Friday, March 17, 2017

Reader's Diary #1560- Jonathan Hennessey and Mike Smith (writers), Aaron McConnell (artists): The Comic Book Story of Beer

In some aspects, Jonathan Hennessey and Mike Smith's The Comic Book Story of Beer: The World's Favorite Beverage from 7000 BC to Today's Craft Brewing Revolution reminded me of Mark Kurlansky's Salt. Both took a food that most people probably don't give a second thought about, even while being enjoyed, and shared a surprisingly fascinating history of how that food has influenced society the world over.

An obvious difference between the two is that this one is illustrated. Much of the praise heaped on this book claim that the art makes an otherwise dull topic interesting. As a fan of Salt, which wasn't illustrated, I'd disagree. The history of beer would likely have been engaging even without Aaron McConnell's art.

However, McConnell's art acts as the hops, the flavouring agent. While it doesn't, as in many comic books, weigh equal importance to the text, doesn't add any new insight, it is good. It's consistently styled throughout, except when he veers to say, draw in the style of an old-timey political cartoon in order to complement the words. There's also a dry sense of humour that reminded of the Simpsons' Behind the Laughter episode with its over-the-top attempts at symbolism.

And, as a fan of craft beers but with little background knowledge to adequately explain why I prefer some beers over others, I can definitely say I learned a few things.

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