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UNDER THE RADAR (C2E2 EDITION): Ryan Browne & God Hates Astronauts

Posted on May 1, 2014 at 7:34 am by Heather Antos

 GHABlue cow heads, Rocket Farmers, and Admiral Tiger Eating a Cheeseburger galore! Last weekend at C2E2 I had the pleasure of interviewing the comic book creating mad man most formally known as Ryan Browne. His work has been seen in Bedlam and The Manhattan Projects, but coming August 2014 Browne’s creator owned God Hates Astronauts will be launched onto shelves by IMAGE Comics! See what he had to say about comics and more! 



HEATHER ANTOS: So God Hates Astronauts is your creator owned series that IMAGE Comics just announced they’re going to run.

RYAN BROWNE: Yup! Well it’s going to be an on-going series, monthly, starting in August of this year. So I need to start drawing pretty fast!

HA: Could you describe the premise of God Hates Astronauts for us?

RB: Well, you know, it was around before. I did it as a web comic for a while and it was light on plot and heavy on stupid jokes. Now this time I’m trying to make it heavy on stupid jokes but with an actual direction and plot for the story. So, it’s basically a group of superheroes that work for NASA that are supposed to be basically policing the skies and stopping this group of farmers that are launching themselves into outer space with homemade rocket ships. They are really trying to avert any sort of intergalactic incident with, you know, rocket-silos flying out of control throughout space!

HA: [Laughs] It definitely seems like a very plausible situation!GHA_02_01_Final (2)

RB: Yeah, it’s based on real threats of society! It’s very deep. [Laughs] But yeah, we saw in the first series that Admiral Tiger Eating a Cheeseburger had been killed by one of these stray astronaut rocket ships. And so that becomes the main focus and that comes home to roost in this series.

HA: So since IMAGE has picked it up, will the run starting in August be a continuation of the previous story?

RB: I’ve designed it so that it’s a total jumping on point for the series. There are reintroductions of all the characters and it’s taking place about a year after the last series ended – so it’s kind of in real time! Everything is set up structurally to be a self-contained story. There will be little hints of why Star Fighter lost his head, the big affair that happened before…You’ll get hints at it, but it’s not necessary to have read it. I think it’s important to be accommodating to new readers when re-launching a number one issue. And if they want to go back and see how we got to that point that’s great!

HA: Very cool. So where did the idea for this series actually come from?

RB: I started it as a 24 hour comic, which is an exercise where you just draw a 24 page comic in 24 hours and you really make it up as you go along. It’s really a great, fun exercise for improvisation. So that’s what the first issue kind of was born out of. It was just me making the silliest superhero parody. But it’s a parody of lots of things, not just superheroes. That’s why, when it [the web comic] started it was just completely unfocused because I didn’t know how long it was going to be – I didn’t know what was going to happen three pages down the line! I was basically just riffing off of this world that I invented in this 24 hour comic; I was putting everything that I liked to draw in it, coming up with stupid jokes and ideas for scenes or parodies of movies, and then working it into some sort of loose narrative.GHA_01_11

HA: Are you the full creative team for God Hates Astronaut’s run at IMAGE?

RB: Yeah, I mean, I’m not going to color it, I’m still figuring that out. I’ve got a really great letterer – Chris Crank! But yeah, I’m writing and drawing it as well as doing the covers! And then I’ve got alternate covers for the first five issues – it’s a lot of my friends who kind of do similar stuff and have similar sensibilities, and, you know, hopefully give me a little street cred!

HA:  You had mentioned that it will be an on-going series. How far into the future can you see God Hates Astronauts going?

RB: I could just run and run with it! I have no shortage of ideas. I’ve kind of created this world where anything can happen in it and so that just lets me play. Nothing is off limits! I plan on experimenting more with the comics’ medium – what you can do in a comic that you can’t do in anything else. I already know what happens in the first five issues; I’ve written it all. And then I’ve got a good idea of what’s happening in six through ten. Really the length of the series all depends on if it’s financially possible, you know? If the book maintains sales well enough that I can live off of it and keep going! I mean, that’s the goal: To keep doing it!

HA: Absolutely! And if there is anything that you want readers to take away from God Hates Astronauts what would it be?GHA_01_Cover_B_Print (2)

RB: Some jokes, some mildly offensive moments… it’s not a very deep book. I just want it to be fun! For me, it’s important to be fun. I feel like comics in general forgot that and something happened in the 80s where things got really serious and comics have fought that. It’s been rare that a comic that is fun has been really successful. I mean, a lot of comics recently that have been breaking out of that mold, things IMAGE has been doing particularly, like Saga and The Manhattan Projects which makes you think, “Oh yeah! Comics can do anything!” People like imagination, people like fun, people like inventiveness. For a while everything got so serious and everyone got so concerned with being a movie – and it still is like that – but I feel like there’s a blowback from all of that that people are starting to remember that comics are supposed to be fun. Or, at least, not just ‘supposed to be fun’ but that it’s a very viable way to run a comic is to have a good time!

HA: Any last thoughts?

RB: It’s a really exciting time for me! This is what I’ve always wanted to do! I started the series seven years ago and it’s just been years and years of frustration with it and it’s awesome that it’s finally found its audience. It’s totally a book that people really believe in and have fought for and have made it happen! Publishers have just thought it’s so weird and have not understood what the market might be, but the people have spoken, you know? The fans have spoken. The fans have proven that I can make a living off of it. And so it’s just been this awesome group effort for why it’s becoming what it is!

Stalk Ryan Browne on Twitter: @RyanBrowneArt

Follow Ryan Browne’s Blog:

Read the Web Comic “Blast Furnace:

Buy “God Hates Astronauts Volume 1”:

Under the Radar is a column where I, Heather Antos, interview comic creators, writers, and artists of all kinds about their talents, skills, and projects to come! If you know of a comic creator who is Under the Radar and waiting to be discovered by the comic industry, contact me: @HeatherAntos

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