Kickstart It! Ryan Browne on God Hates Astronauts: The Completely Complete Edition

Truthfully, Ryan Browne’s God Hates Astronauts: The Completely Complete Edition¬†doesn’t need your help. It’s already met its goal of $15,000 and, at the time of this writing, is creeping towards tripling that number. But then, God Hates Astronauts is a known commodity as a web serial. This collection is the soon-to-be-tangible manifestation of half a decade’s work for a very peculiar man named Ryan Browne, with additional art by the likes of Chris Burnham, Ryan Steggman, Tradd Moore, Tim Seeley, Riley Rossmo, Tom Fowler, Jenny Frison, Nick Pitarra and oodles and oodles and oodles more. So, why pledge now? Because you want this book.

We spoke to Ryan about the project against our better judgment:

iFanboy: Ryan. What the hell is this?

Ryan Browne: That? I take that twice a day for my “condition.” Oh wait, you mean God Hates Astronauts? Sorry. GHA is a webcomic that I’ve been doing for the past six years. It’s a “humor” “comic” that follows the story of a group of incompetent, small-minded, super powered narcissists called “The Power Persons Five” who are hired by NASA to stop all farmers from launching themselves into space in homemade rocket ships. Unfortunately, for NASA, this goal is scarcely even addressed and the book focuses more on extramarital affairs, bank robing owls, big gross swollen heads, ghost cow heads, olde tyme boxers, tigers eating cheeseburgers in the Crab Nebula, buffalo judges and tons of aggressive swearing. Not as much a superhero book as it is a parody of basically everything and a celebration of weird that is jam-packed with references to Robo-Cop and Die Hard.

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God’s hatred of astronauts, made tangible

RB: The title came from a drawing that I did of an angel kicking the crap out of an astronaut. She was wearing a shirt that read, “God Hates Astronauts.” The title really doesn’t mean anything, I think of it more like a band name. If you like the slightly offensive and nonsensical nature of the title, you will like the book. I think the art and sense of humor have become more focused since the start of the book but the idea of what GHA is has not. GHA was made as a reaction to the seriousness of mainstream comics. I wanted to make a book that was nothing but fun, and a book that would make me laugh while drawing it. Really GHA was just made to make me laugh, the fact that it makes other people laugh is incredibly exciting.

iF: What led you to publish the series as a web serial? What were some of your goals in terms of critical attention, financial success, or artistic growth?

RB: Originally GHA was a self-published book that I gave out to publishers and other artists at shows. After the frustration of losing money on print and the inability to get people to read my book, I launched it as a webcomic. The goal of the webcomic was to get readers. I have never made a dime on the webcomic but I have built a fan base, and that fan base has been awesome enough to buy GHA merchandise and single issues. It has also lead to making friendships with other creators and their support has helped the book grow and lead to the amazing collaborations in the God Hates Astronauts hardcover.

iF: Did it lure in a lot of eyeballs right away? How did you go about finding an audience?

RB: Because of the weirdness of the book a really diehard cult fan base started to grow. It is through that word of mouth that the book found it’s legs. One of the early fans was Chris Burnham, and he used his reach to get the book out there on Twitter. His help was truly essential to the book finding his audience.

iF: Brass tacks. Why do we want this book vs. the online version? It does look bookier. More physical in quality…

RB: Well the online comic is 80 pages. The book is 180 pages. It has all the content from the web, re-lettered and color tweaked, two 24 hour GHA comics I made, a butt-ton of pin-ups from artists like Chris Burnham, Mike Norton, Ryan Stegman, Tom Fowler, Rebekah Isaacs, Andy MacDonald, Ethan Nicolle and others, PLUS it features 18 new 2-page origin stories of the characters from GHA. These origin stories are written by me and drawn by other, better, artists such as Tim Seeley, Riley Rossmo, Tradd Moore, Nick Pitarra, C.P. Wilson III, Hilary Barta, Tom Scioli, Zander Cannon, Jenny Frison and a handful of other amazing artists.

iF: You’ve had success with Kickstarter before. What kind of lessons did you take home?

RB: Have your product finished and ready to go. It was really important to me to have the product finished so that I would have a quick turn around to my backers and so that I could advertise the correct final product. There were a ton of changes to the book during it’s production and if I had launched the Kickstarter a couple of months ago, the book wouldn’t have been what they backers would have received. The backers are the ones that make the book possible so I owe it to them to deliver as soon as possible. People aren’t funding me producing the book, they are funding me printing a finished book and I think the audience responds to that.

iF: What’s next for you?

RB: Currently I am the fill-in artist on “The Manhattan Projects” drawing a couple of issues while Nick Pitarra gets caught up. After that I will be taking over for Riley Rossmo as the full-time artist on “Bedlam” for Image comics. I’m super excited for everyone to see my work on both books and am looking forward to a really fun and productive year of drawing. Self-publishing is great, but it’s super time consuming and I don’t get to sit down and draw nearly as much as I would like. We will see more GHA in the future for sure, but it will be on a hiatus while I work on these other projects.

 

Kickstart it. Just do it.

Comments

  1. I backed this a week or two ago. It’s been fun seeing a lot of the stretch goals being met and knowing backers will get more than they anticipated. The $600 subscription is an absolute steal if you have that kind of money to spare.

  2. I backed this a while ago as well. I didn’t become aware of Ryan until his work on Smoke & Mirrors, which was very awesome. This looks like a ton of fun, and when your peers give you the kind of kudos and support that he has gotten, this has got to be something pretty special.

  3. I pledged to his Blast Furnace Kickstarter last year….definitely going to be getting GHA too! This guy creates some hilarious stuff! Can’t wait to see his work on Manhattan Projects!