Chris KelleyThe Drink: Templeton Rye

The Comic: Prophet #39 published by Image Comics

The Drink
The beginning of 1920 was a tough time for local farmers in Templeton, Iowa. Like much of the nation, they were trying to recover from the effects of World War I. With the dry age of Prohibition starting on January 17th of 1920, the farmers began to experiment with distilling whiskey to supplement their income. Soon, they got to be pretty damn good at it. This caught the attention of one man in particular: Al Capone.

During Prohibition, good liquor was hard to come by. Bathtub Gin and Moonshine were aplenty at the local speakeasies, but were very dangerous to consume. In some instances, they would seriously injure the drinker or even kill them. When Templeton made its way into Chicago, Capone quickly took note. Not long after, the town of Templeton was supplying Capone with kegs of it to distribute in Denver, Kansas City, Chicago and even parts of California. It was also his drink of choice. He used to call it “The Good Stuff” and would serve it to friends and family.

After Prohibition, Templeton was still being produced illegally in very small quantities for people close to the community. It stayed that way for decades until 2001 when Scott Bush set out on a journey to bring Templeton Rye to the masses. Bush partnered up with Meryl Kerkhoff, the son of Templeton creator, Alphonse Kerkhoff. In 2006, Templeton Rye was being sold legally for the first time in its storied life.

Templeton has a deep amber color. The nose is spicy with hints of oak and caramel. It has a wonderful caramel flavor that transitions into hints of spicy black pepper and cinnamon. It has a medium finish that is both bold and very smooth. This is the perfect whiskey to sip neat. It’s also amazing in an Old Fashioned.

I remember when Templeton first became availabel here in Omaha. I couldn’t wait to try it out. Now, it’s a regular for me and is one of my favorite whiskeys to drink. It will set you back about $35-$40, but it is very well worth it. There’s a reason Capone called it “The Good Stuff.” Grab a glass and find out why.

The Comic
After reading nearly 20 issues, I still can’t tell you with 100% certainty what Prophet is about. With that being said, it is still one of my favorite monthly comics. I’ve never read the original series created by Rob Liefield, so I had no previous knowledge of the story. I picked up the first issue of the revival (issue #21) on a whim and was completely blown away.

In issue #39, writer Brandon Graham takes a bit of a breather from the main narrative to give us a wonderful character piece on the cyborg Diehard. It follows him from age 10 all the way to 10,241. We see the character grow physically and philosophically through brilliantly drawn sequences. We get a glimpse of the many wars he has fought in and of a family killed by the Earth Empire. It shows Diehard slowly change from man to machine. You begin to feel sympathy for him. He has outlived everything and everyone he ever loved, and that is a terrifying notion.

Brandon Graham, Giannis Milonogiannis, Joseph Bergin III, Matt Sheean, Malachi Ward, James Stokoe, Aaron Conley, Jerry Lando, Ron Wimberly, and Simon Roy handled art duties on this issue. You’d think with 10 different artists on a book that it would suffer. Instead, you have a breathtaking example of innovative visual storytelling at its finest. Unlike a lot of multiple artist books, the art changes are barely noticed, which helps keep the story moving along very well. I usually read each issue of Prophet twice just so I can go back and closely study the art. In my opinion, the art alone is worth the cover price.

There are only four issues left in this run of Prophet, followed by a miniseries, then it’s all over. I’m glad I took a chance on this book when I did. Otherwise I wouldn’t have discovered one of the most intelligent and unique comics being written today.

Thanks for reading,
Christopher Kelley

————————-Chris Kelley is Matt Baum’s cousin. We try not to hold it against him.