July 22nd, 2010


The Last Thing You Need To See During A Bout Of The DT's

BrewDog is a microbrewery in Fraserburgh, Aberdeenshire, England, Europe, Earth, ZZ9 Plural Z Alpha.  To call them "eccentric" is like calling the planet Jupiter "sizable".  Last year, they created a 32% volume beer called Tactical Nuclear Penguin.  It has dealt with people saying their 18.2 per cent Tokyo beer promoted excess. Just this past February, they created a 41% volume ale called Sink The Bismarck!.  Now, they are making an ale they call "The End Of History". It is a blond Belgian ale infused with nettles and juniper berries.  The brewers freeze the liquid to separate water from the solution.  They do this dozens of times, eventually reducing hundreds of liters of beer to just enough for a 330ml bottle.  The ale retails for 500 pounds ($763.20) and, at 55% volume, is not only the strongest beer in the world, but stronger than whiskey or vodka.

At least twelve people are going to be thankful for that.

BrewDog is selling twelve bottles of "The End Of History" ale in the bodies of dead animals.

This is soooooooooo disturbing.  I mean, I like animals, but I'm no animal rights activist.  But even I did a double take when I saw that.

The hit list consists of seven stoats, four squirrels, and one hare.  A hare, not a rabbit.  A rabbit would have been disgusting.

James Watt, co-founder of the brewery (and apparently as concerned about animals as the American James Watt was), said, "'In true BrewDog fashion, we've torn up convention, blurred distinctions and pushed brewing and beer packaging to its absolute limits.  This is the beer to end all beers (And appetites. --G). It's an audacious blend of eccentricity, artistry and rebellion; changing the general perception of beer, one stuffed animal at a time.  The impact of The End Of History is a perfect conceptual marriage between taxidermy, art and craft brewing. The bottles are at once beautiful and disturbing - they disrupt conventions and break taboos, just like the beer they hold within them.''

Naturally, animal rights people in England are NOT amused.  Watt responds to their criticisms by emphasizing that the animals were not killed just for the bottles, they were killed for other reasons (i.e. street pizza).  I'm glad they went cruelty free before jamming a glass bottle into their abdominal cavities. "I can think of no grander way to celebrate these animals than for them to be cherished by the lucky owners.  The animals used to bottle The End Of History all died of natural causes - better to be celebrated and valued than left to rot."  Among the ways the animals are celebrated is by the taxidermist in Doncaster is to outfit some with a kilt or a top hat.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm going to go think about mermaids for a while to help this wear off.

Acute Vertigo

DC's Vertigo imprint is collapsing.  Big time.

The label Neil Gaiman made great, where he redefined comics, has been hit hard lately, with flagging sales and grumbling across the board.  Vertigo started housecleaning.  First, Air was deflated.  Then, Unknown Soldier got discharged.  Next, Greek Street got dead ended.  Swamp Thing got pruned and replanted in the proper DCU.  Now, Madame Xanadu is losing her verses.  (Damn, I'm enjoying writing this patter.)  I've also heard that Death from Sandman is going to make an appearance in the DCU proper.  This is decades after it happened, Gaiman said he didn't like it, and DC capitulated.

Vertigo used to be the 500 lb. gorilla of DC editorial.  They were part of a stylistic revolution in the comics medium, creating deep artistic stories.  Now, they are seeing their titles pulled into the section with the capes again, and there's nothing they can do.

I wonder if the talk of further Watchmen installments, recently confirmed by Alan Moore and practically admitted to by Dan DiDio and Jim Lee, might be to help shore up the division and give it a massive hit.  Given there have been two Vertigo big screen adaptations that bombed at the box office (Watchmen and V For Vendetta), Vertigo seems to have lost the fashionable cache it used to have.

It's scary.  Comic sales for the month of April were down 20% from April the previous year.  That means that the margin is getting smaller.  Readers are falling away.  Companies that want to stay in business will get rid of things that don't bring either readership or validation (spin off media deals).  DCU will always have an advantage over Vertigo.  Just look at all the animated movies for Wonder Woman and Green Lantern and stuff.  They can experience a drop but still go on, since they have all kinds of things that can be done and the numbers are high enough anyway.  But Vertigo?  Their numbers are small enough that a 20% drop can be fatal, and appears to be.  Combine this letting high profile hits like Chew slip through their fingers (it's official, AMC is devving a TV series based on it, and since Vertigo returned the rights to the creators, that means they won't see anything from it), and things do not look good.

This is scary for everyone, actually, Vertigo, self-publisher, whatever.  What this basically means is the pie is getting smaller, so the pieces are smaller, and EVERYBODY wants a slice.

Vertigo is a fear of high places.  Heights are not what they are concerned with now.