In a very strange future, depicted in “God Hates Astronauts,” published by Image Comics, there are farmers on Earth hell-bent on violating NASA law and shooting themselves into outer space. Not even a former space warrior with a ghost cow head leading an army of bears will stop them! Incredibly, amazingly, and deliciously, the out of this world surreal humor from Chris Crank’s script has found its match with the artistic wizardry of Ryan Browne, complimented by the design work of Thomas Quinn, and colors by Jordan Boyd.
In this comic, where anything is possible, Crank and Browne manage to work in just about every possible joke at a mesmerizing pace. This whole weird thing truly lifts off the page. It’s your wildest underground comic from the ’60s calibrated to a contemporary sensibility. It’s art school hijinks run through a blender. It’s a new generation’s cry for help. It’s all of these things and much, much, more.
Browne has a great feel for volume and texture. When he draws a tiger eating a cheeseburger, it really looks and feels like a tiger eating a cheeseburger. Good thing since there’s a fair amount of that going on in this here comic. And then there’s all those farmers wanting to be shot into space. One of them fancies himself something of an overlord and even has a chicken hybrid for a girlfriend. But who has a right to question true love, right?
With all the fascination over Grant Morrison daring to break the fourth wall with “The Multiversity,” you can find some sly use of that here. When a horse, for example, gets punched in the face, you have a sound effect that literally spells out, “Horse Punch.” Or, care for a refreshing new way to recap some backstory? Then why not have a doughy little guy, 3-D Cowboy, do the honors? He’d be more than happy to, as long as he’s not interfering with your enjoyment of the story.
The really, really great thing about this comic is that it doesn’t end in just one issue flat. No, this is no “one-shot,” as the comics industry likes to call them. No, this comic lives on to fight, and love, another day. For four more shots in all, to total five complete shots. That should be plenty, for now.