Haha was an intriguing series before the first issue was even released. P. Maxwell Prince is one of the most compelling comics writers today because of how they capture inner turmoil in everyday life via fantastical premises — you see it in Ice Cream Man or the King of Nowhere, and now that the first two issues of Haha are released, you can see it in this series too. The new anthology series is a little different from most as it pairs Prince with a different artist and different protagonist in every issue. The only similarity, it seems, is that the main character is a clown and life kind of sucks. In the latest issue, Prince and Roger Langridge team up to tell a nearly text-free issue about a mime.
I was unfamiliar with Langridge’s work before reading this issue, but given the clean and appealing cartoonist style to his work, I suspect many will be seeking back issues by the creator. This book is gorgeous to look at with a fully rendered cartoon world that’s bright and animated even when things get very sad. The very first page of this book is reminiscent of Chris Ware’s work as it reveals a whole scene in a simplistic, yet refined style that’s detailed where it needs to be.
Haha #3 opens with our protagonist making a living as a mime on the street. Dressed as one might imagine a mime in real life — complete with a French beret — he has a small crowd watching him and they look rather bored. He’s trying his best though, which seems to be a theme in this series. Soon he’s headed home, late on rent, and without a penny between his fingers to pay up. He’s a dreamer, and loves the craft of being a mime right down to putting on his makeup. Through chance, he’s given a unique addition to his performance and things are looking up. Life is crooked and hard and while our protagonist sets out on a valiant mission, the crushing realities of life set in by the end.
The themes of this series are ever-present, and it’s a tough book to read at times thanks to the rather negative outlook on chance and life in general. The art is a great juxtaposition to that negativity, though — Langridge’s colors are bright and hopeful, the characters are expressive and optimistic, and you’ll be rooting for every character. The lack of dialogue and captions help let the art speak for itself, which makes the experience a reflective one.
Life is unfair and can be crushingly harsh, but in the end, why are we here and why do we continue to do things at all? Prince and Langridge have made a comic that is helpful in understanding our own sorrows and, hopefully, inspires us to continue on even in the darkest moments. Haha, and this third issue, continue to mix inspiring dedication and focus on art, and dipped it into the very harsh reality that most of the time, the dream ends badly.
Like what we do here at AIPT? Consider supporting us and independent comics journalism by becoming a patron today! In addition to our sincere thanks, you can browse AIPT ad-free, gain access to our vibrant Discord community of patrons and staff members, get trade paperbacks sent to your house every month, and a lot more. Click the button below to get started!