Paul Dini's JINGLE BELLE is something like those great old Rankin-Bass Christmas specials would be if you took out Rudolph and replaced him with Pink. The gag is that there's a hellcat in Santa's household, and she looks great in tights. Not that Jing is bad - she's perfectly good-hearted. But sometimes a holiday girl's just gotta party.
Dini writes the Santa/Mother Claus/Jing family with an amusing familiarity... what they do is miraculous to children of the world, but to the family it's just routine, subject to all the squabbles any family goes through, particularly one with a perpetual teen in the house. Some of these stories are just slightly racy for some parents, perhaps, but it'd be a shame not to read them as a family.
For these stories, Dini called on other creators to help write and draw Jing's adventures, and the results are some of the character's best moments. For this review, I asked Dini why he chose to let others play with his creations:
"Whereas I came up with the inital model and poses on Jingle, I was never completely happy with my finished renderings of the character or her world. I am always dazzled by the artistry of the men and women I've been lucky enough to work with in animation. I thought if there was some way to get them involved, to say nothing of some gifted comic book artists I admired, then Jingle Belle would finally appear the way I always intended. I've been lucky that pretty much every story we've done so far has been a visual treat, or at least, I think so. Hey, better than if I had drawn it, anyway."
Light-spirited and blessedly free of shmaltz, with Jing, you never QUITE know if she's going to hug an orphan or kick him down a flight of stairs, and that puts a naughty but welcome spin on the holiday season.