Comic Shots #6 with Chris Neseman: Booker’s Bourbon and ‘Brit’

August 21, 2008

Each week Chris Neseman drops by to pass along a tasty drink recipe and an even tastier comic book recommendation. The cocktail 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.

This week I’m starting a month of Bourbon and Bourbon Cocktail recommendations. I love bourbon. So much in fact, that my wife will roll her eyes and tell you that it’s the only thing besides comics that I’ll talk your ear off about. It’s really her fault, because she helped fan the fires of my bourbon obsession. One of the things that bourbon and comics have in common is that they are both truly American. I know people will argue that point about comics, but I believe them to be an American innovation along with Jazz and Baseball. Bourbon is the official American Spirit, and it holds a special place in both my heart and my liquor cabinet. I love the oak and sweet caramel flavors of bourbon and it’s totally satisfying finish. The subtle characteristics of bourbon changes from brand to brand, and even from barrel to barrel. These differences are why I may have as many as eight or nine different bottles of bourbon in the house at any given time. I like to think I have a bourbon for every occasion. I may like one bourbon when I’m making a Manhattan, a different one to mix with Ginger Ale, and yet another served neat for an after dinner drink. Yeah, I’m a bourbon dork.

For today’s bourbon recommendation I’m keeping it very simple.

Booker’s Bourbon
• 2 oz Booker’s Bourbon
• 1 Ice Cube

Booker’s is the King Daddy of bourbons in my book. It’s uncut, unfiltered and weighs in at a too hot to drink by itself 121+ proof. Booker’s is named after Master Distiller Emeritus and grandson of Jim Beam, Booker Noe. This bourbon is bottled straight from the barrel, and is one of the finest sipping whiskeys available to the masses. What makes Booker’s a fun bourbon to play around with is the fact that it’s uncut. This allows you to make this into any proof you like. If you want a drink that stands up in your face and dares you, just splash it with some water. If you’re not feeling overly adventurous you can drink it over ice with a shot of spring water. I like mine somewhere between the extremes. Always use a clean glass, and if you’re really serious, Reidel and other fine glassware companies make some awesome crystal bourbon glasses. Using one of these and ice made from distilled spring water assure that you’re only tasting the bourbon and nothing else. So grab your best whiskey glass, drop in a big ice cube and pour some Booker’s over it. Let it mix with the ice and swish it around in the glass for a couple minutes. Take a couple big long sniffs and enjoy the aroma. Take a healthy sip and let the bourbon sit on your tongue before you work it around your mouth for several seconds. This is called the Kentucky Chew, and allows the bourbon to hit every part of your pallet, letting you taste every facet of the whiskey. Swallow the bourbon and then take a minute or so to enjoy the finish. This is the time when you can pick out a lot of the subtleties of the whiskey and really appreciate it’s character. Enjoy this and other great bourbons by taking it slow and savoring each drop.

Now to this week’s comics recommendation. The obvious connection is Kentucky. The great Bluegrass State is known for horses, bourbon and some pretty damn fine comics creators. You can find two of them in the pages of:

Publisher: Image Comics
Writers: Robert Kirkman and Bruce Brown
Artists: Tony Moore, Cliff Rathburn, Andy Kuhn, Rus Wooten & Val Staples

I don’t know if Kentuckian Robert Kirkman can save the comic book industry, but he sure can write some fun comics. He may be better known for his work on Invincible and the indie comics phenomenon The Walking Dead, but don’t stop there when you’re picking up his Image catalog. There are several other books that you should be aware of, with Brit being at the top of that list for me. Brit exists in the Kirkmanivinciverse, and will certainly appeal to fans of Invincible. The series takes the best parts of Sci-Fi action movies and mixes in some of the staple Kirkman humor and his tailor made for comics quirkiness.  Each issue is a fast moving big action romp filled with bloody fists and flying teeth. There’s a lot to love about Brit, so I figured I’d bullet point ten things that make it such a fun read.

• A fifty foot monster made out of mind controlled commuters.
• A mad government scientist that wants to dissect EVERYTHING!
• Strippers.
• Nuclear explosions. Several times.
• A giant pissed off Yeti that uses proper English and pop culture references.
• An android that has a Swiss Army style array of weapons and gadgets.
• A full scale alien invasion that starts and finishes in ONE issue! (Yeah, that’s a jab)
• Princes Bride references.

Brit packs in so many cool moments and fun ideas that there is no chance of getting bored. Make no mistake, we’re not talking Shakespeare here. Brit is about jumping into the middle of the action and beating the brains out of whatever the monster of the day is. The title character, Brit (short for Britany), is a veteran government agent who has one power, indestructibility. No flight, no super strength, and no laser eye beams. He just takes a beating and brings the smackdown. Brit has a John Wayne swagger and an every man attitude that makes him an immediately likable action hero. Think Bruce Willis in the first Die Hard movie only older. Like Bruce Willis in the fourth Die Hard movie. Brit is both the first man in, and the last line of defense when fighting the monsters and alien invaders of the series. He goes about his business like he’s taking out the trash or doing the dishes. It’s his job, and he does it with the attitude of a dock worker. This is a guy that at the end of the day is gonna crack open a beer and eat a steak before he takes his blood stained shirt off. This is not a super hero searching for the deeper meaning of life, or one who gives two craps what Oprah thinks.

