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Home / Interviews / “I’m Eating A Triscuit”: Another Interview With Ryan Browne

“I’m Eating A Triscuit”: Another Interview With Ryan Browne

Blast Furnace! Ryan Browne! Kickstarter! Triscuits! We did an interviewamabob!


Rob Purple: So first things first. Thanks for taking time to do this.
Ryan Browne: Yeah, sure. Thanks for having me.
RP: Yeah, of course. God Hates Astronauts, has finally come to an end.
RB: Yeah.
RP: And you’re starting up your new Kickstarter for Blast Furnace. So whichever one you want to start with works for me.
RB: Whatever you want to talk about. God Hates Astronauts ended sooner then I wanted it to. That’s Image, so instead of going through all of the slow process of getting books approved and published I just decided to go back to Kickstarter so I could just do it all myself at my own speed. So that’s where I am. That’s why I’m back.
RP: Let’s start with God Hates Astronauts then.
RB: Sure.
RP: The ending, how far ahead was that planned?
RB: I planned that at about issue six maybe. That’s where the writing started beyond the wall that I wasn’t going to get– it was going to be a stretch to get the ten issues just because of the sales. So I didn’t want to do that for a while [laughter]. And I basically had to be realistic when I started because I had stuff planned out to go in. I want to go at least 15 issues and all of the characters from Super Nintendo over all supposed to be actual characters and I was going to follow all that story. And that basically just got cut out of the book. So I’ve been planning that for a while, I guess. The one thing that I was never really too sure of is what the fate of Charles Soule should have been. Whether he was kidnapped, or murdered, so I just went for it at the very end.
RP: Got you. All right, so you have the trade paperback coming out for that, too, right?
RB: Yeah. There was some sort of snafu at Image and they didn’t solicit it correctly. It should be out now, but it’s not coming out until December. Which is a real bummer. A pretty significant snafu on their part. What can you do? But it’ll be out in December or you could get all five of the second story arc issues at our store.
RP: So, would you say, there’s ever going to be a future passed down for God Hates Astronauts. Do you think it’s ever something you’re going to come back to?
RB: Yeah, I definitely think so. My hope is that the trades continue to sell, so that I can really have a built up audience so that when I can come back it can hit strong again. So I would love to do another round of God Hates Astronauts, absolutely. I’d hate to have to wait a while, but I might have to wait a while and do other things just to build up my audience a little bit. So, we’ll see. I definitely left it open-ended on purpose. It originally was supposed to be ten issues and then there is going to be a 3D cowboy special, and then there is going to be another ten issues. That’s what I wanted to do. So now I think if I do come back, I might do some sort of 3D cowboy– get 3D cowboy out of jail charity special or something [laughter].
RP: So, moving on from that we have the new Blast Furnace Kickstarter that got funded very quickly.
RB: Yeah, that was surprising.
RP: So, going in to that, just give an overview of what Blast Furnace is for people that might have just followed God Hates Astronauts.
RB: Blast Furnace is an improv comic. It’s a series that I’ve been doing for quite a while and I set these guidelines for myself where I can only spend an hour on each page so I have a blank piece of paper and an hour later I have a written pencil-ink finished page of comic. But I don’t have a script and I don’t let myself plan too far ahead and I just try to live in the moment of the page. So that the stories are very strange and change direction a lot and have a weirdness in them, but the fact that I have 280 pages in this book means that I can try a bunch of interesting different things with storytelling. It’s really unfiltered, unoverly crafted comic book for me, so it’s like when you see God Hates Astronauts so much that it stops because you really planned out and refined, and then when you see Blast Furnace it’s just “let’s see if this works”. So it’s like a different tone to it and Blast Furnace isn’t a superhero book where has God Hates Astronauts has super heroes in sci-fi like stuff. Blast Furnace lives more within the realm of crime stories with owls and whales and stuff [chuckles]. The pitch of the book is the way it’s created, instead of being like– it is about a guy who is a recreational thief, but he is just kind of the format that we start following him and through his adventures we encounter all these other characters, and then it goes further and further down the rabbit hole, exploring all the different avenues of these new characters that he interacts with and he meets. So Blast Furnace is like a vessel for the story to keep moving.
RP: Got it. So how did this idea start? When were you like, “I’m going to do a comic full of a bunch of random stories sort of thing.”?
