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Comic Book / Zombies Christmas Carol

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And so with Scrooge laying as mankind's last hope, Humanity might as well have extinguished its final fires this very Christmas Eve.

Zombies Christmas Carol is a limited miniseries published by Marvel Comics in 2011. It's written by Jim McCann and illustrated by‎ David Baldeon and Jeremy Treece. While not connected to the Marvel Zombies line, it has themes in common with the work, featuring renowned characters battling the zombie apocalypse—in this case, Ebenezer Scrooge of A Christmas Carol.

One Christmas Eve, as a plague of zombies inexorably sweeps through London, Scrooge refuses to help anyone affected by the circumstances, including his nephew Fred, his clerk Bob Cratchit, and especially the Hungry Dead themselves. He's visited by the zombie ghost of his former partner, Jacob Marley, who warns Scrooge that he will be visited by three other spirits in his only hope of changing himself and saving the world. For Scrooge has much more to do with this plague than he'd care to admit, and humanity's time is almost up...

This comic contains examples of:

  • Arc Words: "The surplus population," a term Scrooge used for the poor in the original book, is used as a descriptor for the Hungry Dead. Its usage gets increasingly sinister the further into the future Scrooge goes.
  • Art Shift: The past and future scenes are drawn in a different style than the present day, and the issue covers are drawn in a more gritty, realistic style than the comic itself.
  • An Ass-Kicking Christmas: Subverted. After the final ghostly vision, Scrooge shaves, puts on his best suit and cane, and strides into the zombie plague in a splash page that seems it will be this... and he does exactly as he did in the original story, helping them through charity and goodwill.
  • Bad Future: The vision the Ghost of Christmas Yet To Come shows Scrooge is definitely this. The majority of the population are undead with all their reasoning gone, the few remaining humans hold out futilely in Scrooge's empty house, Fred's whereabouts are unknown, Bob Cratchit is murdered by his zombified family, and an undead Scrooge rises to lead the zombies.
  • Berserk Button: The zombified Belle murdered her husband Edmund when he mentioned Scrooge.
  • Bloodier and Gorier: It's a zombie story, so this is inevitable, with the single goriest page being Ignorance and Want killing the Ghost of Christmas Present.
  • Composite Character: The Ghost of Christmas Past is also Scrooge's ex-girlfriend, Belle.
  • Cynicism Catalyst: The horse biting Scrooge when he tried to help it nurtured his hate and evil, leading him to nearly doom the world. Scrooge lampshades how petty an event it really was after his reformation.
  • Dead Person Impersonation: Scrooge pretends to be the deceased Marley so the gentlemen asking for help will leave.
  • Death by Adaptation:
    • In the Bad Future, Bob Cratchit dies instead of Tiny Tim, who instead becomes a zombie who can't die.
    • In the present day, Scrooge himself dies after saving the day.
  • Death Takes a Holiday: The story starts with "Death had lost its grip, to begin with" and goes into detail about how the Hungry Death began to spread. After Scrooge reforms, this no longer applies.
  • Elite Zombie: In the bad future, with the majority of undead converged into a single mind, Scrooge becomes the zombies' leader.
  • Fate Worse than Death: The infected are trapped in a perpetual, undying state of agony, constantly starving and neglected.
  • Fisher King: Mankind's dim prospects have made the Ghost of Christmas Present into a lumpy, troll-like figure who's somewhere between full to bursting and emaciated.
  • A Foggy Day in London Town: Fog is present throughout the story, representing both the plague and encroaching death.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • The initial description of Scrooge as someone whose heart was so frozen that no temperatures could affect him, taken from the book, foreshadows his role in spreading the Hungry Death.
    • The ghostly hearse and horses leading it, a random event in the original novel, makes Scrooge dwell on the infected horse bite he got as a young man.
    • The Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come has a jawbone, a curled hood, and hands similar to that of Scrooge himself, particularly when it first appears.
  • Go Out with a Smile: Scrooge dies happy and content, having learned how wonderful doing good is, knowing he's saved his friends, family, and the world, and undone the plague he caused.
  • Gory Discretion Shot: With the exception of the Ghost of Christmas Present's death, the worst deaths are off-panel or covered by the hordes of zombies.
  • Hate Plague: The real source of the plague is Scrooge's bitterness and callousness towards others, particularly those he cared for. Conversely, after he reforms his kindness towards those he spurned heals the zombies.
