Lost brew: Stevenson ale ballad inspires new comic tale

A poem by Edinburgh-born writer Robert Louis Stevenson has been adapted for a new comic book.

The beer-themed ballad, The Heather Ale, tells of a drink brewed by ancient Picts. Its recipe is lost during the King of Scots' violent attempts to take ownership of it.

The comic of the same name will be unveiled at this weekend's Glasgow Comic Con, 120 years after Stevenson's death.

Comic book adaption of Robert Louise Stevenson's The Heather Ale

Stevenson, best known for his books Treasure Island and Kidnapped, drew on legends of a mythical ale for his ballad.

The script for the comic was written by Bafta nominated screenwriter Jack Lothian, who has worked on TV series Skins, Shameless and Ashes to Ashes.

It was illustrated by Alan Brown, an artist on Ben 10, Hello Kitty and Viz comics.

Comic book adaption of Robert Louise Stevenson's The Heather Ale

Glasgow-based independent publisher Black Hearted Press worked with Alloa brewers Williams Bros in creating the comic book.

Williams Bros has a craft beer called Fraoch, which it first brewed 25 years ago and seeks to recreate the ancient beverage.

Comic book adaption of Robert Louise Stevenson's The Heather Ale

Mark Boyle, of Glasgow's Black Hearted Press, said: "Despite being written over 120 years ago, Stevenson's poem has the perfect blend of action and intrigue.

"We were surprised that the poem hasn't been transformed into a comic before."

Comic book adaption of Robert Louise Stevenson's The Heather Ale

Scott Williams, of Williams Bros, said: "The story and the beer may be decades old but the idea of pairing a beer with a comic is definitely novel."

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