Today the television comedy-drama series Happy! premieres on Syfy. Based on the comic book by Grant Morrison and artist Darick Robertson. So I picked up the comic. And boy, do I not understand why this shitty Christmas story made the jump to the small screen.

Some time ago I saw this teaser trailer for Happy!

Maybe it was just the music that got me hooked. Anyway, the comic marks the first collaboration of Grant Morrison (All-Star Superman, The Invisibles, Animal Man) and artist Darick Robertson (Transmetropolitan, The Boys). So this had to be good, right? Wrong!

As the back of the comic tells you: »Nick Sax is a corrupt, intoxicated ex-cop turned hitman, adrift in a stinking twilight world of casual murder, soulless sex, eczema, and betrayal. With a hit gone wrong, a bullet in his side, the cops and the mob on his tail, and a monstrous child killer in a Santa suit on the loose, Nick and his world will be changed forever this Christmas. By a tiny blue horse called Happy…«
What a cute little twist on the buddy cop formula.

The first two pages set the mood quite nicely with a »dick«, »shit«, »pussies«, two »pricks«, two »assholes«, three »cunts« and fourteen »fucks«. Like some kid trying to figure out how many swearwords he can fit into a dozen panels. As you read on you get your fair share of cynicism, violence, more violence, really, lots of violence, and just annoyingly disgusting scenes. Now, I am a cynic myself, I can work with the nihilistic approach. But this here is just superficial and lazy.

In the end, this comic thrives on one idea: the tiny blue horse Happy – »about 1-2-3-4-5 grades above a hallucination«. Nick Sax is the only character who gets a little bit of backstory. The villains are there for the sake of being villains. Who cares about their backstories or motivation when you can squeeze in more violence instead. The main villains don’t even get that much »screentime«.

I really don’t understand why this comic got adapted for tv, considering all the much better comics out there. Maybe it’s just what one of the villains in the comic says: »Heh. People pay to see some sick fucking shit these days …« I‘ll say.

I haven’t seen the series yet. Maybe they found a way to make it bearable. I guess Chris Meloni playing Nick Sax and Patton Oswalt as the voice of Happy will help a lot. And they should have the time to flesh out some of the characters. Anyway, here’s the full trailer:

Give it a try. Don’t give it a try. But stay the fuck away from this disgusting comic.

Happy! #1–4
Grant Morrison (author), Darick Robertson (artist)
Image Comics
Trade paperback, 2013
96 pages
ISBN 1-6070-6677-7