Hey kids. It’s time for our monthly exploration of the sad clown paradox with W. Maxwell Prince, this month with Gabriel Hernandez Walta pulling art duties.
If you’ve been tracking, we’ve seen a miserable amusement park clown, a murderous sideshow harlequin burlesque dancer, a depressed mime, and an alcoholic birthday party clown. This month, we’ve got a retired crotchety hermit clown living alone in a possibly haunted house.
This one plays with the same themes we’ve been seeing in the previous four chapters (Reír Llorando), while pulling in very relatable elements of elder regret. Pound Foolish is, in many ways, a typical retiree. Lonely, depressed, complaining about EVERYTHING, searching for the smallest ways to connect to other humans.
In other ways, not so much. The grease paint and house filled with spooky (probably possessed) mementos from her career on the circus sideshow circuit? Yeah, that’s weird.
This is, surprisingly, the chapter that has rung truest for me. Here’s a character who presents a gruff, angry persona to the world, hiding her loneliness and desperate longing for connection. Then she finds that connection in the most unexpected place, and it’s super sweet, in a very odd sort of way.
The artwork has been fantastic in Haha, for the most part. It’s exceptional this month. Gabriel Hernandez Walta exhibits a very grounded style that shows the ridiculous reality of a ninety-something year old woman wearing grease paint, somehow without making her look out of place at all in her community. It’s a delicate balance, but it absolutely works. People put up with all kinds of quirks from the neighborhood weirdo.
Haha has been the sleeper in my queue. I have truly enjoyed every chapter, and that’s pretty rare. There is a whole lot of depth and subtlety and hidden meaning in these things. I honestly had no idea clowns had so much to offer, but here we are. I’m learning things. I’m growing as a human.
Next month is the finale? That sucks. Don’t get me wrong. It’s gonna be good. No doubt there. Just, can we have a few more?
Haha #5, Image Comics, 26 May 2021. Written by W. Maxwell Prince, art/cover by Gabriel Hernandez Walta, letters by Good Old Neon, variant cover by Sam Wolfe Connelly.
Life lessons, grease paint, and a pretty decent cauliflower casserole recipe. Haha has been consistently brilliant, especially given that it’s an anthology. Chapter five is in strong contention for best installment in an amazing mini. I’m a fan.