Saturday, 8 June 2013


Grant Morrison & Darick Roberston Happy! (2013)
Happy! is a comic book that is drawn to near perfection, IGN is quoted as having observed on the back cover. I'm not sure who or what IGN may be, and unfortunately there's no way of finding out, so I'll assume it stands for Itinerant Guantanamo Nincompoop. Anyway, to get to the point, near perfection is probably somewhat over-egging the pudding, and more than anything the art reminds me of one of those anonymous also-rans who briefly passed through the pages of 2000AD during the early 1990s, a whole ton of neat lines failing to conceal the clunky figure work and incorrectly situated mouths of an artist who was too busy copying stuff out of earlier issues to attend a life-drawing class - fan art, in other words. It's not terrible, but it lacks grace and let's the side down a bit.

The slack is taken up to some extent by the story, a crime-thriller - and one with the usual wearisomely nasty details - with the saving grace of a tiny flying horse who can only be seen by terminally debased ex-cop Nick Sax. In other words, it's a crossover of Bad Lieutenant and My Little Pony - with the latter ultimately winning out over the former by way of a pleasant inversion of the usual typically grim deconstruction. There's a few fumbled balls, and some slightly mystifying plot points which could be due to either art or script lacking clarity; and it's possibly not Grant Morrison's magnum opus but is certainly amongst his better recent efforts. This sort of thing really needs surprises to keep it interesting, and the presence of a tiny blue horse more than adequately fits the bill. I'd cautiously suggest that Itinerant Guantanamo Nincompoop speaketh with forked tongue or tongues regarding the ham-fisted pictograms of the stuff-drawer-man responsible, but Happy! stays cute in spite of everything.

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