A friend of mine with whom I regularly discuss matters of music, comics, and literature (let’s call him T), asked me last week whether or not I had read or heard of a comic called “God Hates Astronauts.” I replied that I had heard of the title somewhere but wasn’t familiar with the specifics. T suddenly thrust a book into my hands and said “you will borrow this, then.” I wish to go on the record and thank T for the experience of reading this ridiculous comic, for it has entertained me.
Creator Ryan Browne began God Hates Astronauts as a web-comic before KickStarting a 180-page hardcover collected edition published by the author and printed by Tri-Vision Printing. The collection features the first story-arc of the series, a section of eighteen 2-page character origin stories written by Browne and drawn by a cadre of guest artists, as well as, numerous other original sketches and bonuses. To be sure, the collection is very handsome; the cover image alone provides a good indication of the sheer delights that this comic quite capably provides.
God Hates Astronauts follows the trials and tribulations of the Power Persons 5, a super-team hired by NASA to prevent hillbilly astronauts from building and launching space rockets. That mission takes a back-seat, however, as it quickly becomes apparent that the Power Persons 5 are a group of self-absorbed narcissists hell-bent on dragging out their inter-team squabbles in the most destructive way possible. The primary “hero” of the book, Star-Fighter, is a cosmic guardian in the mold of Jack Kirby’s creations. His head has been replaced with the severed ghost-head of a deranged cow. Needless to say, this event has altered his personality somewhat, becoming the driving force of the in-fighting that plagues the good-intentioned but hapless team. Other characters include Star-Fighter’s wife, Starrior, who gains her powers from her wedding ring, The Anti-Mugger, a man’s man who fights to rid the world of muggers and muggings (at the exclusion of everything else), and Texas Tom, the deformed cowboy. Various other animal-headed characters, animal-armed characters, or just plain animals round out the ensemble cast.
Taking cues from Geoff Darrow and Tony Moore, Browne’s art is colorful, realistic, and outrageous. The aesthetic at work here seems to be the ebullient commitment to the insanity of the proceedings in this imaginative splatter-fest, while at the same time remaining as dead-pan as possible to ground the work within the rules that Browne has developed for the world of the comic. Sound effects leap out of the panels, severed appendages ooze brightly-hued gore, and the flamboyant colors reflect the equally flamboyant personalities of the characters.
God Hates Astronauts has it all: super-powered brawls, pop-culture references, pugilistic bears, and tigers eating cheeseburgers. This affair is geared towards adults who could use a massive detour into outlandish parody, wherein it succeeds brilliantly. Image Comics seems to share this opinion, offering to publish this comic as an on-going monthly series debuting in July 2014, with the first TPB slated for October of 2014.
God Hates Astronauts: The Completely Complete Edition
by Ryan Browne
Ryan Browne, 2013