After a long spell of being out of touch with comics, I happened to be at a comic shop with friends one afternoon, and decided to ask for some recommendations. I specifically asked for something “preferably bizarre and funny.” With a knowing smile, the proprietor, the-not-one-and-only Chris Brown, walked over to a shelf, handed me an issue of God Hates Astronauts, and said, “I think you’ll dig this.” He spoke of not-so-superheroes, astro-farmers in chicken love, and father-and-son Tigers Eating Cheeseburgers. Sold American.
God Hates Astronauts is without a doubt THE weirdest, most hilarious series I have ever read, and even when I’m not entirely sure I know what is going on (because there is always SO MUCH going on), I love every eye- popping panel and crazy-ass word of it. Ryan Browne pulls out all the stops when it comes to sight gags, pop- culture name-dropping at every. single. opportunity (and I love it)., bizarro hybrid characters (yes, Detective Lebronson is Charles Bronson in a basketball uniform) and WTF cameos (Montel!? Yes, Ryan Browne was on Montel once). The superhero element of the series is both kind of an afterthought (for the applicable characters, at least; they’re too self-obsessed and bumbling to make good superheroes) and a vehicle for satire within the story (because the characters are too self-obsessed and bumbling to make good superheroes). It works on so many levels, all of them dripping with Browne’s sardonic wit.
The latest installment of GHA kicks off with our esteemed (and sobered up) narrator 3D Cowboy bringing us up to speed as usual, dialing things back (in the time-hopping spirit of the latest story arc) to the moments before the end of issue #8 when Starrior From The Future, Bill (pre-swelled head Star-Fighter) From The Past, Star-Fighter From The Past and Star-Grass From The More Recent Past (ya got all that?) arrive at the reunion of King Tiger Eating a Cheeseburger and Admiral Tiger Eating a Cheeseburger (having recovered from his amnesia and temporary identity as Cosmic Tiger Eating a Carrot) just in time to bust it up. Oops. Starrior FTF and Bill FTP defect from the group via robo-giraffe flatulence to find a teleporter needed to flee the current setting and continue their quest to find the kidnapped Starlina. Meanwhile Star-Grass FTMRP is bitching to a swollen-headed Star-Fighter FTP about a lack of dipping sauce (mango-berry, duh) for his chicken nuggets, and decides to vent his aggression by kicking some Crabulonian ass. King Tiger awakens and, upon viewing the aftermath of our time-travelers’ arrival, swears revenge. Pandor, whose backstory unfolds in the introduction to this issue, also vows to taste the meat of vengeance, and does so quite literally. And, as in the culmination of every chapter of GHA, complete and utter hilarity ensues. Which is one of my favorite things about it: it’s consistent, never a disappointment. The jokes are in endless supply, always on point, and the art is always gorgeous (even with excessive use of Pepto pink…and yes, dammit, a farting robo-giraffe CAN be beautifully rendered). This month’s entry is no different. No matter what Ryan Browne spends my money on—nuggets, warm Zima, whores—I will continue to throw down my hard-earned bucks for this terrific series for as long as he chooses to poop it out.