Breakfast of the Gods Book One

Dante A. Ciampaglia

Who doesn't remember watching Saturday Morning Cartoons and seeing commercials for how Cap'n Crunch was abducted by the Soggies and you -- yes, you! -- were the only one who could save him?

Breakfast of the Gods Book One

Publisher: WebComics Nation
Length: 28
Writer: Brendan Douglas Jones
Subtitle: The Last Good Morning
Formats: Webcomic
US publication date: 2007-01

Part of the fun of growing up, especially in the 1980s, was waking up every morning and sitting down to a bowl of chocolatey, marshmallow-heavy, go-to-the-dentist-now-because-your-teeth-are-going-to-fall-out-from-all-the-sugar cereals. Cap'n Crunch, Frosted Flakes, Lucky Charms, Count Chocula, Rice Krispies, Cookie Crisp, Boo Berry, and others were staples of the morning routine. (And hopefully they still are.) It wasn't so much the cereal, though, that drew us to them. Instead, it was the cast of characters on the boxes.

Who doesn't remember watching Saturday Morning Cartoons and seeing commercials for how Cap'n Crunch was abducted by the Soggies and you -- yes, you! -- were the only one who could save him? Or how about rooting for that damned Trix rabbit to finally get his hands on some Trix cereal (and secretly harboring resentment towards the bratty kids who kept it from him)? Or thinking how great it could be if you could actually follow Toucan Sam to some river of Froot Loops?

Comic creator Brendan Douglas Jones taps into these golden memories in his book Breakfast of the Gods, a web-based graphic novel set in a world populated by all of those venerable cereal box icons. But it's the brilliant, if somewhat morbidly warped, approach Jones takes with the characters that propels the book past mere novelty.

In the land of Cerealia and the Fruit Islands, there is a war for control being waged between Count Chocula and Cap'n Crunch. The Count, who on the cereal boxes and in commercials is an innocuous and fun-loving vampire obsessed with chocolate, is here presented as a power-hungry and blood-thirsty villain employing other cereal icons to instill terror across Cerealia. As Book One of Breakfast of the Gods: The Last Good Morning opens, Frankenberry pummels and murders the Honey Nut Cheerios Honey Bee. We then see Frank break into the home of Snap, Crackle, and Pop, kidnap them, and torture them in two pages of startling brutality. Jones plays off our innocent ideas of these characters to get the most effect out of showing Frank and the Count snap, crackle, and pop the three Rice Krispies spokeselves.

On the other side of the war is Cap'n Crunch and Tony the Tiger from Frosted Flakes. They set out to find the Honey Bee's killer, only to find themselves confronted with the murders of Snap, Crackle, and Pop and the frightening reality of the Count starting a turf war in which the safety and well-being of all of Cerealia hangs in the balance.

Narratively, Breakfast of the Gods is fairly standard and straight-forward. From the first 28 pages of Book One that are currently available at Webcomics Nation, it's difficult to gauge if the simplicity of the story will continue throughout the rest of this installment and into books two and three. But Jones' inventive approach to the characters elevates the book beyond its simplicity. He puts ridiculous dialogue into the mouths of the characters, but because we have a built-in identification with them it's excusable and even somewhat profound.

For instance, in the most recent page of Book One, Tony and Cap'n Crunch are waxing philosophical on their mortality and where they'd like to their final resting places to be. Tony, realizing how defeatist the talk is, immediately changes his tone. "Listen to us! Planning our funerals as if Chocula's victory was a foregone conclusion! Well it's not! It can't be -- not if our sacrifices are to mean something!" How hokey can you get? But there's something heroic and honest about these words coming out of Tony the Tiger's mouth, especially after only hearing "They're Grrrrrrrrreat!" for years and years.

There are perhaps too many of these moments throughout the book, but Jones realizes that this is hackneyed, overwrought dialogue and follows it up, usually, with great bursts of meta-humor. In that same scene with Tony and the Cap'n, the Cap'n responds to Tony's reinvigorated energy by saying, "That's the spirit, Tony! Never lose hope, because hope is what feeds our souls, hope is what lights our mornings, and hope is an essential part of a nutricious [sic] breakfast!" I'm not sure if I've ever been all that hopeful staring into a bowl of Count Chocula, or Cap'n Crunch for that matter, but the moment is nonetheless funny and a good counterbalance to the pontification it follows.

As graphic novels go, Breakfast of the Gods isn't a breakthrough. But it's still loads of fun, and that trumps the book's shortcomings. And really, why shouldn't it? We've grown up on bad-for-you cereals featuring the characters in the book as spokesmen; we should be allowed to indulge in empty-calorie entertainment featuring the characters as grown-ups.




Love in the Time of Coronavirus

Street Art As Sprayed Solidarity: Global Corona Graffiti

COVID-19-related street art functions as a vehicle for political critique and social engagement. It offers a form of global solidarity in a time of crisis.


Gretchen Peters Honors Mickey Newbury With "The Sailor" and New Album (premiere + interview)

Gretchen Peters' latest album, The Night You Wrote That Song: The Songs of Mickey Newbury, celebrates one of American songwriting's most underappreciated artists. Hear Peters' new single "The Sailor" as she talks about her latest project.


Okkyung Lee Goes From Classical to Noise on the Stellar 'Yeo-Neun'

Cellist Okkyung Lee walks a fine line between classical and noise on the splendid, minimalist excursion Yeo-Neun.


Alastair Sim: A Very English Character Actor Genius

Alastair Sim belongs to those character actors sometimes accused of "hamming it up" because they work at such a high level of internal and external technique that they can't help standing out.


Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith's New LP Is Lacking in Songcraft but Rich in Texture

Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith's The Mosaic of Transformation is a slightly uneven listen. It generally transcends the tropes of its genre, but occasionally substitutes substance for style.


Buzzcocks' 1996 Album 'All Set' Sees the Veteran Band Stretching Out and Gaining Confidence

After the straightforward and workmanlike Trade Test Transmissions, Buzzcocks continued to hone their fresh identity in the studio, as exhibited on the All Set reissue contained on the new box-set Sell You Everything.


Patrick Madden's 'Disparates' Makes Sense in These Crazy Times

There's no social distancing with Patrick Madden's hilarious Disparates. While reading these essays, you'll feel like he's in the room with you.


Perfume Genius Purges Himself and It's Contagious

You need to care so much about your art to pack this much meaning into not only the words, but the tones that adorn and deliver them. Perfume Genius cares so much it hurts on Set My Heart on Fire Immediately.

Love in the Time of Coronavirus

Confinement and Escape: Emma Donoghue and E.L. Doctorow in Our Time of Self-Isolation

Emma Donoghue's Room and E.L. Doctorow's Homer & Langley define and confront life within limited space.


Political Cartoonist Art Young Was an Aficionado of all Things Infernal

Fantagraphics' new edition of Inferno takes Art Young's original Depression-era critique to the Trump White House -- and then drags it all to Hell.


Folk's Jason Wilber Examines the World Through a Futurist Lens in 'Time Traveler' (album stream)

John Prine's former guitarist and musical director, Jason Wilber steps out with a new album, Time Traveler, featuring irreverent, pensive, and worldly folk music.

Collapse Expand Reviews

Collapse Expand Features
PM Picks
Collapse Expand Pm Picks

© 1999-2020 All rights reserved.
PopMatters is wholly independent, women-owned and operated.