RB: I started it in 2012, and I had gotten a job working on a book called Smoke and Mirrors for R D W. And that book was very interesting and good but it wasn’t silly and it wasn’t like visually overly imaginative. So I started to get my silly comic fix. I started doing Blast Furnace and I really like doing 24-hour comics which is when you do a comic 24-page comic in 24 hours   with no planning. So I basically took that principle and stretched it out over– originally I was doing it a page a day for five days a week. Then I got to [inaudible] the jokes and try ideas I had. When I didn’t have to. If do a page of Gods Hates Astronouts start to finish maybe it’s 10 to 12 hours once it’s finished being lettered and colored. Whereas Blast Furnace in 10 to 12 hours I would have 10 to 12 pages of story. The drawings aren’t as good, but what’s important to me is that the craft of it is in the story telling and not in the impressive visuals. So you can tell what’s happening very clearly. You can tell the characters out very clearly, and thus you can still tell really powerful or funny story even if the visuals aren’t fully painted amazingness.
RP: What’s with you in anthropomorphizing(it took me a few tries to get this word out. it means animals do people things.) animals in all of your books, it’s a common theme.
RB: Yeah, of course. I love animals and I love drawing animals. Those are my favorite things to draw. I’m basically just making a battle beasts or ninja turtles the comic on my own kind of filter. I really like drawing animals and then I obviously spend the bulk of my life studying how to draw people, so then I’m just kind of combining elements of both. My work tends to be best when I throw in what I like to draw, which is a lot of animals and a lot of animal-headed people [chuckles]. And I also really like that we all have preconceived notions as to what animals are like, in terms of their attitude and their like level of aggression or if they’re docile or– so an animal head on a person, you already get a certain sort of idea to who that character is, based off of the traits that you would associate to that type of animal.
RP: So your Kickstarter is very unique in it’s — what are they called?  Like their pledge markers, because donations are still going through until is it the 23rd of next month?
RB: Yeah, through September 23rd.
RP: And so if you want to just talk about some of those open ones that are still left for people that might want to still get in.
RB: Of course you can still get the book obviously, or a book with the sketch in it. My cat has kind of an internet following because he’s got a really ridiculous look to his face. So you can get autographed photos of the cat – my cat Simon [chuckles]. I’ve got a few action figures left. I’m working with Man or Monster Studios to make 20 Blast Furnace four-inch action figures, so they’re the size of an original Star Wars figure. So those are really, really cool. And I had some stuff on there, just commissions, a lot of commission stuff. I have a bunch of retailer levels, which I’m going to be trying to push for stores because I feel like if a store was able to sell God Hates Astronauts, they should get some copies of Blast Furnace for their shelves because I feel like they could push those on the people that already buy God Hates Astronauts. If you like God Hates Astronauts, you will like Blast Furnace. It’s basically the same sense of humor, just a– in my mind’s eye, they’re a co-existing universe kind of thing. Just one involves more superhero e-people, and one involves more revolvers and owls, I guess [laughter]. That’s good name for a book [laughter]. I try to make it fun. With the God Hates Astronauts Kickstarter I made it almost too big, so I had 39 levels of backing rewards and those just– organizing all that was really hard. So I’m trying to streamline it. I’ve got a pretty cool t-shirt and original art from the book. So it’s pretty slimmed down, but that’s what I want it to be because I want it to be more about the book and less about the spectacle, I guess.
RP: So besides this, is there anything else that you’re currently thinking about or working on? Or are you strictly on Blast Furnace right now?
RB: The book is getting pretty close to being done, and then I’m doing a short for Dark Horse Presents and a short for Marvel that’s in a book called Secret Wars II. It’s like this comedy anthology that Marvel’s going to be putting out in October, I think. You know, it’s got a cover by Chip Zdarsky and Sergio Aragones is in it, which is really cool. For me to be in the same book with him is pretty exciting. So yes, those are like the main things I’ve got on my plate. I’m hoping that Blast Furnace will continue to do well enough, so that the idea for me returning to Kickstarter is that you get all that money off in this lump sum and then you invest it in the product. But if you have money left over that’s money where I can actually pay myself for all the time I spent on it and then I can live off that money while I’m making the next– if I want to do another volume of God Hates Astronauts or another volume of Blast Furnace. It’s an awesome way with Kickstarter that it’s a pre-order system. And by pre-ordering it, it makes it so that I can survive on  making comics. Unfortunately I live in an industry– work in an industry where the goal is to survive making comics [chuckles]. So yeah.
RP: Right, that is all that I can think of. Do you have anything else to add?
RB: No, that’s pretty good. That’s pretty good. I dig it.
Thanks, Ryan for taking the time!

Everyone go donate to his Kickstarter! NOW!!

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