‘3 Floyds: Alpha King #1’ - Comic Book Review

With the explosion of geek culture and comics readership in recent years, there’s been a concurrent increase of interest in craft brewing, and Alpha King 1: A Murder in Munster (Image Comics, 5/4/2016), written by Nick Floyd of Three Floyds Brewing and Brian Azzarello, noted for his work for DC, brings these phenomena together deftly.

This wittily profane homage to fantasy and adventure comics incorporates action, beer, a sly nod to perennial nerdy internet discussion, and even, perhaps inevitably, a cat. A home brewer and his girlfriend are working on a batch of extremely hoppy pale ale in the garage (on a brewing setup that, in what may be foreshadowing, appears to be much more technologically advanced than the equipment used by most hobbyists) when they’re interrupted first by a small group of obnoxious, but basically harmless, teenagers on bikes and then by a group of sinister, aggressive visitors who work for the mysterious but powerful Rice King, whose domain is a parallel - and possibly the true - reality. The beer is so good that the Rice King must have his henchmen put a stop to it, any way they can.

Drawn by Simon Bisley and colored by Ryan Brown, the intricately detailed art strikes a fine balance between following and satirizing the conventions of fantasy comics in a style that perfectly fits the combination of cracking good action and irreverence in the story. This almost has the feel of some ‘70s underground comics which is a plus for me. The main feature is followed by a short, surreally humorous black-and-white comic called "Gumballhead the Cat on the Missouri" by Rob Syers which continues the underground feel. There will be four more issues of this series coming up which I’m definitely looking forward to.

Unfortunately, Three Floyds’ beer is currently distributed only in Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Ohio, and Wisconsin, but this comic can be enjoyed by readers and drinkers nationwide.

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