Captain Ginger Volume 1
Comicraft’s Jimmy Betancroft (Letters), June Brigman (Artist), Veronica Gandini (Colours), Scott Moore (Writer), Roy Richardson (Artist), Richard Starkings (Letters)
18 June, 2019
In an apocalyptic future, humans are extinct, and only a small spaceship of cats roams the galaxy, desperately clinging to dwindling supplies and trying to escape a fierce warrior race of aliens known as the Lumen. Led by Captain Ginger, the spaceship Indomitable can barely keep itself together, but when Science Cat intercepts a signal, the crew has hope that they may not be alone.
Captain Ginger is a book about space and cats, two things I absolutely adore, so it wasn’t a surprise that I snapped up this book the moment it was available for review. There are tons of tiny little kittens in this book that made me squeal—mostly internally—with delight. It took all my resolve not to reach through the screen to pet the precious little munchkins.
As an opening volume, Captain Ginger sets up some complex relationships that form the crux of the story’s conflict. We learn that Captain Ginger wasn’t always the loud and proud group leader. His overbearing and intimidating mother made his childhood hell, and the absence of his father weighs on him, an unsolvable mystery with no end in sight. The chief Mousing Officer (a kind of Chief of Security) Sergeant Mittens is brilliant at his job, but also a rabble-rouser who takes the first opportunity he finds to mutiny against Captain Ginger.
As the story progresses, we understand why it is that Mittens and Ginger have such a long-lasting feud—they both had difficult childhoods, courtesy of their parents, and Mittens clearly didn’t deal with it as well as Ginger did. Mittens may come across as a grizzled, angry vet, but under the surface, he is a scared kitten tormented by the demon that was his father.
There are a number of other characters, including the sweet and hard-working Ramscoop, who’s almost constantly birthing massive litters of kittens. There’s Science Cat (the Science Officer), who has an illness that nobody can determine. Then there’s the mysterious Ecru, who works with the maker’s AI. Ecru seems to be living in a world of her own and her connection to the AI is hinted at being deeper than the rest of the crew realise. But how much does Ecru know about what’s happening around her?
There are a number of questions that are still left unanswered at the end of this first volume of Captain Ginger, which made it feel incomplete to me. For instance, it seems that Captain Ginger is speaking to someone in the narrative bubbles, but we still don’t know who it is. This is an odd thing to leave hanging at the end of the first book.
In addition, the mystery of the humans—or feeders, as they are called in Captain Ginger—is also handled halfheartedly. There is mention of the humans having left tech for the cats, and clearly the humans of this series had evolved enough to experiment with genetic mutation. But what was their purpose and why are they only now playing their hand through Ecru?
We are also left wondering about the Lumen, who appear as a major threat in the opening issue before all but disappearing for the rest of the book, no more than a looming threat that never arise. Who are they and what do they want? I found it a bit strange to begin the story with such a strong focus on the Lumen, only for it to lack follow through. I would have liked to see more of these aliens who purportedly wiped out the humans.
Despite my extensive list of questions, I enjoyed living in the universe of Captain Ginger. The characters are fascinating, and the world itself is so unusual and intriguing. For anyone who loves cats, there are a host of cat-related Easter eggs that will have you nodding at the screen because yes, that’s exactly what cats do.
The art is magnificent. I loved how artist and co-creator June Brigman differentiates every cat from each other, infusing them with distinct personalities and their very own on-page presence. The interiors of the ship and the exteriors of space are beautifully rendered. Brigman puts in so much detail in every single panel—it is clear that she loves this universe and has mapped it all out in her head.
This is a book that fans of science fiction will enjoy, but which cat-lovers will adore. With its plethora of adorable kittens and interesting cat characters, alongside a strong story and incredible world-building, Captain Ginger is a treat to read. I only hope that upcoming volumes expand on what we have seen in this book and answer my many questions because I want to know so much more about this universe.