Every now and then, I’m surprised by something wonderful in my PR inbox — like an invitation to a local launch party for a new graphic novel from a well-known scotch brand. ‘Cause if there’s anything I love, it’s comic books and whiskey (though not always at the same time).
Planet Ardbeg is a 40-page sci-fi adventure comic that reads like Moebius and Doctor Who got drunk and started brainstorming ideas for a new distillery. Yes, really. It’s delightful. Ronald Wimberly, creator of the “woke Naruto, Marxist, ninja” comic GratNin as well as some other radical work, served as creative director on the project. Sanford Greene, who previously worked on Power Fist and Iron Man and Bitter Root (which I reviewed here), contributes a story about the Guardians of the Oa (not to be confused with the one from Green Lantern, except sort of); while artist Emma Ríos (of Mirror and Pretty Deadly fame) weaves a mythical yarn through the fantastical land of peat.
Here are the actual descriptions of the stories contained within the pages of Planet Ardbeg:
‘Guardians of An Oa’: “‘Guardians of Oa’ by Sanford Greene, which draws its influence from the rounded balance and smoky power of Ardbeg An Oa, is an action-packed epic about a copper city coming under attack from a monstrous creature. Just when it looks like all hope is lost, flavour notes unite to defeat the monster and restore balance.”
‘The Best Laid Schemes’: “Ronald Wimberly’s ‘The Best Laid Schemes’, channelling the feisty and formidable flavours of Ardbeg Wee Beastie, is a fast-paced neo-western featuring giant botanicals and even bigger beasts.”
‘Take it with a Grain of Sand’: “‘Take it with a Grain of Sand’, by Emma Ríos, captures the complex peaty essence of Ardbeg Ten Years Old, and tells of a mystical quest through a land lost to time.”
Why would a famously smoky scotch brand think that a trippy sci-fi adventure comic would be the best way to market their products? Damned if I know, though it certainly worked on me. The company’s latest release, Hypernova, is similarly sci-fi themed, with descriptions of its peated taste like:
A hypernova is a collapsing star explosion so powerful it threatens the fabric of the galaxy – while I don’t think this whisky will tear a hole in space and time, it’s certainly bursting with fantastically peaty flavour.
(Although curiously, Hypernova isn’t one of the featured fantastical scotch plots in the comic. Those stories focus on An Oa, the 5-year Wee Beastie, and the 10-year.)
Currently, Planet Ardbeg is only available to members of the Ardbeg Committee — although membership is free, so you can sign up yourself to check it out. It is surprisingly worth it!
Also the scotch is great. I’ve been drinking it. I don’t care if the smoke scent lingers on my stainless-steel cup; every sip is worth it.
Planet Ardbeg [Ronald Wimberly, Sanford Greene, and Emma Ríos / Ardbeg]
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