The Quarter Bin

Videos, Reviews, and Previews For Comic Fans

Review: Jingle Belle: Santa Claus vs. Frankenstein

Posted by Sarah LeBoeuf On December - 3 - 2008

Now that Thanksgiving is over, Christmas season is officially here. What better way to kick it off than with a new Jingle Belle one-shot from Top Cow? Hit the jump to find out what happens when Santa’s rebellious teenage daughter befriends Frankenstein’s monster three days before Christmas.

Jingle Belle: Santa Claus Vs. Frankenstein
Writer: Paul Dini

Artist: Stephanie Gladden
Cover Artists: Stephanie Gladden, Greg Horn

Even though Paul Dini’s Jingle Belle character has been around for years, this was my first meeting with her. However, I love Christmas, and I’m a junkie for new versions of classic stories and fairy tales, so this holiday one-shot was a perfect match for me. Combine the subject matter with some great, clever writing, and wonderful artwork, and it’s definitely a hit.

It’s three days before Christmas, and all is not well in the North Pole. Santa’s reputation is being threatened by a politician on a rampage looking for an easy target to crucify. That target is Santa Claus, who is being represented as a poor role model unfairly judging which children are naughty and nice. Meanwhile, Santa’s own daughter, Jingle Belle, has abandoned her work in the factory to do a little extreme snowboarding, where she runs into a frozen-stiff Frankenstein. After thawing the guy out, he and Jingle become fast friends, and she gets him a job in Santa’s workshop. Naturally, some shenanigans ensue.

From the start, I loved the way Paul Dini poked fun at clueless public figures trying to make names for themselves by going after something harmless, instead of tackling real issues. Since I work in the video game industry, I see this very thing constantly–politicians, lawyers, clueless parents, and conservative bloggers crusading against video games without really understanding them. Dini absolutely nailed this type with his portrayal of the politician, and her dialogue was perfect.

I also enjoyed how Dini forgoes the grunting, brainless monster to make Frankenstein a self-educated, hard-working man who just wants a little companionship. After being thawed, Frankie learns how he has been portrayed for centuries, both in movies and merchandise. “Oh please… I can express myself in ways other than grunting!” he protests. Details like that just made this issue for me. It would have been easy to go the traditional route, but giving Frankenstein a personality made him a genuinely likable character, and his friendship with Jingle was portrayed wonderfully.

Stephanie Gladden’s artwork perfectly accompanies this story. With a background in cartoons, her style really works with the fun, amusing attitude of the issue. Just like Dini’s dialogue helps make the characters likable, Gladden’s depictions of Santa, Jingle Belle, Frankenstein, and even Polly Green, the “official witch of Halloween” (and Jingle’s BFF, duh) really bring this tale to life.

It’s a shame this is only a one-shot, because I would like to see more of Jingle and Frankie, or at least read more issues of Jingle Belle. Luckily, this won’t be the last we hear from Paul Dini, and I’m looking forward to seeing his Dinicartoons published by Top Cow.

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