Captain Ginger, the four issue comic book from new publisher Ahoy Comics, combines two of my loves, cats and science fiction. The miniseries is written by Stuart Moore, drawn by June Brigman & Roy Richardson, colored by Veronica Gandini, and lettered by Richard Starkings & Comicraft’s Jimmy Betancourt.
Moore and Brigman had been posting preview images for Captain Ginger on Facebook for over a year before the first issue finally came out, so I was definitely looking forward to it. Certainly it lived up to my expectations.
Captain Ginger is set in the far distant future. The human race has apparently been completely wiped out by a mysterious, aggressive alien race known as the Lumen. One of humanity’s last acts before becoming extinct was to genetically engineer a group of cats to human levels of intelligence. These cats, only a few decades removed from their abrupt artificial evolution, are now fleeing from the Lumen aboard an old, broken-down spaceship, struggling to understand the failing human technology and to reconcile their natural instincts with their newly-enhanced intellects.
Leading this motley group of cosmo-cats is Captain Ginger. As many a human has observed over the centuries, it’s impossible to herd cats, and Ginger finds this out first-hand as he endeavors to save this fiercely-individualistic colony of felines from extinction. Plus, y’know, there’s that whole terrifying “cats now having to scoop out their own litter boxes” thing to deal with! 🙀
Among the crew of the Starship Hiss-Bite-Claw-Sometimes-Fall is the gruff Sergeant Mittens, a one-eyed ship’s gunner, and Ginger’s rival for leadership. Also present is the engineer Ranscoop and her litter of kittens, the hairless Science Cat, the warrior Deena, and the aloof Ecru, the only cat who seems to understand the ship’s mysterious artificial intelligence.
Moore does a fine job developing the personalities of these various cats, and their relationships with one another. He also devises an enthralling story. Captain Ginger was a fun, exciting, humorous miniseries.
I thought that Captain Ginger was actually going to be five issues, so when I got to the end of #3, and the letter column announced the next issue would be the conclusion of the “first season,” I found myself wondering how the heck Moore was going to wrap up this storyline so quickly.
The conclusion in issue #4 involves something of a deus ex machina, or perhaps more precisely a fēlēs ex machina. What saves this from being a left-field plot device is that Moore did lay the groundwork for it in the previous three issues, it only solves some of the cats’ problems (and only in the short term) and they end up feeling ambivalent about the whole thing.
In addition, Moore sets up a plotline that leads into the next Captain Ginger miniseries, which is planned to be six issues long. Hopefully that longer length will enable him to develop both the characters and the storylines more fully. I’m certainly looking forward to it.
As I’ve mentioned in the past, I have been a fan of Brigman’s artwork since I was a kid in the mid 1980s, when she was the penciler on Power Pack. Brigman and her husband Richardson make a great art team, and I am happy to see them collaborating again.
Brigman & Richardson’s artwork for Captain Ginger is wonderful. It’s a very effective balance of serious and cute, of danger and comedy. Brigman’s storytelling is superb, and Richardson does an excellent job inking her work. They do a great job of drawing the various characters, of giving them each a distinctive personality.
It’s not at all surprising that Brigman & Richardson create such engaging artwork. After all, both of them love cats. As of this writing, they share their house with ten cats. As the short interview with Brigman in issue #1 reveals, the characters of Ginger and Mittens are actually based on two cats that she and her husband adopted when they first moved to Atlanta. So, yes, they love cats, and it shows in the artwork.
Captain Ginger has several back-up features, including behind-the-scenes pieces, short text stories, and a very odd “Hashtag: Danger” three part serial by Tom Peyer, Randy Elliot, Andy Troy & Rob Steen. So you definitely get very good value for your dollar with this series.
My own two cats Nettie and Squeaky certainly enjoyed Captain Ginger, as you can see from the above photo. They loved curling up to read it… or maybe just curling up on top of it.
I’m looking forward to the follow-up miniseries by Moore, Brigman & Richardson. Hopefully it will be out soon. In the meantime, if you have not yet already gotten this first mini, it’s definitely worth looking for the issues. Alternately, they’re available digitally from Comixology. A trade paperback is scheduled for release in June. Also keep an eye out for Ahoy Comics’ contribution to Free Comic Book Day 2019, the Dragonfly and Dragonflyman special, which will contain a Captain Ginger back-up story.
You will have to excuse me now. Nettie and Squeaky want to be fed and, well, you don’t want to keep cats waiting, do you? 😺