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Jingle Belle 1
"Miserable On 34th Street"

COVER IMAGE NOT FOUND November, 1999

Written By Paul Dini
Illustrated By Stephen DeStefano
Lettered By Sean "Mistletoe" Konot
With Special Thanks To David Mazzuchelli For His Invaluable Help

A long time ago... the evil Blizzard Wizard held an icy grip over the North Pole and all within. The northern elves were forced to carve exquisite ice sculptures to please their new master. Queen Mirabelle, leader of the elves, stood before the tyrannical mage and demanded their freedom...

The queen soon learned that she wasn't in the best position for making demands. As the Blizzard Wizard began to freeze Mirabelle in her place, he saw a nearby ice wall crumble... and through it came the elves' true rescuer... Santa Claus!

Santa and his animal friends went into battle against the evil magician. The animals quickly subdued the wizard's followers, and once the Blizzard Wizard surrendered his power, Santa banished him to the ice caverns forever. In thanks for the timely rescue, the elves decided to join their savior in spreading happiness to the world's children. They aided in setting up the workshop from which the most incredible presents would come from. Santa and Queen Mirabelle were wed... and they would be blessed with the most wonderful gift of all...

On the floor of Santa's workshop, the elves are distracted from their work by Jingle Belle, who is enjoying the latest Christmas CD from Eddie the Elf. She lifts her boots in time to the beat and the two mallets in her hand begin to hammer notes into the air...

Jingle grabs her cousin, Rusty, and begins to dance with him! The elf is surprised that his cousin would do such a nice thing... especially since she's usually mean to him! When Rusty asks if this means that she'll be nice to him from now on, Jingle smiles, and swings him off into the direction of the Louisville Sluggers! She performs a somersault, with each of her feet finding a home in a pair of toy wagons!

The hammering continues, as each of the elves find their heads being used as a xylophone, and for Jingle, the ride is over when she collides with a belly which must be filled with jelly! Her father sees her climbing up from the pile of teddy bears, and tells him that she was just enjoying Eddie's holiday tunes. With three days left before Christmas, Santa needs her help, and his daughter is dancing about like a demented toy! As it happens, Jingle wants to show her father a new toy she's been working on! As he tries to picture what type of toy his daughter would come up, she dashes off to get it! Santa turns to an elf and tells him to never have kids. Herbie assures him that he's had his tubes tied many years ago...

Jingle returns, wearing the latest in war-toy accessories. Her father tells her that war-toys are out and space-toys are in. The Jar-Jar Binks-like dolls are spewed forth on the conveyor belt, as Jingle is barely able to contain her disgust. She is sure that her new toy contains all the action and fun that the kids will want! Santa looks closely at the armaments on his daughter's wrists, and figures that it's a bit much for something that'll fire foam darts! Jingle flexes her right wrist... SMAK! SMAK! POM! WHOMP It turns out that her wrist-mortar was loaded with live ammo! The Jar-Jars dolls go flying from the blast, as Jingle reaches for a screwdriver to tighten the trigger...

Santa wants his daughter to take off the arsenal at once, and reaches for the giant candy cane at her back. She tells him that Li'l Bubba has just been activated... TICK...TICK...TICK... They both duck for cover as the giant candy cane flies out of the workshop, and heads for the bakery factory...WHOOOM After taking in the sight of what's left of the bakery, Santa and Jingle argue over her ability to come up with new toys.

The elves are gathered to dig up what's left of the bakery, while Jingle is sent to her igloo by her father. As she plunks down on an empty workbench, one of the surviving dolls professes its "luv" for her... POOM! It's an explosive finish for this space-toy! Jingle is greeted by Gretchen, who walks up, and is covered from head to toe in frosting!

When she starts to tells Jing about the accident, Gretchen learns that Santa's little girl was behind it... again! Every time she tries to do something in common with her father, it quite literally blows up in her face. Jingle Belle is determined to prove that she can do the Christmas stuff as well as her dad... maybe even better! When the frosting proves to be stuck in Gretchen's braids, Jingle whistles for Thrasher to help. The musk ox proceeds to chew at the frosty hairs, and she tells Gretchen that bangs are in this year! Jingle Belle's attempts at haircutting are being viewed on an ice crystal ball by the Blizzard Wizard. Knowing that the daughter of his arch-enemy wants to impress Santa, the Bliz Wiz figures that he can get some revenge in time for Christmas!

