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This Christmas, Why Not Get Happy with Grant Morrison?

This Christmas, Why Not Get Happy with Grant Morrison?

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Writer: Grant Morrison
Artist: Darick Robertson
Colorist: Richard P Clark
Publisher: Image Comics

Christmas is a magical time. It’s a time when people come together, put aside their differences and truly, live for the moment. Sure, there are some pessimists who say that the spirit of the holidays has been perverted by the corporate conglomerates who are trying to bleed every last penny from the general populace, but to them I say ,“Bah humbug”.

The holidays are what you make it. If you want to get all pissy because someone wants to sing a Christmas carol and bake you cookies, thats your prerogative. Me and mine? We’re gonna eat those cookies dammit, and we’re going to watch the heck out of Die Hard. Why? Because it’s Christmas. I mean, it could be worse. You could be a drugged up in a hospital bed, hallucinating a blue horse with wings. How Christmas would that be?

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If you answered “very” then congratulations are in order. You my friend, have taste. With Christmas well on its way, it’s my pleasure to introduce to you– or remind you of, Grant Morrison and Darick Robertson’s holiday classic Happy. Released back in 2011, this short and sweet story tells the tale of Nick Sax, a down-on-his-luck, pill-popping, hard boozin’ disgraced cop turned hitman. With a bullet in his side and a half the mob looking for him, Nick may be the only one who can save a little girl from the clutches of an evil pedophile Santa. Tough task for anyone, luckily Nick has got some company in the form of a blue cartoon horse by the name of Happy. If they can work together maybe they can save the day, if they manage to survive Christmas.

One of the best parts of Christmas are the movies. No I don’t mean Elf and The Grinch, I mean the alternative Christmas movies. I’m talking Die Hard 1+2, Batman Returns, Gremlins, Bad Santa, Kiss Kiss Bang Bang and so on. Alt-Christmas movies are where it’s at. If seeing the mere mention of those titles puts a jingle in your bell, then Happy is for you. It’s an adult tale to be sure and if you manage to smooth out the rough edges Morrison has deliberately left for the reader, what’s left is a simple story of one man’s redemption.

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Nick is not a hero. He’s a man and he’s made plenty of mistakes. But what is Christmas without redemption. The holiday season offers many things and one those is the second chance. With all the festive cheer that is spread throughout the world like warm butter, its nigh impossible to not to tap into your kinder, gentler side, a side that Nick has kept well guarded for years. Nick’s  journey is one we all take at certain points in our lives. It’s a simple choice of fight or flight made complicated by the heavy weight we bear on our lives. What Nick chooses in the end is not important, what’s important is that everybody has this choice and its up to us to make the right one.

Happy is the perfect holiday tale for any grown up looking for something different– and different is an understatement. Like most people you know, Happy is rude, vulgar and violent, but not without its heart. It’s the perfect gift to throw into the loveable weirdo’s stocking this Christmas.

This comic is also the first articles in the Sound on Sight comics section’s Grant Morrison series. Happy is a weird book by many people’s standards, but not even close to being the weirdest comic in Morrison’s ouevre. This series will explore the various comics in his body of work, including his 2000 AD, superhero, and independent work.

-Sean

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