Jingle Belle Holiday Special Santa Claus vs. Frankenstein
It's the Christmas season and, predictably, time of Santa-denying again. In Jingle Belle Holiday Special Santa Claus vs. Frankenstein, the Scrooge wannabe is not a crotchety old man or a goofy imaginary animal, but a lady politician...totally predictable these days when every creative endeavor, it seems, is steeped in politics. How boring is it when the very first word balloon is uttered by a character who is immediately pegged as at best immoral and at worst prison-worthy?
The artwork by Stephanie Gladden, a fellow member of the Atlanta comics family, is spot-on. Her visual storytelling in this particular genre is unparalleled, so I gritted my teeth and read on suspiciously, reveling in her spectacular compositional talent. But all the artistic genius in the world couldn't suppress the gag effect that eventually overcame me. My apologies go out to Steph whose abilities, I believe, were wasted here.
I yearned for a twist in the story that would have made it more interesting, but as I read on, Paul Dini's agenda became so evident, I gave up hope. Traditionally, Christmas tales are meant to be uplifting...terminating in an epiphany that restores one's faith in humanity. Instead all I got was a 21st century morality play that, in the end, propped up the Frankenstein monster as the true holiday hero, while Santa came off as little more than a politically-correct, accommodating entrepreneur...and a poser.
Which brings me to the most disappointing aspect of Dini's scenario. It wasn't funny. When it becomes taboo for any character (except maybe one running for public office) to be portrayed as stupid or downright bad...when each and every hero is also an antihero...when no demographic can be insulted for fear of racial (or whatever) profiling...there can be no true comedy. What makes people laugh is not gray area pandering. Humor is black and white...stupid and smart...right and wrong. What makes something funny is that it is painfully true.