US publisher Ahoy Comics have just released Captain Ginger – Survival Instinct, collection of their Captain Ginger title, an SF series set in the future where cats have inherited the Earth, brought to you by Deadpool the Duck writer Stuart Moore with stunning art from Power Pack‘s June Brigman, inked by Roy Richardson and coloured by Veronica Gandini.
When the human race died out, the cats inherited the Earth! Or at least one starship. Now the intrepid Captain Ginger struggles to keep his fellow felines united against a hostile universe. But there’s a rival for Ginger’s authority: his second-in-command, the savage Sergeant Mittens!
AHOY Comics launched last year, looking to shake up the publishing industry with a bold new format for the US marketplace: comic book magazines, the brainchild of Publisher Hart Seely, an award-winning reporter whose humour and satire has appeared in The New York Times and on National Public Radio. Working with two founding editors of DC Comics’ Vertigo imprint, Tom Peyer and Stuart Moore and Chief Creative Officer Frank Cammuso, their comic book magazines feature traditional, full length comic book stories ― by Peyer (Hourman) and Moore (Deadpool the Duck) and top talents including Jamal Igle (Black), Mark Russell (Flintstones), Ann Nocenti (The Seeds).
The strips are accompanied by extra material, including prose fiction by writer Grant Morrison (Happy!), cartoons by Shannon Wheeler (God is Disappointed In You), poems by Hart Seely (Bard of the Deal: The Poetry of Donald Trump) and traditional comic book back up stories.
Captain Ginger author Stuart Moore is a writer, a book editor, and an award-winning comics editor whose recent comics writing includes Deadpool the Duck(Marvel), Batman: Noir Alley (DC/Turner Classic Movies), and EGOs (Image). Recent novels include three volumes of The Zodiac Legacy, a Disney series created and cowritten by Stan Lee, and Thanos: Death Sentence (Marvel).
“I created Captain Ginger for June Brigman, the artist,” Stuart said of the project last year. “She and I were working on a comic called THE 99. We had a scene that was supposed to be in a cat sanctuary, and June just drew cats everywhere – in every corner of the panel, fighting each other, climbing on things, climbing on people. I looked at that and I thought, ‘There must be something we can do here. I love cats, and I love outer space’, so it just kind of grew from there. June loved the idea, and we spent a few years just playing around with it, until AHOY came along.”
“I’m an animal person. If I had my way, I’d have about 10 acres with a little barn, and cats, and dogs, and pigs, and horses, and donkeys, and maybe a few little goats,” says June Brigman, who’s enjoyed a long and varied career as an artist, drawing such comic book titles as Alpha Flight, Supergirl and Star Wars, “… But I’d never get any work done. I’d spend all my time taking care of the menagerie. Critters take a lot of care.”
They might take work in real life but at least cats, June feels, are easier to draw than humans. “They’re pretty anthropomorphic,” she concedes, “but I wanted to keep them as catlike as possible. It’s not as exacting as drawing people, although I still think things like, ‘This cat’s ears should be bigger’ or ‘This cat’s nose needs to be shorter.’ My style is a little freer, more expressive, with the cats.”
Alongside Captain Ginger, June is also the co-creator (with Louise Simonson) of the Power Pack series from Marvel Comics, which recently celebrated its 30th anniversary. Assisted by her husband inker/colourist Roy Richardson, she illustrated the Brenda Starr newspaper strip for 15 years, and has drawn many educational comics, as well as doing freelance illustrations for Horse & Rider magazine. The pair took over the artistic reins of the long-running Mary Worth strip, which had mixed reactions from longtime fans.
“Not so much from letters, but on the website, Comics Kingdom,” she says. “When I took it over, there was a lot of hate. The fans live with an artist for so long. I mean, Ramona Fradon drew Brenda for, I think, 15 years, and then Joe Giella was on Mary Worth for something like 27 years… I don’t draw like Ramona Fradon. I don’t draw like Joe Giella. I had my own vision of what Mary Worth would look like. She was still recognisable, but a little more updated, and the fans hated it, for a while. Eventually, they accepted my style.”
Fan reaction to Captain Ginger has been, in contrast, hugely positive.
“…There was a convention here in town, and we had friends for dinner. One was an old and dear friend of ours, Bob McLeod, who helped me a lot when I was starting. If I were to have had a teacher, I would say it was him.
“He said he thought Captain Ginger was the best work of our careers. And I agree.”
• The Captain Ginger collection is available now from comic shops, digital platforms and Amazon (Affiliate Link) – and digitally here on Comixology
• June Brigman teaches part time in the Sequential Art Dept. at the Savannah College of Art and Design, Atlanta branch. Her online portfolio can be seen at www.ArtWanted.com/juneart | Read an interview with June here on the Ahoy Comics web site
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