A Beer Drinker’s Comic: Brian Azzarello on ‘3 Floyds: Alpha King’, The Comic Based On A Pale Ale
It's the sort of project you don't hear about every day. Brian Azzarello, best known for writing 100 Bullets and a recent run on Wonder Woman, is teaming up with legendary artist Simon Bisley, of Heavy Metal and Lobo fame, and Nick Floyd, co-owner of famed Indiana brewery Three Floyds Brewing Company, for a comic book based on Three Floyds' Alpha King pale ale.
3 Floyds: Alpha King tells the story of a man who brews a beer so appealing that it attracts the attention of an interdimensional monster-king and his minions. ComicsAlliance sat down with Azzarello to find out more.
ComicsAlliance: How did this project come together? There are comics based on products all the time, but seeing one revolving around a brewery, and featuring creators as respected as you and Simon Bisley, is not at all the norm.
Brian Azzarello: Well, Three Floyds is not normal. This project came together from mutual admiration; I've been a fan of Three Floyds since I had my first taste of Alpha King in the early '00s. And just from looking at their labels and hearing the names of their beers it's pretty clear Three Floyds are into comic culture. None of us half-ass anything either. Our work speaks for itself. This time, we're doing it together.
CA: You're co-writing with Nick Floyd of Three Floyds. What are the challenges inherent in being an experienced comics creator like yourself, collaborating with someone who's much newer to working in the medium?
BA: Nick brings so much to the table, you wouldn't believe. He has a whole mythology for these beers in his head. I'm just getting them down on paper.
CA: Does Alpha King contain elements of the actual history and culture of 3 Floyds, or is it entirely a fantasy?
BA: Alpha King definitely has the history and culture of Three Floyds woven into the story---- which is a fantasy. Or is it?
CA: 3 Floyds, like a lot of beloved small companies, already sort of has some mythology around it. Does that make it easier to translate it into something truly fantastical?
BA: Absolutely. Like I said, Nick had a mythology and a universe for all the beers --- I mean, characters. All that was left was to craft a story. And to come up with some villains. We needed villains --- and we have a doozy.
CA: I know you're a writer who enjoys a good beer. Did you think at all about how to translate what's enjoyable about drinking a beer to the comics page, and do you think that's even possible?
BA: I keep using the word "craft," and I think that where the similarities lay. When something is well-crafted you know it, and the enjoyment comes from experiencing it.
CA: Have you worked with Simon Bisley before? His art is gloriously idiosyncratic, and I'm curious if that affects what you write for him.
BA: I've never worked with Simon before, but we bonded over beers in Poland, and swore an oath to [work together]. It's tremendous that Alpha King is that project. He's perfect for it.
CA: Should we expect more 3 Floyds comics in the future, and do you expect to be involved in creating them?
BA: Every time Nick and I get together and talk story, the scope of this project grows. We've got lots planned. It's a good time working on this, really cutting loose and going over the top. There are no rules.
CA: Are there any other particular beers that you could see writing a comic book about?
BA: Zombie Dust might make sense...
3 Floyds: Alpha King #1 is published by Image Comics, and is available online and in stores May 4, 2016.