As the elf messenger leaves the note for this year's meet-and-greet, Santa continues his pacing of the living room floor, and wonders where he went wrong with his daughter. As parents, Jingle was given everything she could ever want, and Mirabelle tells her husband that was the problem! He had spoiled her rotten as a baby, and now that she's a teenager, Jingle Belle doesn't seem to embrace her father's spirit for the holidays. He wishes that she would do at least one good deed during this time of the year, while Jingle's latest deed is to switch the address for the meet-and-greet from behind his very back! Each year, the elves select a place where Santa Claus visits and listens to what the children want for Christmas. This year, Jingle will take her father's place!

It should be a simple matter for her to listen to what the kids want this year. In fact, this may be the year that she'll find something other than coal in her stocking. Thanks to her father's kid-scanner, Jingle will be able to tell automatically if a child has been good or bad for the year! Gretchen chuckles and pretends to give her a wish list, as the kid-scanner finds her to have been nice this year. She then points out to Jingle about the small matter of getting off the North Pole. Santa's little girl is way ahead of her, as she carries a bucket of the special flying corn the reindeer eat. It will be enough for Thrasher to fly her to New York and back! Gretchen looks at the musk ox and sees that it won't be a smooth lift-off...

Jing mounts onto Thrasher and tells Gretchen that the flying corn has some refried beans mixed in! As once-braided elf runs screaming for cover... BRRRAAAAP! MOOOOOOOO!! Thrasher has taken one small step for Jingle... and one giant leap from the North Pole! The musk ox keeps a southerly course, but runs into some storm clouds... CRAAACKK Thrasher thrashes from the lightning bolt, and Jingle falls towards the snow wastes far below...

AAAHHHHH!! CHOMP The fallen elf soon finds herself in the ice-cold presence of the Blizzard Wizard. Bliz Wiz is surprised when he learns that Jingle has never heard of him!

When the Blizzard Wizard asks if they speak of him in Elf History Class, she remembers it as a time for listening to her walkman, instead! Bliz whispers to Big Jimmie that this will be easier than he thought. He tells Jingle that he and her father go back a long ways. In fact, he would like his special snow-globe which can control the bad weather from Santa! It's almost Christmas Eve and Bliz hasn't heard from Kris Kringle yet! While she admires the snowstorm, the wizard punts Big Jimmy, who tells Jingle that Santa's globe must not be working...

As the Blizzard Wizard tells her that he'll be happy to fix the snow-globe, Jingle sees on the kid-scanner that he has been very naughty this year! In exchange for this favor, Bliz promises her clear skies on her way to New York. He know that she wants to get on her father's good side and this deed will be one that Santa will never forget! Once she has found the snow-globe, and drops it off... she'll be on her way... and the Blizzard Wizard will be fully re-charged... before letting her father know who is responsible for his return!

At Macy's in New York, the store manager waits for Santa to arrive, along with several children in line, and a little girl who wonders if something bad has happened to him... The store employee wearing elf-gear tells her that he may be running a little late, but Santa would never forget the children. The jolly old soul is sure to come through the door, laughing and wishing everyone a Merry -- FOOMP! The doors open... with one of them striking the store manager on the back of his head, as Jingle Belle has arrived! Sitting in Santa's chair, she tells them about the big storm and the strange ice guy she met on the way here...

It was in Ontario where Jing had to ask for directions, and in New York, Thrasher had to circle Long Island a few times due to air traffic... As she checks her make-up, Jingle sees the employee in the elf suit, and giggles. She introduces herself as Santa's daughter, "Jingle Belle," like the song. When the store manager asks what happened to Santa Claus, she tells him that her father had a previous engagement. At the Temple Beth-El Chanukkah Party, Santa is doing a double-take of his surroundings, while the rabbi tells him to relax and offers him a latke.

Jing tells the store manager if her father has enough confidence in her being here, then the children shouldn't be kept waiting. The elf-employee figures that she's probably an actress looking for a part, and suggests that she fill in until Santa shows. The store manager sighs, and tells the employee that she can stay...for the moment. Removing her coat, Jingle asks who wants to sit on her lap, and the hands go up. Since this is kids only, the horn-dogs in the line have to sit this one out. First up is Janet, who wants some Barbies and a new bike. Since the kid-scanner shows she's been nice this year, it's not a problem. The next child is a shy little boy...

Since he's on the nice list, Jing suggests some Poke'mon cards, while making the modest child nod with her hand on his head. His friend wants some Poke'mon cards and some video games... a sled... but she tells him not to push his luck. Jing relaxes in the chair, figuring her job to be over, but Andy the Elf tells her that this was just the first round! As the little children begin to surround her, her lap begins to ache. A child who had been pretty bad this year offers five bucks for a good word with Santa. A little girl who is scanned as so-so can look forward to a box of crayons or half a tub of army men instead of a swingset. During Santa's ten minute break, Jing catches up on gossip from her cell phone. When Jing tells a rather portly child that he should watch his weight, she is reprimanded by the elf-employee.

