Nick Sax isn't what you'd call a "winner." The anti-hero of the new Grant Morrison and Darick Robertson comic mini-series HAPPY! has been fired from the police force, turned on by his own employees in his murder-for-hire business (well, what would you expect?), is constantly drunk, and is waging a hopeless battle against the agonies of eczema. Sax seems beyond redemption, but saviors often take strange forms, and, in his case, it's the form of a tiny blue, feathered pony named Happy.
Oh, did we forget to mention that? Yes, besides being heavy with violence, profanity, and sex, HAPPY! is also a tribute to the Most Wonderful Time of the Year.
"HAPPY! is a story I've wanted to write since hit-man Nick Sax and his 'partner' Happy the Horse appeared fully-formed in my head two years ago," said Morrison. In an interview at Newsarama, he described the impetus of its development: "I wanted to do a classic Christmas story – like A Christmas Carol or It's A Wonderful Life – but with all the junkies, killers and pedophiles which make our modern world so colorful!"
In the same interview, artist Robertson talked a bit about the mysterious, eponymous Happy the Horse, about whom the two creators are being enticingly elusive. "Happy had a complete transformation from the initial drawing to what he became and what he became is one of the most enjoyable things I've ever designed to draw," said Robertson. "I hope readers will have as much fun with this as I've been having.
HAPPY! is Morrison and Robertson's first Image Comics series. It was announced at this year's Image Expo in February, which celebrated the independent publisher's 20th anniversary. Recently, Morrison commented on the experience of working on a creator-owned project.
"As much as I enjoy making monthly superhero books, there's something very exciting and inspiring about creating a complete, original story from whole cloth and I'm grateful to Image Comics for seeing the potential of this project and giving it a home," said Morrison. "After a banner year for creativity at the company, Darick and I hope we can round 2012 out on a high note with the most twisted Christmas crime story you'll ever read."
HAPPY! #1 will be in stores on September 26 and is available now for pre-order. The four-issue miniseries will culminate with an issue released Christmas week.