Captain Ginger from Ahoy Comics: Stuart Moore (Writer), June Brigman (Art), Roy Richardson (Inks), Veronica Gandini (Colors), and Richard Starkings/Comicraft's Jimmy Betancourt (Letters)
Out now in trade paperback format, collecting the first four issues of this near-purrrfect series, Captain Ginger is not only a delight to read, it's something incredible and inventive. Using cats as protagonists... sounds familiar. But this isn't a big Broadway production using T.S. Eliot poems; it's fast-paced, moving storytelling with eye-popping visuals that tells the story of cats on a spaceship. The premise sounds almost as weird as felines dancing and singing poetry on stage (for, like, 20 years), but it has such deeper meaning.
Captain Ginger tells the story of a crew aboard a spaceship left to them by those referred to as "feeders." This crew is not ordinary by any means. No, they're walking-on-two-legs, talking-in-full-sentences-with-deep-complex thoughts, and emotion-filled felines. Our main characters are Captain Ginger, Ramscoop, Science Cat, Sargent Mittens, and other peripheral but important characters like Ecru, Deena, and Captain Ginger's mother. Piloting through the open space way, Captain Ginger has just taken his post (18 months prior) and this crew of hyper-intelligent beings aboard with him have been together for not much longer (cat-lives play a large part in that time-jump.) The crew faces its deadly foe, the Lumens, who we learn destroyed the "feeders" and are now after this new sentient, evolved life aboard the ship. Although aware, intelligent, resourceful, and almost-human-like, these cats retain their basic instincts, perhaps making them more adept at survival than their human predecessors (hint hint.) The ship is full of adorable kittens-turned engineers, feral cats along for the ride, and teams that do everything from fight to shoveling litter boxes. And just like humans, these cats have all facets of emotion, making for great dynamic of complex relationships.
Stuart Moore has done something brilliant here: taken a crazy idea and turned it into something almost genius. The emotional complexity of these fuzzy critters allows the reader to feel for them, to care about them, and to wish them success. For all four issues (luckily there are a couple backup stories) I found myself turning the page, wanting more, all the while staying in the moment. I cared, and still care about these cats. Brigman's art is phenomenal, coupled with brilliant inking and colors by Richardson and Gandini. It pops off the page, bleeding over from one panel to the next; the tones and hues not too bright and not too dark, finding a happy medium everywhere from the captain's bridge to deep space. The lettering is a fine style, allowing the reader to go through the fast-paced action at the same speed at which it is taking place.
I don't think I've read anything quite like Captain Ginger, and I don't think I want to. It's perfect in its own right, and doesn't need an imitation. It surely has inspiration from which it draws, but its unique blend of humor — cats as intelligent beings retaining their cuteness — and its seriousness — cats as intelligent beings who have emotions and are just as intriguing as humans — makes for one of the best reads of the year. This is a must-read for any comic fan, and I urge you to pick up this trade, and then put this series on your pull list.