Christmas Magic, by PAUL DINI

SUPER-STAR HOLIDAY SPECIAL: The Batman: The Animated Series writer, creator of Jingle Belle and — oh, yeah! — Harley Quinn, shares a Christmas tale of romance…

It’s the SUPER-STAR HOLIDAY SPECIAL: a series of holiday remembrances by some of the best in the biz — like Cliff Chiang, Kelley Jones and Ron Marz! Click here to check ’em out!

Hurry, it’s almost Christmas — and Paul Dini’s Jingle Belle has been collected all in one book by the fine folks at IDW. Jingle Belle: The Whole Package reprints all of Jingle’s madcap misadventures and features the artistic talents of folks like Kyle Baker, J. Bone, Sergio Aragones, Stephen DeStefano, Stephanie Gladden, Jeff Smith and others. (List price for the paperback is $29.99.)

So, who better to join us for this year’s SUPER-STAR HOLIDAY SPECIAL than Dini himself…


It was just before Christmas 2003 and I was digging through the Batman cel archives at the Warner Bros. Studio Stores office for THE perfect animation cel of Zatanna the magician.

The reason?  I had recently met and fallen head over heels in love with Misty Lee, a dazzling young magician from Detroit. Earlier that year, Miss Lee had read my Vertigo one-shot, Zatanna: Everyday Magic, and enjoyed it enough to send me an e-mail about it. I wrote her back, we started discussing our mutual love for magic, comedy and cartoons, and by the end of the year we were very seriously, and very happily, dating.

As it was a Zatanna comic that brought us together, I thought an appropriate gift would be an animation cel of the character, but 10 years after that original Batman episode aired, good cels with Zee were few and far between. Despite my best efforts, I was finding only back-of-the-head shots and distorted in-betweens so off-model they looked like I had drawn them.

I slumped out of the archives ready to give up, only to discover that someone had just dropped off a return shipment of cels from one of the Warner Bros. Studio Stores. Sometimes when animation art didn’t sell right away in the store galleries, they were swapped out for other stock. Hoping for the best, I started to go through the crate and — presto!

On top was the gorgeous image you see here, Zatanna in her classic outfit, with a hand-painted background yet! Talk about your Christmas miracle.

Misty loved the cel and it still hangs today in her office.

My only regret about the incident was I never got a look at the delivery person who dropped off the cel shipment. I’m betting he was rather large, white-haired, with a faint aroma of cookies and reindeer. But of course, that’s only a guess.

For more SUPER-STAR HOLIDAY SPECIAL stories, click here.

Author: Dan Greenfield

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