Comic Shots #31 with Ryan Haupt: An Brain Blásta and ‘The Leading Man’

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.

Look at how those colors match! SYNERGY!

Summertime means action! It means long hot days of sun and fun. It means big budget movies with explosions and possibly even a plot! And sometime it even just means curling up with a book and a drink outdoors instead of in. Well do I have the pairing for you! Let’s get right to it with our beer du jour: An Brain Blásta. While the name in Enlgish appears to be just the right combination of evocative and nonsensical that one might expect from a big dumb action movie, in Irish Gaelic the words mean “the tasty drop,” which it certainly is. I’m not sure why my bottle is spelled differently; the brewery must have changed the spelling at some point so we’ll just consider my particular bottle “retro vintage” meaning your experience may vary.

The beer style is a strong ale, which is a style that varies considerably from region to region. I tend to find these beers to be on the sweeter side, but the sweetness of a dense fruit like a fig, as well as having heavy malt profiles and low to nonexistent hop characters. And, as the name implies, a hefty bit of alcohol. This beer met a few of those expectations and exceeded in others. Moving backwards through my list, at 7% it’s just at the range where you could maybe get a bit of alcohol on the nose, but not enough to be off putting. This particular ale is also triple-hopped, which gives it a pleasant roughness that other strong ales lack. I’d describe it as a richer, fruitier Fat Tire. And it certainly lives up to the name. And lastly, how can I not point that the color palate of the cover of the book and the label of the beer match!

The Leading Man

Written by B. Clay Moore
Illustrated by Jeremy Haun
Published by Oni Press 

But what about the book? For those who missed it, The Leading Man was a miniseries by B. Clay Moore and Jeremy Haun published and then collected by Oni Press. The story is as straightforward as any good action movie premise: a well-known actor is secretly a super spy. It’s like the super model agents of Zoolander, but if it was done with a straight face, and done well. The book moves at a breakneck pace, with smooth dialogue and even smoother action. It delivers exactly what you expect from the premise, but gives enough twists and turns that you’re still on the edge of your seat wondering how things will turn out. And then it ends. And sure, it ends in a satisfying way, but there are enough open ideas that you’re really left wanting more. So it gives just enough, but not too much, kind of like, oh I don’t know, a tasty drop? (See what I did there.)

And since this feature is about the intersection between booze and comics, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the glaring gaff on the pages of The Leading Man. A Hollywood agent dismissively refers to a Pinot Blanc as “Pinto Blah.” Clever enough, except the wine in the bottle is red. Whoops. I know this book came out some time ago, but the folks here in the Comic Shots corner of the iFanoffice are available for consultation on any upcoming projects to avoid this kind of embarrassment.

But minor coloring faux pas aside, this bottle and book are like summer. All are a bit bombastic in expectation and execution, and all hopefully offer enough surprises that you never get bored. So I say as part of your entry into the season of hot days and big movies, you take a minute to enjoy a bracing beer and a bombastic book. Cheers!


Ryan Haupt tries to live life one fast-paced mile at a time, but he also slows down for science and drink as heard 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 only the amount of comics that you can until your wife or significant other threatens to throw things away.


  1. Great beer choice Ryan. The Dublin Poterhouse do this beer and their bar in the centre of Dublin is well worth a visit if you’re ever in the city.

    They also do a really good Oyster Stout – maybe a possible drink when reading Aquaman? 😉

  2. or an nice hoppy Green Flash from San Diego

  3. Tantalizing indeed, I want both….I got the Bordeaux a few columns back but haven’t got the Three Shadows book yet… this column, keep it up Ryan…cheers!!!

  4. I know its not always you on the column but keep it up and cheers anyway!!!