Image Comics 2021
Written by W. Maxwell Prince
Illustrated by Martín Morazzo & Chris O’Halloran
Lettered by Good Old Neon
“HAPPY HANK THE VERY HAPPY CLOWN”
Now where have we seen this guy before?
The worlds of HAHA and ICE CREAM MAN reveal themselves as one and the same in this story about the last days of Happy Hank (previously seen in ICE CREAM MAN #8).
I think this was a spectacular issue and the fact that it’s the total opposite of Happy makes it all the better. Coulrophobia is a very real thing and it’s one of the most widespread phobias around right behind Arachnophobia. So that this is as depressing as it gets and that Happy Hank can’t find any kind of happiness is something that more and more people are dealing with right now, depression is a real debilitating disease, making it somewhat easy to identify with him or at the very least emphasise with him. Granted what he experiences within these pages isn’t what we can feel simpatico with but then again that’s what makes this a delicious fictional horror story instead of a realistic tragedy and that makes a huge difference in the story.
I am thrilled by the way that this is being told. The story & plot development that we see through how the sequence of events unfold as well as how the reader learns information is presented exceptionally well. The character development that we see through the dialogue, the character interaction as well as how they act and react to the situations and circumstances which they encounter is magnificent in how it fleshes out Harry. The pacing is superb and as it takes us through the pages revealing the story we’re captivated and mesmerised by the how the events unfold.
I like how we see this being structured and how the layers within the story emerge, grow and evolve over the course of the issue is startlingly great. I love seeing these layers and how they impact the main arc or simply swirl around it and either way they add this great depth, dimension and complexity to the story. How we see everything working together to create the story’s ebb & flow as well as how it moves the story forward is greatly achieved. The general flow of this issue and how we see the events unfold is an incredible bit of writing and storytelling.
The interiors here are absolutely stunning. The linework is strong, clean and crisp and has this amazing style all its own and it works incredibly well with the varying weights ad techniques bringing out the detail work. I am actually impressed with how we see backgrounds being utilised throughout as well since they enhance the moments as well as work within the composition of the panels to bring us depth perception, sense of scale and the overall sense of size and scope to the story. The utilisation of the page layouts and how we see the angles and perspective in the panels show a remarkably talented eye for storytelling. The creativity and imagination that we see within the pages from the subtle moments to the bold ones it’s rather spectacular to see.
Harry is a complicated man and there are problems sure but what happens here not only ties into what we see in Ice Cream Man and that’s something unexpected and delightful but it also sticks with what we’ve come to expect out of this series. These darker tragic stories have a way of redefining the anthology series so that there’s a theme but it isn’t as tightly wound together as we’d normally see in the anthology series of storytelling. This one took me by complete surprise and with some absolutely sensational writing and characterisation alongside these mind numbing interiors it takes us places we’re shocked to enjoy going.