The rumors are true. The 3D Cowboy is dead; Long live the 3D Cowboy. For issue 7, Ryan Browne has fired his boisterous narrator sidekick and replaced him with hit comic book writer, Charles Soule. It is a time of great mourning for 3D Cowboy fans all over. The story picks up with a flashback to four years ago, expertly set up by professional narrator Charles Soule. We are reminded what the team used to be like, and what Star Fighter was like back in the day, before the ghost cow head, when all he wanted was a bunch of vintage shirts with dick jokes on them. Then, we jump back to the end of last issue, with Starlina being kidnapped by the Super Gentendians. Starrior decides to take the fight to them and get her baby back, so Time Giraffe helps out with some slick new duds and a time chair.
I really feel like it doesn’t do me much good to summarize each issue of God Hates Astronauts as it comes out. On the one hand, I never have any idea where Browne is going to go next with the story--each new development feels organic to the world, but it’s constantly a surprise because it’s in the world without rules (in a good way). On the other hand, I’m not sure summarizing it is the best way to tell you this is a book you need to be reading. Short of just picking panels at random with things like pigs dressed up as French/Japanese Samurai (The Hamurai), or a rampaging Crabrilla (exactly what it sounds like), the Kirby-ish splash page about the history of the Neo Geode and the upgrade from the Master System, or the pointed “how’s a girl supposed to fight in duds like this” commentary from this issue’s splash page, all I can do is try and logline it.
This book is what Deadpool’s books should be and should have been from the start; it’s barely contained absurdism with an author who knows you’re in on the joke, and can go meta whenever he likes. In this issue alone, there’s a metanarrative about the narrator of the book being replaced by a real person, and the backup features where characters are drinking Phrutopia Mangoberry shakes plays into the storyline of the quotes on the back of the issue about the disgraced CEO of Snopple masquerading as the newly-disgraced CEO of Phrutopia.
There are always at least three levels of storytelling going on in God Hates Astronauts, and in today’s comics climate, we’re usually lucky to get two solid levels.
Also, speaking to the backups in this book, like the Impossible’s story and Chillin’ with Craymok and Texas Gnarled in Ghost Town: I wish I had multiple copies of each issue of this book so I could cut those out and make them into their own little booklets at the end of each arc (and make me wish I felt okay about cutting up books). They work extremely well where they’re placed (for example, the Impossible’s story from the first arc ended up being the lead-in to the main plot of this arc), but they’re hilarious on their own, and I just want to see them lined up for my own amusement.
There’s nothing I can say about this book to make you pick it up that I haven’t already. It’s the closest we have on the shelves to the spirit of the comix of the 70s, where you could do, draw, say anything and publish it. God Hates Astronauts should be the most confusing comic on the shelves, judging by my summaries (and in fairness, sometimes it is), but it is one of the most truly original stories out there, and I hope it runs longer than The Walking Dead.
God Hates Astronauts #7 Writer/Artist: Ryan Browne Colors: Jordan Boyd Letterers: Chris Crank & Ryan Browne Guest Artists: Andrew Maclean, Brad McGinty and Jordan Boyd Publisher: Image Comics Price: $3.50 Release Date: 4/1/15 Format: Ongoing; Print/Digital