World Comic Book Review

3rd December 2023

Alpha King #1 (review)

Alpha King #1 (review)
(Image Comics, May 2016)
Writers: Brian Azzarello, Nick Floyd and Simon Bisley

Promotional tie-ins between comics and various goods and services are commonplace. Most usually these tie-ins are linked to toys or movies. Some of these have been exceptionally successful, for example, “Transformers”.

More blatant, perhaps, is various American publishers’ efforts to promote cars. In one instance, “Rush City” (DC Comics, 2006-2007), the comic’s existence was to facilitate the promotion of the Pontiac Solstice, a sports car. Dark Horse Comics’ “The Hire” (2004) similarly promoted BMW, a car brand. The Wall Street Journal has reported on Marvel Comics’ efforts to promote DaimlerChrysler AG’s Dodge Caliber car in various titles including Spider-man, and also on Marvel Comics’ deal with Nike’s “swoosh” logo, whereby Marvel Comics undertook to feature the logo within various comic titles over a four-to-six month period.

“Alpha King” is an unabashed promotional tie-in. The goods promoted by the comic, however, are novel: a microbrewery called 3 Floyds Brewing Company uses the comic to promote the brewer’s pale ale in the context of an interdimensional war involving sword-wielding demons. This is as ridiculous as it sounds. The plot begins with an amusing-enough gag: some soldiers in an army of ogres discuss Tolkein, before being rallied to a siege. The story then jumps to a bearded brewer in modern day America, who encourages kids to slip around the corner of the vat and sneak in consumption of the beer.

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