3-D Cowboy’s 2-D Spectacular! – Ryan Browne

2 out of 5

I would gladly Kickstarter this hardcover again, even though… it’s not that great.  I love Ryan Browne; I love his endless enthusiasm in his work and the wildness of it, and others clearly do also, as he was able to gather a small handful of notable super-indies (Chris Burnham, Greg Smallwood, Zander Cannon, and more) to illustrate several short God Hates Astronauts-adjacent tales all scripted by Browne.  But it’s possible that that same zest he puts into his solo GHA works encouraged him to give each one of his guests the all-star treatment, resulting in quite a bit of overkill.  And if you’re familiar with Mr. Browne’s stuff, adding overkill to it is… likely too much.

And the so the balance of crassness and innocence achieved in the previous GHA books is off-kiltered by, more often than that, too much crassness, too frequent ‘splosions and punches, and a lack of the loose plotting that made the book stand out above a random-for-random-sake style comic.  There are definitely bits and pieces that hit the humor nail right on the head, but they are generally followed directly by something that doesn’t work too well, whether it’s unfunny over-swearing or just taking that particular strip to an XTREME.

The all-star roster uniformly rocks, and I don’t doubt this was fun to put together.  Ryan’s fore- and afterword extras are fantastic, and the book’s design is quirky and wonderful.  The pitch of 3D ghost’s son visiting him in prison and, doubting daddy’s narrational prowess, being treated to the contained shorts, is solid, but son’s teen-talk interjections are one of the more annoying elements, which comes to a peak when he narrates his own tale at the end.  In GHA, there’s a better balance between obnoxious characters and more tolerable ones, but, again, everything here is over the top, which makes it hard to get yer bearings.