No, we're not talking about Billy Bob Thornton, although his version of a Bad Santa pales in comparison to the one abducting children in the television adaptation of Grant Morrison and Darick Robertson's graphic novel, Happy!, which takes place in a depravity-choked version of New York City where the snow is filthy with tailpipe exhaust, psychopathic torture artists have innocuous names like 'Smoothie,' and St. Nick is a dope-injecting pedophile who would rather take than give. It really gives a whole new meaning to the abbreviation of 'X-Mas.'
Morrison, a comic writer of Scottish origin, has no trouble delivering the Manhattan grit through profanity-laced dialogue while Robertson's companion illustrations force us to take a hard look at what humanity is really like. To accurately recreate that dark underbelly of the city that never sleeps in a live action format, Happy! is filmed on location in NYC.
Not to say that the entire show will be 100 percent bleak. The more cheerful parts — if such a thing is possible — will include the little talking horse who lends his name to the series title. Interestingly, the producers decided to make the character of Happy more of 'real' 3-dimensional animation than a traditional 2-D cartoon (a la Chuck Jones) so that he'd feel more present to the viewer while interacting with Christopher Meloni's character.
Finally, while the 96-page graphic novel is very much its own contained story, the show it inspired will be a bit more open-ended to allow for the possibility of further seasons.
Do yourself a favor and unwrap this early Christmas present in the form of our NYCC interview with Morrison and Happy! producers Patrick MacManus and Brian Taylor.
Additional material by Josh Weiss.