God Hates Astronauts #4
US: Feb 2015
God hates astronauts.
I can’t say that I understand this. But, then again, I have always found the list of things that God hates to be somewhat inexplicable. And this is coming from someone who, in an earlier life, was a genuine, card-carrying theologian. God seems to hate some pretty loveable and wonderful things. I just don’t get it.
But why astronauts? I’m reminded of Homer Simpson’s misquote of the poem by John Gillespie Magee, the one that used to accompany the sign-on and sign-off signal of a lot of local television stations back in the day when television stations signed-on and -off. I can never remember how the poem really goes, but I can always remember Homer’s version—recited as he prepared to launch Nibbles, the family hamster, into space. “Son,” Homer says to Bart, “we are about to break the surly bonds of gravity and punch the face of God.” Maybe that’s what it is. Maybe every rocket launch is a slap in God’s face. And now, after all these years, he’s finally had enough. Still, it makes no sense to me. But, then again, I guess it doesn’t have to. (Isaiah 55:9!)
In any event, it’s a moot point because God doesn’t even figure in Ryan Browne’s God Hate’s Astronauts. In this story, it’s not God who hate astronauts, but NASA. Now, NASA doesn’t hate just any astronauts, mind you, but astro-farmers, a weird cult-like group of rural folk who, for some reason all wrapped up in their sense of divine purpose, are desperate to get to the moon or, as they call it, the Golden Moon Heaven. It is the job of the stars of this book, Power Persons Five—working under the guidance of NASA—to stop them.
It’s all pretty weird. I don’t know where to begin. Some of the characters are human. Some are anthropomorphic animals. Some are humans with animal heads. In one case, a character is human but with the head of a ghost cow. One character, the narrator, is some sort of 3-D ghost wearing a cowboy hat. His blue and green outline hurts my eyes when I stare at it for too long on my iPad. (Eye Strain!)
Charles Bronson makes a guest appearance in this issue. (Death Wish!) And Carl Winslow, the father figure from that old TV show that was ruined by Steve Urkel, is a recurring character. (Die Hard!) He originally had gorilla arms but now his arms are robotic. He has a major sub-plot in the story involving the ghost of a former lover who is haunting him.
There is also a sub-plot about the trouble of finding a babysitter for a super-powered kid and one about the travails of Anti-Mugger now that he has a third, Hulk-like arm growing out of the center of his chest that seems motivated to do nothing but commit muggings. (Irony!)
And did I mention the bestiality? The guy with the ghost-cow head sometimes gets urges to pursue some barn-yard loving. (This is very upsetting to his wife. Fortunately, Time Giraffe can help.) And the latest story arc began with one of the astro-farmers falling madly in love with a chicken. This is something I haven’t thought about since I last watched Pink Flamingos. (Divine!)
Oh, but the real story is that the Earth is about to be invaded by an interstellar fleet from the Crab Nebula under the command of King Tiger Eating a Cheeseburger, who is, I kid you not, a tiger who is always eating a cheeseburger. (Burger King!)
This second series of God Hate’s Astronauts isn’t quite as disturbingly brilliant as the first, but that’s okay. It is brilliant and disturbing enough. I think it may even be funnier than I think it is. There is something about it that makes me suspect that I am the one at fault when I’m not laughing. Maybe I read too much theology at an early age.
Read God Hate’s Astronauts. Go back to the beginning and read the original run, then read the current run. But don’t let your children read it.
This is some funny stuff, but we probably shouldn’t be laughing about it. I can’t put my finger on it, but it just feels wrong.
And for heaven’s sake don’t let God read it. God would hate God Hate’s Astronauts even more than he hates astronauts.
Trust me. I used to be a theologian.