They Did This! Creates Comic Art For Brewery Heroic Aleworks

By: Mandy J Watson
Posted: 21 April 2017
Category: Features Comments View Comments


Members of arts collective They Did This! have been collaborating with a craft brewery in the US to design comics-inspired artworks for the brewery's line of beers, which are themed around superheroes and villains.

They Did This! Creates Comic Art For Brewery Heroic Aleworks

They Did This! is a group of artists, illustrators, designers, and comic creators best known for its The Lil' Five series of comics that are suitable for all ages but the collective also works on other projects, both private and commercial. One such project is for Heroic Aleworks in Virginia in the US, a craft brewery that produces beers with a geeky theme.

To set itself apart from the many craft breweries in the US, and because the founder and staff at Heroic Aleworks are self-proclaimed nerds, the brewery went with a comic-superhero concept for its establishment, which includes beers themed around heroes and villains and a physical location that aims to be a "geek culture epicentre comprising comic books, gaming, and even the creation of our own comic book universe". In time the plan is to expand the use of the space to events such as cosplay showcases, geek trivia nights, and role-playing-game evenings.

They Did This! Creates Comic Art For Brewery Heroic Aleworks

The idea behind the beers' comics theme is to have a flagship team of heroes that are always on tap at the brewery, plus villains and other characters that will be introduced for seasonal or special beer releases that will "live or die based on input from consumers about each beer" - presumably meaning that if the market doesn't like the product too much the character will die or be vanquished.

The project will be extended to a comic-book universe and storyline that will be available online - the first comic, Heroic Aleworks Presents: Solasta, has already been posted, although I couldn't get it to download - and possibly later in print in limited editions.

They Did This! Creates Comic Art For Brewery Heroic Aleworks
Above: Read more about Mistress Of War on the Heroic Aleworks web site. The double IPA is "best enjoyed seated on a throne of the skulls of your vanquished enemies".
To bring the project to life Heroic Aleworks has been working with comics creators and illustrators all over the world, which is how They Did This! became involved. Kate Hoke from Heroic Aleworks contacted Andrew Cramer, the creator of the comic strip Week Daze and the colourist on The Lil' Five, after seeing their work on the Alterna Comics creator database.

The initial result of the collaborations is three character designs and comic covers by Karl Mostert (linework) and Andrew Cramer (colours), featuring Master Heist, Mistress Of War, and Oda The Huntress, as well as a logo design by Cramer.

They Did This! Creates Comic Art For Brewery Heroic Aleworks

"Kate will usually brief us with a description of the character and sometimes a description of what they envision for the cover but mostly Karl is left to create a batch of options for them," says Andrew Cramer. "Unless the character already exists we are allowed to conceptualise the character from scratch using their visual references and inspirations that they have collected as a guide."

"We're pretty stoked to be working with them on this project as it's quite fun and they are a blast to work with," Cramer says.

They Did This! Creates Comic Art For Brewery Heroic AleworksMore recently Moray Rhoda who, as part of the They Did This! collective, fulfills a number of roles creating The Lil' Five, notably script duties, also created artwork for a limited edition beer that's being launched next month. The beer, Nova Confounded IPA, is a collaboration between Heroic Aleworks and another craft brewery in Virginia, Lost Rhino Brewing Company, in honour of Novacon, Northern Virginia's first comic and gaming convention, which will be taking place in July after its organisation and development funding was crowdfunded by the community, and a group of passionate comics fans, last year.

The art for the Nova Confounded IPA features the Novacon mascot getting himself into some tentacled trouble in space. The IPA will be launched on 13 May at a special event at Heroic Aleworks, then it will be available at a few events in the runup to the convention in July before being made available at the convention.

While Heroic Aleworks' series of comics-inspired beers isn't the first example of a brewery collaborating with a comics team (I highlighted another example last year in which US writer Jason Aaron and US artist Tony Moore created comics stories for the labels of Festus Rotgut, a black wheat ale produced by Arcade Brewery in Chicago) it's great to see a South African comics team producing some exciting work that will be seen on the other side of the world. There is a possibility that Andrew Cramer and Karl Mostert will get to work on the next comic, and I certainly hope that's the case.

As for the beers, well, unfortunately due to this being a craft brewery it seems likely that if beer fans want to taste them they'll have to travel to Virginia to do so - but since Novacon is coming up in July you'll have double the reason to organise a trip.

Karl Mostert: DeviantArt, Twitter

Lost Rhino Brewing Company: Official Site, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube

Read Next: There's A South African Comics Easter Egg In Resident Evil: The Final Chapter

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Tags: #arts_and_culture, #books, #comics, #sacomics

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