Andy tells her that he had heard that Santa likes kids, but Jingle wonders how her father didn't lose his sanity over the years from listening to the little brats. Since she is in a store, Jing decides to take the kids on a tour. At the North Pole, Santa has returned from his yearly visit at a different place, when there's a knock at the door... When Gretchen sees who is on the other side of the door, she slams it shut, and her lone braid is frozen in fear!

When Santa asks if it's Jingle Belle out in the snow, Gretchen insists that it's not! Able to tells when a child is not telling the truth, he prepares to open the door, with the elf clawing frantically at him not to! The Kringle-Man finds out for himself that the weather outside is frightful... and far from delightful, as the Blizzard Wizard and his troops freeze him into place!

At the store, another little girl asks for a dollhouse, a pair of skates... while Jing continues her own shopping. The kids want a football... a Nintendo... a puppy, while Santa's little girl wants to try on some shoes! The parents had brought their children to meet Santa Claus, not some girl who's trying on make-up. The shoppers are determined to take their business elsewhere, while the store manager prepares to have a few words with Ms. Jingle Belle! Instead of payment for her time in cash, she'd rather take the merchandise she has personally picked out. He can't believe that she's asked for "payment" since Santa never charged for his time! When she tells him that she wants all the items to be delivered to her house, Jing starts to give directions for her igloo, while the store manager rolls up his sleeves, and prepares to fulfill her transportation needs personally... She takes an unceremonious trip through the revolving door, and finds herself out on the cold pavement.

The children now see her as a fake, and Jingle heads for her musk ox, which has been tied to a parking meter. This Christmas, Jing has succeeded in blowing up her father's workshop and letting down every kid in New York. She knows that it can't get any worse... and then, it does! On the huge monitor, the Blizzard Wizard appears, and announces that this year's yuletide will be a crueltide, instead! With Santa frozen in ice, he won't be on time for his annual gift-giving... ever again!

The realization of what she's done hits Jingle at the same time that the Bliz Wiz shows her picture on the huge screen, as the one who made all of this possible! The children who were watching turn towards her, and see Jing as the one who has ruined Christmas! Backing up slowly, she points out that there will be a Christmas with candles...carols... and Jesus... SPLUSH! Alas, without the promise of gifts, the children begin throwing snowballs, with Jingle Belle on the receiving end, and Thrasher seeing that New York is one tough town.

Paul Dini has always loved Christmas comics. As a child, he waited all year for them and bought as many as he could when they were on the stands. Every December, he pulls out and reads such classics as Sheldon Mayer's annual Sugar and Spike holiday stories, Carl Barks' "A Christmas In Shacktown," Will Eisner's Christmas Spirit, and several yuletide-related stories by Walt Kelly. One of the things he finds cool is that at one time or another, every creator has done a Christmas story. Denny O'Neil wrote the Frank Miller-drawn "Wanted: Santa Claus - Dead Or Alive" and Mike Friedrich's teaming with Neal Adams, "Silent Night of the Batman," where the citizens of Gotham enjoy the holiday, while the Caped Crusader spends Christmas Eve singing carols with the police.

It was in 1996 that Dini was looking for something seasonal to wear and came up with a design to have painted on his bomber jacket. It was a sexy girl elf in green shorts and candy-striped tights resting next to a Christmas ornament in the style of the beauties painted on the noses of WWII fighter planes. As Paul was going for the Memphis Belle look, it was a simple leap to name her, "Jingle Belle." When he wore the jacket to the family get-together, his niece, Caitlin (nine-years old then) asked about the girl on the jacket. Who was she, what did she do, where did she come from? The story of Jing and her relationship to Santa began to take shape. He liked the idea that the icon known for being generous to children might have difficulties where his own daughter is concerned. The master gift-giver might have spoiled his offspring as a small child, only to have her become a teen-aged brat. Once he had his facts down, Dini promised his niece to tell Jing's story in the form of the Christmas Comics he loved as a child. Paul presented the idea to the folks at Oni, they liked it, and here it is.

Bob Schreck gave the character a home; Joe Nozemack and Jaime Rich put it together; Bill Morrison gave a great cover, as well as a t-shirt design; Jill Thompson and Sergio Aragones provided pin-ups; and encouragement from Arleen Sorkin, Eddie Gorodetsky, Alex Ross, Lynne Naylor, Coop & Ruth, Alan Burnett, Kevin Smith, and David Mandel. Jing's best friend is Stephen DeStefano, and with some practice, Paul is sure that with a lot of practice and effort, perhaps someday he'll be able to write half as well as DeStefano draws.

Steve Chung
"Review On 34th Street"