A tale of a pale ale so miraculous in its flavor that a horde of monsters take notice isn’t your typical story pitch, but then Brian Azzarello isn’t your typical writer. The Wonder Woman and 100 Bullets scribe and current co-author of Dark Knight III has partnered with Nick Floyd, co-owner of the Three Floyds Brewing Company, and Lobo and Heavy Metal artist Simon Bisley to create a 3 Floyds: Alpha King, based the brewer’s pale ale of the same name.
Mr. Azzarello and Mr. Floyd spoke with me recently about the story behind 3 Floyds: Alpha King, the mythology behind both the book and the brewery, and why the two decided to bring the ale to the four-colored world of comics.
FreakSugar: This might one of the first collaborations of its kind. How did you two meet and how did the project come about?
Brian Azzarello: I knew Nick before I knew Nick, through his beers. [laugh]
Nick Floyd: And I knew of Azzarello before I met him through his comics. I had read a lot of his work. And I loved how he hung out at the good beer bars in Chicago. [laughs]
FS: How did you two hash out the project?
NF: A lot of the Marvel creators would come in and I met Azzarello through [comic book writer] Tim Seeley and Barnaby Struve [Three Floyds’ vice president]. Barnaby asked if I wanted to do a comic and if I knew of anyone who wanted to do it. And I said, “Besides me?” [laughs]
FS: Nick, how was it to wade into the comic book waters for the first time as a creator?
NF: I was familiar with storytelling and game play through Dungeons & Dragons, but I was able to apply that and use the mythology of Three Floyds for this project. Azzarello really outlined the whole story really well.
FS: Brian, for folks who might be considering picking up Alpha King, how would you describe the book?
BA: Crazy, insane action. [laughs] I have a certain reputation in comics and, partnered with Simon Bisley, I think readers know what to expect. It’s all way over the top.
FS: Simon really seems to be a good fit for your type of storytelling. Have you two worked together before?
BA: No, never. We’d talked about it about it, but never had. I think we’re a perfect match. [laughs] Nobody else should be drawing this book. Seriously. We flew Simon in from England and showed him all the brand and the beer and drank for 12 hours. [laughs] He was doing covers within a week. I’ve always loved him. I look at him as the new Frank Frazetta.
FS: He has that quality that’s both beautiful and brutal at the same time.
NF: Absolutely, without a doubt. And it’s in your face, brutal, like our brand.
BA: And you left out that there’s a sense of humor to it. There’s also a “fuck you” quality to it if you don’t like it. [laughs]
FS: Does the history and mythology of Three Floyds on display in the book?
BA: Oh yeah. The issue should have footnotes that will tie into the history of Three Floyds. Why is he wearing this armor? Why is he doing this? The footnotes will help and educate since there’s so much going on.
3 Floyds: Alpha King #1, written by Brian Azzarello and Nick Floyd with Simon Bisley on art, hits newsstands and the web on May 4 from Image Comics.
And if you’re in Munster, Indiana, this Saturday, Brian and Nick will be signing copies of issue 1 at the Dark Lord Day Festival at the Three Floyds Brewery grounds. Check out the website for all the details!