profits. She’s shown rejecting anything to do with the holiday, seeing off charity collectors and grumbling about idle workers before returning home to be greeted by the ghost of her dead business partner. They warn that she’ll be visited by three further spirits that night, and if after what they’ve shown her she won’t mend her ways she too will be destined for an unpleasant afterlife.

Espinosa places Eliza in buildings far grander than is traditional, her home straddling the line between mansion and palace, complete with columns outside, but his ghosts are fearsome, his Santa jolly, and the supporting cast suitably defined. Eliza herself matches the changes her character goes through, Espinosa capturing the range of tormented emotions, and it’s an unusual choice to have her turn up in Santa’s red robe at the end. However, while the backgrounds are functional, even in cheerier scenes there’s never much life. The houses have no personal touches people living in them would supply, there are no people on the streets, accounting for no footprints in the snow, and the buildings look as if they were constructed yesterday. It’s a frequent problem of digital art.

Despite that, there’s a reason A Christmas Carol is a perennial favourite. The sentimentality is what most recall, but it’s a harsh morality tale and few ever receive the gift of genuine awareness of how others see them, something we might all consider. Espinosa’s adaptation generally hits all the right spots, and Elisa works as well as Ebenezer.