The supporting characters of Brit fill out a fun little corner of the Image Universe that Kirkman has created. From Brit’s government handler, Donald to his stripper girlfriend you get a variety of fun characters for Brit to interact with. Donald in particular rises up to be a personal favorite of mine in the series. For reasons I won’t spoil, he evolves into a perfect sidekick for some of the absurd situations Brit finds himself in. Brit’s girlfriend Jessica helps frame the other part Brit’s life. The one where he’s drinking the beer and eating the steak. Jessica is a stripper in her twenties, and is head over heals in love with Brit, and he with her. They make a great couple, and watching them interact with such honesty is refreshing. The crazy super hero part of Brit is balls out fantasy fun, but the scenes between Brit and Jessica are as real as life. It’s a relationship between an older man and a younger woman, and it doesn’t shy away from the subject. In one scene Jessica’s father is actually more upset about finding out Brit’s age than he is about discovering Jessica has dropped out of Law School to pursue a more exotic line of work. It sounds silly, but I think we all know parents like that. I guess that’s what makes a lot of Kirkman’s books work so well. He has such a good grasp on what makes superheroes work, but he never forgets the human element that connects us to the characters. Walking the line of page turning action and meaningful character moments isn’t easy, and Kirkman does it as well as anyone.

Alright, let’s spread some the love. Kirkman is good, but he can’t do it all himself. First of all, the relaunch of the series that is on the shelves now isn’t even written by the man. Bruce Brown has taken over writing duties, and done so very well. Sure, you can tell differences in the voice, but it’s close enough that it still works. The foundation of the characters was set before Brown came aboard, and he obviously gets what the series is about. I might even like what’s going on in Brit now “gasp” more than when Kirkman was writing it. The scope of the book has gotten bigger and added both characters and a few story layers to build a larger mythos around. The book is taking the shape of a long running series that can and should have it’s own continuity. Amazingly this has all been accomplished in nine issues, albeit over five years. The original Brit series came out in three black and white one shots back in 2003. To the new creative team’s credit, this year’s relaunch of the series hasn’t missed a beat. Everything is available in trade now, and the original B&W stuff has been colored by the fantastic Val Staples. From the beginning, Brit has benefitted from the some of the industry’s best young pencilers. Fellow Kentuckian and bourbon fan Tony Moore was the original artist with, Andy Kuhn and Cliff Rathburn following. All have all contributed to Brit‘s look and trademark Kirkmanivinciverse feel. Fans of The Walking Dead may recognize Rathburn for his work on grey tones there, but take my word, he shows that he can handle penciling duties here no problem. The one thing all these artist have in common is that their work explodes off the page and captures the big action feel Brit needs.


So there ya go. For less than the cost of a bottle of Booker’s you can pick up both volumes of Brit and have yourself a grand ole time. Sit back and enjoy a glass of your favorite spirit and read some big action, nuclear explosion, dinosaur fighting, alien killing, yeti smashing goodness. Thanks for reading this week’s booze meets comics column, and thanks for all the feedback from past editions. Because of you I now know the proper spelling of piqued, and that many of you prefer scotch to my beloved bourbon. Well, I hope I peaked… I mean piqued your interest and you’ll try out some Booker’s and Brit. See everyone back next week for another round of Comic Shots!


Chris Neseman is the host of The Around Comics Podcast and a co-host of the 11 O’Clock Comics podcast. You can contact him at and suggest a cocktail or comic of your own, because good drinks and good comics should be shared.

Please obey the law and only drink if you are of age. Drink responsibly and never drink and drive. Buy only the amount of comics that you can till your wife or significant other threatens to throw things away.


  1. I love brit.  The new series is not quite the same but still good.


  2. I’m certain a glass of that stuff would kill me.

    As far as Brit goes, I’m still behind on many of things you’ve recommended, and this book doesn’t particularly appeal to me.  Still a fun article though.  Keep it up!

  3. The only bourbon we have in the house is Wild Turkey. I know jack squat about the various brands…is it a decent beginner’s bourbon or complete crap?

  4. Kentucky is also known for me, or it will be, once I become famous for something or the other.

  5. I take my Booker’s with two ice cubes, because I’m slightly a puss.

  6. I f’ing loved Brit.  That book is so solid.

  7. I’m a Wild Turkey man at heart. I like their 80 & 101 proof.

    Jim Beam is my house bourbon, but I almost always ask for Turkey when I’m out and about. There’s nothing like walking into a Chicago bar in the dead of winter and getting a shot of Turkey to warm your bones.