A veritable chestnut of Kickstarter is the collection of self published/webcomics with additional content. In that way, and in only that way, “God Hates Astronauts: The Completely Complete Collection” is not unique. However, in terms of content, laughs, and just about any other metric you can use to gauge something’s value, this book is absolutely one of a kind. This series is the brainchild of Ryan Browne, of Blast Furnace fame, and he both writes and draws the book.
The Kickstarter edition is the “Completely Complete” edition, full of the series original issues (serialized online for free at godhatesastronauts.com) and a ton of extras. For $30 and higher, you get the book, as well as lots of other goodies (like a “theme song” by the band Murder By Death for any pledge level).
This is the story of Power Person Five, a government funded superhero team, only distorted through a fun house mirror of hilarity. This is a world of magical mustaches, hilarious sound effects (FUCKED!), entire boxes of magical star rings, inflating (and deflating, and ghost cow) heads, tigers eating cheeseburgers, and more.
Ostensibly, the main plot line is about Star Fighter and his head which was beaten to a pulp and inflated to comical proportions, which leads to a rift in his marriage with Starrior. All the action that follows, more or less, comes from him trying to win her back, or her trying to divorce him.
Of course, that doesn’t mean that the action is anything other than insane. Supporting characters like the Anti-Mugger (dedicated to ending mugging forever), The Impossible (able to do the impossible), Gnarled, nee Carl, Winslow (yup, the dad from “Family Matters”), and a team of owl terrorists make every page interesting and funny.
Did I mention that this is funny? Because it is insanely funny. There are a ton of pop culture references that are hidden throughout that you may miss on first reading, but when you catch them, they hit you like a ton of bricks. The world is so well developed and has such a consistently original tone that you buy into the fact that anything can happen, and so when Judge Buffalo William (an actual buffalo) shows up, you take it in stride.
But above all, this book just looks gorgeous. Browne’s art is detailed and cinematic, without an ounce of pretention to be found. Each character looks like he or she was plucked out of the “real” world, put through a makeover by an insane four year old, and dropped into the comic. I mean this in the most complementary way possible.
The story itself is 80 pages, but then you get over 100 pages of extras and other goodies, including origin stories for just about every character, illustrated by the likes of Tom Scioli, Tradd Moore, Nick Pitarra, and many others. There are also two 24 hour comics in here by Browne, improvised one page an hour, over a 24 hour period. Plus, pinups galore and some beautiful packaging.
The good news, is that less than 30 hours later, the project is already funded! Browne is doing a bunch of stretch goals, yet to be announced, to incentivize people to contribute. Do yourself a favor and grab one of these (and, like me, a Gnarled Winslow t-shirt) here.
EDIT: My good friend and Multiversity cohort David Harper wrote about this for our “Off the Cape” series 18 months ago, proving a) he’s cooler than me and b) he’s probably cooler than you, too.