Jingle Belle: Santa Claus vs. Frankenstein #1


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Jingle Belle: Santa Claus vs. Frankenstein #1


  • Words: Paul Dini
  • Art: Stephanie Gladden
  • Inks: Stephanie Gladden
  • Colors: Felix Serrano
  • Story Title: N/A
  • Publisher: Top Cow Comics/Image Comics
  • Price: $2.99
  • Release Date: Dec 4, 2008

Dinicartoons makes its debut with the return of a perennial favorite. Top Cow scored Dini and his world of original creations and this delightful tale is the perfect way to christen the new imprint.

For nine years, the writer has been marking the season with tales of Santa’s daughter, but those new to the concept need not worry. This is as new reader friendly as comics get. Dini has been flexing his done-in-one muscles over in Detective. Here he shows that all that exercise paid off. He has perfected the art form.

While Thelma Peake (a media loving politician) attacks the very idea of the jolly old embodiment of the Christmas Spirit, Jingle neglects her duties at the workshop. While snowboarding, our mischievous heroine finds the icy tomb of Frankenstein’s monster. When the onset of global warming thaws him out, hijinks ensue that eventually lead to a bizarre gambit to save Christmas in America.

This is the kind of Christmas story that just sparkles. It is written with the kid in all of us firmly in its sights. It evokes the timeless qualities of A Fat Albert Christmas or The Year Without a Santa Claus. Showing modern sensibilities, the book is a topical morality play starring an exuberant lead. The changing of the guard is hinted at with grumpy marks from conservative elves, but Santa keeps up with the times regardless.

There are laughs aplenty, as well as genuine Christmas charm. The real star though is Dini’s ability to find the archetype in the fun holiday classic. This isn’t the meaningful meditation of A Charlie Brown Christmas or Emmet Otter’s Jug Band Christmas but it is also not the slick commercialization found in the cartoon adaptation of Grandma Got Run Over By a Reindeer or Dr. Suess’s The Grinch (you know, the blasphemy starring Jim Carrey, not the Jones directed and Karloff narrated masterpiece). This is something in the middle. It is almost a kind of reimagination of Santa Claus Conquers the Martians with a bit of A Christmas Story thrown in for good measure. It is B movie schlock brimming with charm.

Along the way, Dini and Gladden show their animated pedigree. Both in the cartoon styled characters and the exaggerated dialogue. When councilwoman Peake speaks you can almost hear Scottie MacGregor’s shrill cackle. When Jingle Belle hops a snow dune, you can hear Anderson and Parish’s Sleigh Ride being driven by Jonas Brothers styled pop guitars; but when Frankie powers up his grotesque muscle sleigh, it is all Sabbath. It is that ability to bridge the youth of today with the curmudgeonly values of the older generation that makes a book like this work. This book does all of that and more. Add a cover split with the goodness of the interior artist’s work for the kiddies and one aimed squarely at the prime comic demographic with some Greg Horn cheesecake and the balancing act become supremely sublime.

Now all I need is a hip animated version on Bluray to enjoy in my home theater as opposed to the theater of my mind. Hot cocoa, ice covered trees, and fuzzy slippers are optional!

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