With a current Kickstarter that reached it’s funding goal in less than 24 hours, an upcoming issue of The Manhattan Projects, and more, Ryan Browne is a busy, busy guy. The creator of Blast Furnace and God Hates Astronauts has been busy with press as well, and in my case, making Twin Peaks jokes. But between reaching stretch goals on Kickstarter and drawing insane things, here’s what Ryan had to say.
Leo: Tell us a bit about yourself, if you would.
Ryan Browne: I attended the Rhode Island School of Design where I majored in Illustration. I have been working as an illustrator and designer for the last five years while working on GHA on the side. My first works in comics were for Devils Due Publishing doing random fill-in issues here and there. Since then I have worked on Smoke and Mirrors for IDW and am currently working as a fill-in artist on The Manhattan Projects and will be taking over as the regular artist on Bedlam.
L: What was it that initially got you interested in comics?
RB: Initially it was a love of art and superheroes. Over time it’s really been the fun of storytelling that I love the most. It’s amazing to me the emotional reactions you can get with just a couple of sequential images.
L: I think you’re likely most well known for your two webcomics, God Hates Astronauts and Blast Furnace. Blast Furnace was started as an experiment in creativity, but what made you decide to tackle GHA as a webcomic to begin with?
RB: When I started doing GHA six years ago, it was as a self-published print version. That model lead me to lose a lot of money and give away a lot of copies that probably are in a landfill somewhere. After a few years of trying the practical route of getting the book out there, it was suggested that I launch it as a web-comic. From there my exposure started to grow and I lost a good deal less money getting people to read my work.
L: Blast Furnace is basically you just sitting down for an hour and making a comic page. How has that been for the creative process?
RB: It was fantastic. Over the six-months of Blast Furnace I became a much better storyteller and a much more confident inker. It was a huge period of growth for me as an artist and comic maker.
RB: Honestly I was going to publish both of these books one way or another. Kickstarter gives me a way to not have to front the money and to have it find an audience through this sort of pre-order process. It’s a great way to judge the demand before I decide how many books to actually print.
L: Have you been surprised by the support your projects have received both when they began posting online and during your Kickstarter campaigns?
RB: Of course! I was shocked by the success of both due to how hard it was to sell people on the books individually. I think people in general really respond to being involved in making a project happen and Kickstarter is a great way to make that a reality.
L: The GHA Kickstarter boasts some amazing art by a ton of great people. How has it been to not only see how other people draw your characters, but also see the huge amount of support for it from the comic community?
RB: That’s been the best part of the whole process. I don’t know how I got so lucky to work with so many different people and the process of getting everyone involved was just superb! Nothings better than writing a script and then have an artist who’s better than me turn in final art! So crazy awesome!
L: Your resume states that you were a guest on the Montel Williams Show. Did this factor into the portrayal of Montel in GHA?
L: You’re doing the art for the tenth issue of The Manhattan Projects, which is a pretty big deal I think. How exactly did that opportunity come about and what’s it been like working on that book?
RB: The book has been fantastic to work on. Nick Pitarra has become a good friend in the industry and had originally reached out to me a few years ago when he first saw GHA. When Hickman wanted to get back on track Nick pushed hard for me to get the job so I did a big sample drawing and character sketches for it.
L: What sort of other projects do you have in the works?
RB: I am currently doing issue 15 of Manhattan Projects and after that I will be taking over for Riley Rossmo on Bedlam. So yeah, it’s a super exciting time for me!
L: Finally, where you can be found online, as a way for fans to keep up and interact?
RB: Well the best way to see what I’m working on is to follow me on twitter and instagram under the name @RyanBrowneArt. I post a lot of process stuff as I’m working on my books. I also update the God Hates Astronauts fan page on Facebook frequently and I have a link to my tumblr blog and all of these things at www.GodHatesAstronauts.com