You would think after a long illustrious career writing comics, Grant Morrisson would have had several projects adapted to film or television. It’s 2017 and that honor goes to SYFY network’s investment in perhaps his least synonymous work, the Christmas story of crime, sex, and a blue horse named HAPPY!
SYFY is bringing the four issue mini series co-created by the exceptionally talented Darick Robertson who with The Boys coming two show time will have two properties adapted on screen which he worked with a Scotish writer on. Not sure if that has any relevance but it’s an interesting coincidence.
Morrisson was joined on stage Saturday by co-executive producer Brian Taylor (director of Crank) and showrunner Patrick MacManus, even Nick Sax himself Christopher Meloni (Law & Order) was on Happy’s SDCC panel. While production starts on the first season in two weeks, the group had filmed and completed FX on the pilot episode. In fact, the crowd in attendance got a peek at just how SYFY intends to adapt this extravagantly dark tale. If you’ve read the book, you would have instantly recognized one oof the scenes shown where Nick is brutally fighting his way out of a hospital with blood caked hands and a cocaine withdrawal hangover.
Taylor himself summed up the Happy! comic book series as “Crank through Grant Morrisson’s eyes.” In the footage shown during Saturday’s panel it’s easy to see the similarities of Meloni and Statham in the respective roles. Visually it has much of the extreme action close up style of Crank, but with a twist of levity brought by the CGI title character to be voiced by Patton Oswalt. Maybe a Happy! / Goldergs crossover? Morrison and crew even utilized a local Scotish animation studio to do all the work on putting the tiny blue horse on screen. When you get a peek at it, you might notice it’s the furriest thing on television today.
Also in the room was artist Darick Robertson. No word on if SYFY will tap the artist to conceptualize the show’s opening credit sequence, but the network is utilizing much of the book’s logo designs already. One of the biggest questions was how far SYFY would allow Happy! to go. This comic was already pushing boundaries when your first scene includes a man in a prawn costume getting oral from a prostitute. Morrisson and Taylor both rebutted by talking about television today being the medium that Vertigo comics was in the 90’s and film was in the 70’s. Both feel confident they can tell the story without having to dilute the source material’s raw essence.
The other big question was how do you take a comic book series with only four issues of source material and make not only an 8 episode season but multiple seasons after that. Show producers and Morrisson will be adding new characters and mysteries to solve in this world. Grant wants this series to be something special for newcomers while at the same time being something unexpected for fans of the book.
HAPPY! premieres on SYFY this fall.