Ryan Browne and Jordan Boyd’s “God Hates Astronauts” #1 is absolutely crazy in the best ways possible. From the opening page of the book to the final panel, the jokes come at a rapid-fire pace through both story and art and are a testament to the singular, absurdist vision of creator Ryan Browne. The concepts and matter-of-fact introduction of the disparate elements that make up the comic book are reminiscent of the work of Pendleton Ward or David Lynch. There is no such thing as a cliche in work this unique and the flow of logic from one moment to the next takes the reader on an undulating wave of stream of consciousness fun.
Several astronaut farmers are attempting to launch their cult-like leader into space where there are no rules against him marrying Hennifer, a hen that he loves and has fused to the body of a human woman. NASA sends several space bears and the Power Persons Five — led by Star Grass, a superhero merged with the disembodied ghostly head of a cow — to stop this illegal activity from taking place. Meanwhile, King Tiger Eating A Cheeseburger, whose name describes exactly who he is and what he does, plots revenge on the planet Earth in retaliation for a different group of rogue farmer astronauts who violated the space treaty keeping humans out of the Crab Nebula, killing his son Admiral Tiger Eating A Cheeseburger in the process.
The flow of the story is constantly moving forward, pulling the readers along at a breakneck pace and serving the surreal nature of the world quite well. Browne has a firm grasp on a whirling dervish, using every element of cartooning to serve the humor. There are many sound effects jokes littered throughout the story and 3D Cowboy, a cartoonish ghost in a cowboy hat, is even colored and separated with a 3D effect that would pop when wearing the right glasses. His style is rich with detail; there is a lot of linework in every panel and he never skimps on environment or costuming. It’s reminiscent of Geoff Darrow and Brent Anderson’s work, lots to pour over in larger panels with thick, gritty lines that add weight and dimension to the art. Check out the hilarious arrival of NASA at the farm to see a great example of this.
Browne is carving out a unique space for himself with this series. There isn’t really anything exactly like it on the stands and that’s exactly what we all look for in comics, right? Find another book that has beer swilling horses screaming “Fuck this shit!” or sound effects like “Murder Town!” or a beautiful panel of a tear stained hen and a joyful farmer preparing to consummate their love for one another or a tiger in a crown eating a cheeseburger named King Tiger Eating A Cheeseburger. You can’t because Browne took all these ideas and used them to make “God Hates Astronauts” #1 the most fun book of the week.