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Saturday, 24 December 2011

Paul Dini's JINGLE BELLE: Naughty and Nice

Written by Paul Dini
Illustrated by Stephen DeStefano

Lettered by Sean Konot and Stephen DeStefano
"Little Matchstick Girl" Illustrated and lettered by Barry Caldwell
"Jingle Belle Conquers the Martians" painted by Lawrence Marvit
Chapter one illustration by Bill Morrison
Chapter two illustration by Lynne Naylor

Publisher: Oni Press

What’s it about?
Jingle Belle is a punctual comic produced by Paul Dini, which he's been releasing every Christmas since 1999. Either in the form of short stories ("one shot" issues), or little graphic novels which have been either collections of previous short stories or original material.
They have been mostly printed in black & white comics.

Naughty and Nice is the first Jingle Belle book I'd recommend starting with.
It contains Jingle Belle's first two stories from Winter 1999 and 2000, as well as a bonus colored story from "Dini Double Feature #13" and some original content (one page stories and pin-ups) by various artists including Evan Dorkin, Alex Ross, Sergio Aragonés, Jill Thompson & Coop.

Jingle Belle is the eponymous daughter of the legendary Santa Claus.
With a father that mostly spends his whole year thinking about all the children across the world and preparing for one very special night, Jings is the rebellious daughter that every parents fears to have.
With a passion for mischief, the little elf girl tries to get by living surrounded such a strict family business.

The book also has an introduction by Eddie Gorodetsky (TV writer and producer behind such shows as The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air & Saturday Night Live).

What is good about it?
Jingle Belle is a very fun all-ages comic book for kids and adults alike.
The stories are pretty simple and straightforward enough, like a great saturday morning cartoon.
Christmas might seem like the principal subject here, but it's really the backdrop behind the show.
Jingle Belle is your typical teenage daughter...only, she lives in the least typical household.
The stories contained in this book are the very first Dini wrote for these characters, so they might not be as defined as they appear in later tales, but they're far from simple caricatures. (well besides Santa, who wasn't much more than your typical Santa Claus in these first pages)

Children will love the stories, the fun characters, the fast pacing and simplicity of it all.
A picture is worth a thousands words, and so is the case in Jingle Belle, Dini preferring letting the artists express Jingle Belle's adventures in the beautiful and big panels presented here.
Adults will surely enjoy the cartoony and detailed art work here. The artists Paul Dini selected to illustrate Jingle Belle are often from the "Bruce Timm" school, the lines clear, the figures bold and curvy.

There's also a wide range of artists picked up to do some characters pin-up, like Alex Ross or Sergio Aragonés. These interpretations are a nice break in-between stories.

What is bad about it?
Well it's sort of an expanded "Christmas Special".
Also I can imagine people hesitating picking this up in the middle of June.
Besides making a great Christmas gift, you really need to be a fan of the author(s) or love the character to remember picking this up some other time during the year.

Also, fans of deep, gritty and dark compelling stories might skip this sort of book.
This is no Grant Morrison or Alan Moore work, I know, but it never pretends to be either.

What’s the art like?
The art like the main character Jingle Belle is definitively young, fresh and dynamic.
It "bounces" all around if you will.

Stephen DeStefano, the artist behind the main featured storyline has a great style, and defined Jingle belle for artists to come:

There's a lot of artists interpretations over this book, showcasing Jingle Belle under the pen of various guest artists:

And finally there's a special color mini-story by artist Lawrence Marvit.
Very fun surprise at the end of the book.
The layouts are done such as to present a crazy story told by Jingle with big large panels and splash pages:

Other information
Jingle Belle Vol 1: Naughty & Nice
Black & White (+ a dozen Color Pages) - Trade paperback - 128 Pages
Priced at approximately £6.00
ISBN: 1-929998-08-2

If you liked this comic, I recommend checking out the other Jingle Belle books:
Jingle Belle Vol 2: Cool Yule Another collection, it features Jingle Belle's 2001 and 2002 comics as well as more bonus material
Jingle Belle Vol 3: Dash Away All A special Jingle Belle graphic novel released for Winter 2003.
Dark horse. It's an original 136 pages story.
Paul Dini's Jingle Belle In 2004, Jingle Belle moved from Oni Press to Dark Horse Comics.
There's also other various titles released as only issues as of today, but they haven't been collected yet.

And if you enjoyed Jingle Belle, I recommend you give a try to:
Mutant, Texas: Tales of Sheriff Ida Red Another Paul Dini original character, which crossed over and is a spin-off of sorts from Jingle Belle. More of an action/western tales however.


  1. Oh this is so going on the list for presents to give neices and nephews (when they are older and can read anyway!)

  2. Click on here at http://jingle-belle.wikia.com/wiki/Jingle_Belle_Wiki right now if you're actually a crazy fan of this.