Dec 22, 2016

The 40 Years of Comics Project - Day 666: Jingle Belle #1, November 1999

It was tempting, on so auspiciously-numbered a day, to review a comic of a more devilish bent, but considering the time of year, Jingle Belle is a nice compromise. Telling the story of Santa's out of control daughter, Jingle Belle is not a kids' Christmas comic. While all of the themes of the season are there, Jing's adventures tend more toward rampant destruction and chaos, a seething dislike for the children her father loves, and constant misguided attempts to win his affection and respect. So, basically, she's just like every other teenager/young adult out there, except her dad's a magical Christmas being.

It's really lovely to see Paul Dini's talents applied outside of the superhero genre. This is not to say the his superhero work is not superlative, but there's some creators who are really good at one genre, but whose attempts at other genres aren't so great. Coupled with the excellent art of Stephen DeStefano, this is a Christmas comic for people who like a little bit of spice with their sugar plums. There's a particular sequence in which Jing's latest holiday invention (a rig that looks like a sci-fi cosplay but actually uses live ammo) has just been turned down, and she's sitting next to a mass-produced Jar Jar Binks doll (never named, but the "Meesa loves yousa" that the doll spouts is telling), which she proceeds to blow to pieces with her apparatus. The expression on her face sums up the feelings of many toward that little bit of Star Wars foolishness.

This is also the only Christmas comic I'm reading this week that takes up more than a single issue. Jing accidentally revives the powers of the Blizzard Wizard, an evil sorcerer who once ruled the North Pole, before Saint Nick came along and liberated the elves. At the end of today's issue, he has revealed himself to the world, cancelled Christmas, and told everyone that it's Jing's fault. At which point, the snowballs begin to fly. I'm sure Christmas will be saved tomorrow. Maybe.


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