Comic Shots #20 with Ryan Haupt: Rogue’s Shakespeare Oatmeal Stout and ‘Kill Shakespeare’

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.

Shakespeare Oatmeal Stout by Rogue

This selection is part serendipity, part payback. First, the payback. Last week Josh Christie stole my heritage. That’s right. He decided to use moonshine without warning, while I, a boy from Tennessee, could do nothing but sit and watch the horror unfold. Well Josh, it’s a two way street here at Comic Shots, so I’m taking one of your favorites. I know Shakespeare Oatmeal Stout is one of Christie’s favorites because he has lovingly written about it before, and honestly my review will likely be but a complement to his original words, so be sure to check that out. Did my attack someone become a compliment? You decide.

I’ve noticed that most of these comic shots articles begin with a bit of definition, so let me lay our scene. Stouts are beers which are named for being just that. They’re the cousin of porters, but as the name implies, a bit more robust. An oatmeal stout, is simply a stout made with the addition of oats. Don’t think that means it tastes like oatmeal, if anything the oats add an additional bitterness with perhaps the lightest touch of sweetness. Oatmeal stouts were very popular in medevial England, but ironically had fallen from favor a few decades before Shakespeare’s birth. Meaning he probably never touched the stuff, which is fitting since he also didn’t live to see any of his works collected, or reinterpreted, as is the case with our subject matter today.

So what can you expect from a Shakespeare Oatmeal Stout? You can expect a smooth pour from the bottle with little head unless you get vigorous about it. (Your results may vary if on tap and/or cask.) It’s dark as a theater during a performance, with a spotlight of light brown head at center stage. The smell is crisp, clean, with a touch of bitter cocoa. The mouthfeel is smooth as silk, even without nitro it comes across creamy on the tongue. And the taste is an excellent balance between dry toasty malts and rich oat smoothness. This beer is all about balance, and it achieves it very well. Not so dry as an Irish stout, not as wet and thick as an Imperial. Almost light and fresh, but really hearty enough to stick with you. If you’re new to the world of oatmeal stouts, you can find few better places to begin. And while I won’t recommend beginning your Shakespeare education with this next book, it too serves as a fine example of what can be accomplished with basic ingredients used in the right way.

 Kill Shakespeare (Issues #1-12, Volumes 1 & 2, or the soon to be released single volume collection)

Written by Anthony Del Colo and Conor McCreery
Art by Andy Belanger
Published by IDW

I’ve written about Kill Shakespeare before, but that was just volume 1. While it’s a fine introduction to the world, it is far from a complete story, and my dedication to the bard would not allow me to leave the theater during intermission. So if you’ve read my previous review, consider this sentence the flashing of the lights indicating that it’s time to take your seats for Act II.

The main critique I’ve seen of this book is that you have to be some sort of bard scholar to keep track of the story. I don’t buy that for a second. You don’t need to be an expert on Sherlock to enjoy watching Dr. House. Just come into the book clean, and obviously start from Volume 1, and you’ll be fine. Is there likely an added benefit from really knowing the characters involved? Sure, but the characters themselves work fine even a midst reader ignorance.

I don’t want to rehash what I said about Volume 1, so in regards to Volume 2 our factions finally come to blows as Hamlet nears his goal of finding, and potentially killing, Shakespeare. It’s obviously hard to talk about things without spoilers, so I’ll say some characters that were conspicuously absent in Volume 1 finally make some grand appearances, unexpected relationships are formed, and the final confrontation of the bard against his characters is delightfully meta. The creative team are all certified Shakespeare nerds and it comes through in their attention to detail and characterizations that while at first might stun, upon reflection make absolute sense. Andy Belanger really brings it in these final issues. Huge battle scenes, but also some really intricate pencil-work on some gorgeous multi-paneled sequences. He showed me some of the un-inked pages at NYCC and they are a sight to behold.

While I was sad to see this particular series draw to a close, I know the story is far from finished. The world these guys have created is expansive and fully realized, leaving the door wide open for another tale in neo-Stratford, or wherever they’re hiding out. But until the next story is told (possibly on the big screen) grab this book and this good beer so you can ‘kill’ a Shakespeare in the bottle while he is killed before you on the page.

Can’t find Shakespeare Oatmeal Stout in your area? I find that unlikely, but if that is the case consider trying: Samuel Smith Oatmeal Stout


Ryan Haupt was voted most dramatic in high school, because he was a thespian, not because he was a trouble-maker. Hear him speak as eloquently as possible (through the magic of editing) on the podcast Science… sort of.


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. Smile more.


  1. I’d recommend the Dungarvan Brewery Coffee and Outmeal Stout. Might be a bit difficult to get in the US but well worth a go if you can.

    • Cool suggestion! I try to find beers that are relatively easy to get, but I know there’s always a plethora of niche craft stuff floating around to be sampled. Thanks!

  2. Apparently, there’s a store on the Jersey side of the Lincoln Tunnel (or is the Holland?) that stocks all different kinds of Rogues Ale. I’ve been meaning to take a trip out there, since I’ve only really seen the Dead Guy Ale and the Shakespeare Stout regularly stocked elsewhere.

  3. You absolutely do NOT have to be a Shakespeare expert to enjoy Kill Shakespeare. While I like Shakespeare, i am FAR from an expert. I have only read a handful of plays and I enjoyed this comic a great deal.