  • Heel–Face Turn: As in the original story, Scrooge has a change of heart after all the Ghosts show him.
  • Hive Mind: While the zombies are not this in the present day, by the time of the future they're so hungry and numerous that reasoning with them or helping them is futile, as everything rational has been compressed into a single, hungry drive.
  • Hope Bringer: Scrooge's sister Fran was this in life, and his nephew Fred is seen as the last bastion of hope in the world through his cheeriness and goodwill towards men, regardless of their circumstances. In the end, Scrooge himself becomes this and is able to save humanity.
  • Horror Hunger: The Hungry Dead are so neglected and starved they feed off of whatever's in front of them, including non-infected humans.
  • Inconsistent Spelling: Scrooge's sister is alternately named Fan or Fran, sometimes differing between consecutive panels.
  • Jacob Marley Apparel: Marley's chains in this were designed to keep his zombified form in check, including a muzzle so he couldn't bite people.
  • Jacob Marley Warning: With the twist that Marley is not only a ghost, but also a zombie.
  • Just Before the End: As the Ghosts warn, if Scrooge doesn't mend his ways and start helping people, humanity is irrevocably doomed.
  • Light Is Good: Pure, loving light, as represented by Fran and Fred, is universally good and can heal the zombies.
  • The Lost Lenore: Scrooge's ex Belle, who here is also the Ghost of Christmas Past.
  • Meaningful Name: The Hungry Death is used as a powerful metaphor for the poor and needy, which is emphasized with Ignorance and Want.
  • Mike Nelson, Destroyer of Worlds: Scrooge nearly single-handedly destroyed the world and wiped out mankind.
  • Named by the Adaptation: Belle's husband was unnamed in the book, and is given the name Edmund here.
  • Not Using the "Z" Word: While the title of the book and behind-the-scenes features mention zombies, the story itself doesn't call them that.
  • Patient Zero:
    • Jacob Marley was one of the first recorded victims of the Hungry Death, and helped spread the plague among the populace.
    • Scrooge contracted the Hungry Death from a horse, which rotted after administering the bite, and then he became the carrier to the rest of the world.
  • The Power of Hate: Scrooge was so nasty his bitterness and hatred nearly ended the world with the zombie plague.
  • The Power of Love: Fran and Fred both embody this, and Scrooge's love following his reformation is so strong he heals all of the zombies.
  • Raising the Steaks: Zombified, ghostly horses are seen on the stairs to Scrooge's bedroom, and as a young man Scrooge contracted the Hungry Death from an infected horse.
  • Rapid Aging: After Scrooge saves the day, Belle is restored, but rapidly ages and dies in his arms.
  • Redemption Equals Death: Scrooge's change of heart and resulting kindness reverts the zombies back and saves the world, but having become a Spirit of Christmas himself, he dies that same night.
  • Revenant Zombie: Many of the Hungry Dead are like their normal selves, just constantly starving and undead.
  • Saving Christmas: If Scrooge doesn't shape up, mankind and its Christmases are doomed. The Ghost of Christmas Present laments what should be happening on the holiday, and the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come is now the Ghost of Christmases That Will Never Come, represented as Scrooge himself.
  • Spared by the Adaptation: Jacob Marley is restored to life after Scrooge's reformation.
  • This Is Gonna Suck: Through narration and art, this is Scrooge's reaction to the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come.
    Scrooge knew he would not awaken from this, safe in the comfort of his soft bedsheets. Old Jacob Marley's prediction demanded one final Spirit. Scrooge, now quite well versed in the comings and goings of Spirits, understood this to be a simple fact—Here was not a Thing in which to seek comfort.
  • Together in Death: Scrooge and Belle are together in the afterlife.
  • Twisted Christmas: Lines from the original story are sometimes distorted and played with, and the zombie apocalypse setting isn't exactly cheery.
  • Undeath Always Ends: Subverted, as the zombies not being able to die is part of what makes them so horrifying and numerous. Played straight after Scrooge reforms, as zombies that needed death are granted it.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: Fred's fate in the future is unknown, though given the emphasis on Scrooge's redemption it's likely that even Fred's kindness wasn't enough to stop the rising tide of undead.
  • World-Healing Wave: Scrooge's reformation and kindness to his fellow man, especially the Hungry Dead, changes the infected to normal and lets the already-dead ones die peacefully.
  • Yet Another Christmas Carol: Even with the presence of zombies, the story is a fairly straight reimagining of A Christmas Carol and keeps to its themes of helping others, especially the poor.
  • Zombie Apocalypse: The Hungry Death swept through London and the entire world, starting with Scrooge himself.