Dirty cops, double-crosses, family ties and cold-blooded murder, all hallmarks from the classic crime comics of old. Imagine the scene, a scarcely lined convention hall on an early Sunday morning. Creators nurse their hangovers while wayward fans peruse black and white pamphlets printed on newspaper and laden with naked women, smoking guns and enough F-Bombs to topple the comics code authority headquarters a dozen times over.
From New York to San Francisco, from Seattle to London the locations may have varied but the indie spirit rang true: Funny books didn’t have to be funny any more. This was an era that revived the crime lord and proclaimed the death of the superhero, a renaissance of all things criminal. 2012 has seen that same spirit reborn once again as more and more of the industry’s top creators deliver the goods on comics outside the big two, and as two lone figures cross the grimy snow covered panels in the first page of Grant Morrison’s Happy #1 one thing becomes all to clear, we aren’t in Metropolis anymore.
Happy #1 is Grant Morrison’s first major creator-owned work since….well The Invisibles. It marks a departure from the world of those “Supergods” he’s held so close to his heart these past two decades and a return to the morbid world of brutal crime scenes, shady mobsters and of course … psychedelic hallucinations. Here we have Morrison doing what he does best. In Happy #1 the abstract is not only made tangible, it’s also wrapped up neatly in a nice little ribbon of Pop Culture and presented to readers by way of Darick Robertson’s stunningly grotesque art.
The artist from The Boys, Transmetropolitan and American Splendor delivers spectacularly on this first issue. Happy could very well proved readers with some of Roberston’s best work yet. We’re talking a canvas of filth and blood brought to life in vivid detail thanks to the power of digital (Just wait till you see this in CMX-HD!) and fans of over the top violence as only comics can provide should be more than happy with this debut issue. However don’t let the gore fool you, Happy #1 doesn’t simply deliver violence for the sake of violence, it’s dives deep into a genre of Tough guys, fast talkers and unsavory characters then quickly turns it on it’s head.
To read this first issue is to stand before the run-down doorway of crime comics forgotten past. The wallpaper may be fading and the carpet full of stains but there is not doubt whatever is waiting on the other side will thrill, chill and entertain while keeping the grand tradition of crime comics alive as 2012 continues to carry the gas can, oily rags and match sticks for a new generation.
Pick up Happy #1 along with the rest of this week’s new releases tomorrow on comiXology!
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