Comic Shots: FLEX MENTALLO and the Pan Galactic Gargle Blaster

Each week the iFanStaff passes along a tasty drink recipe and an even tastier comic book recommendation. The cocktail (or beer, or wine, or booze) and the comic can both be enjoyed independently, but they have a common theme and when served together they can make for the perfect reading experience.

You like comics. I like comics. Let’s have a drink!

Flex Mentallo

Written by Grant Morrison
Art by Frank Quitely
Published by DC Comics/Vertigo

Shortly after I booked my tickets for last month’s Morrison, I started compiling a required reading list. It was full of comics that I should have read but hadn’t gotten around to by the creators involved. At the top of that list was Flex Mentallo.

But life happens and shiny new comics come out every week and then I found this awesome book about a kick-ass Cyborg Cinderella and an awesome Little Red Riding Hood in the distant future with genetically engineered werewolves FROM THE MOON. And, well. Nothing on the list got read.

Finally, in the throes of my post-NYCC con plague, I picked up Flex Mentallo and gave it go.

Grant Morrison has said that he likes using superheroes to tell everyday stories about being human, but on a cosmically fantastical scale. And that is exactly what Flex Mentallo is. It’s this beautifully intricate comic that folds over on itself like an elegant piece of origami. But really, it’s just the story of some schmoe trying to find his place in the world.

I’ll admit, I got to the end of the second issue of this four-part miniseries and I wasn’t really sold on Flex. Yes, it was wicked meta and bursting with comic book references. It just wasn’t pushing the right buttons for me. Then I got to issue three and I fell in love. It’s when the story really gets down to it’s emotional core. It’s the issue I could relate to. It’s the issue that’s really about just being so in love with comics. About how you’re never going to love anyone the way you loved Thunder Girl. There’s a purity to the shining Silver Age superheroes. It’s not really an innocence, but it’s a heart and genuineness that’s lacking in the modern dark and twisty anti-heroes. It’s refreshing to see that celebrated, and spectacular for it to be done in such a complex and fascinating way. The big blue boy scouts of Flex Mentallo are anything but plain vanilla.

And then, of course, there’s the art. There’s something about Frank Quitely’s drawings that just pull you in and absorb you. The soft tendrils of his pencils just make everything look–no, look it the wrong word–they make everything feel soft and warm. There’s just this comfort to his art. Stiff, shiny spandex feels like a worn in hoodie the way Quitely draws it. Even the most grotesque and bizarre images illicit empathy and sympathy instead of revulsion. It’s an amazing quality and it helps anchor the high, cosmic concepts of Morrison’s writing. Their work complements each others perfectly.

Flex Mentallo is a glorious work that I’m so very, very glad to have read.

Pan Galactic Gargle Blaster

I thought the most fitting cocktail for a comic wrapped in a comic wrapped in comic book references would be a fictional one. And what better fictionally cocktail is there than the infamous Pan Galactic Gargle Blaster from Douglas Adams’ The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. According to the book, “The effect of a Pan Galactic Gargle Blaster is like having your brains smashed out by a slice of lemon, wrapped ’round a large gold brick.” The recipe is as follows:

  1. Take the juice from one bottle of that Ol’ Janx Spirit.
  2. Pour into it one measure of water from the seas of Santraginus V.
  3. Allow three cubes of Arcturan Mega-gin to melt into the mixture (it must be properly iced or the benzene is lost).
  4. Allow four litres of Fallian marsh gas to bubble through it.
  5. Over the back of a silver spoon float a measure of Qalactin Hypermint extract.
  6. Drop in the tooth of an Algolian Suntiger.
  7. Sprinkle Zamphuor.
  8. Add an olive.
  9. Drink… but… very carefully…

Now, since you’ll most likely not be able to whip that up in your kitchen, I have searched the interwebz (and damaged many, many brain cells in the tasting process) for the best Earth-Prime (or 616) version of the cocktail.

1 oz Everclear
1 oz Bombay Sapphire Gin
1 oz Rumple Minze
Tonic Water
Sugar Cube
Angostura Bitters

In a cocktail shaker full of ice, add everclear, Bombay, and Rumple Minze. Shake well and strain in a Collins glass. Top off with tonic. Drop in the cube of sugar. Sprinkle bitters. Add an olive.

Drink… but… at your own risk…

Ali Colluccio is the iFanboy Demolitions Expert with a knack for finding ghosts. She enjoys comics, cocktails, and curling.

Please obey the law and only drink if you are of age. Drink responsibly and never drink and drive. Buy the comics that make you happy and spread the love.


  1. Yay! 2 of my favourite things!

  2. Everclear. Yikes.

  3. Anybody who mentions a Pan Galactic Gargle Blaster instantly becomes one of my favorite people.

  4. Think I’ll just stick to my aussi Pinot Noir for now. If you drink enough of that stuff you’ll get the same effect eventually.

    • I’ve never even heard about those drinks. I thought those were made up too 😉 Glad to hear I haven’t missed out. And Flex Mentallo is a great book. Go get it!

  5. You were reading Cinder, weren’t you? I still need to read it.

  6. “My god, it’s full of stars.” Will have to assemble the elements for this.

    I haven’t had a drink with everclear in… 8 years?

  7. I love that part of the mini series when the ultra classy and chic couple stylishly sip the drink, and the immediately drop to the floor like a bag of bricks.

  8. And now I know what we’ll be using that bottle of Everclear on that we’ve owned since college.

  9. Your description of Frank Quitely’s artwork is terrific. I’ve always thought of his work as indescribable, but you’ve done a damn good job here, Ali. Kudos.