Olly MacNamee: Now, I’ve heard of apes ruling the world and even pigs in space, but cosmos capering cats? That’s a new one on me. Why cats in space?
Stuart Moore: The short answer is that we all love cats and we all love space-travel stories. Throwing them together makes the story twice as awesome. It’s just math!
Beyond that, there’s a particular challenge for cats—who are notoriously stubborn, individualistic creatures—in working together to run a spaceship that was built for another species entirely. The tech isn’t made for them—it was built for humans—but more important, it’s taken the cats a couple of generations just to stop fighting over who should be in charge and what’s the difference between a “lieutenant” and a “litterbox officer.” (Lieutenant is the better job.)
Olly MacNamee: Seems the whole crew that you’ve assembled on Captain Ginger are animal lovers, with a preference for cats? Is it true that artistic team, June Brigman and Roy Richardson have ten cats? Hell, I hear even Richard Starkings has recently adopted a stray kitten into his new home, too!
SM: I can neither confirm nor deny the actual cat population among our creative team, but you’re definitely in the ballpark. June, in particular, has added immensely to the story because she kept drawing more and more cats…little kittens scurrying around, cats fighting or nuzzling in the backgrounds. Without her, we wouldn’t have so much of the BIG cats, who are intelligent and walk on two legs, nuzzling and working with LITTLE cats. Which is probably the most fun thing about the whole series.
OM: While your feline fellows seemed to have taken up where the ‘feeders’ left off, isn’t there something less than cute about cats? I mean, our cat, Smokey, a tortoise shell, rules our home. Aren’t they already planning our downfall, but with all that napping, they’re behind schedule?
SM: Yeah, they might plot your downfall for a minute or two, but they’re pretty easily distracted by food or bright lights. Different cats also have very distinct personalities, just like people. In our story, Captain Ginger is a relatively calm sort of character, who worries a lot about his crew. Sergeant Mittens is much more of a brawler, the kind of tabby who sees a mouse out of the corner of his eye and springs to attention.
Cats are also very competitive with each other. That’s an important part of the first issue in particular. It was a big step when they agreed to make Ginger the captain, and to follow his orders.
OM: The first issue certainly lays the ground for future adventures and mysteries in space. We are immediately introduced to the Lumen. What can you tell us about these strange space-faring beings?
SM: Most of it is there on the page. Without giving too much away, the Lumen are the reason the cats are on their own in a ship they never made. They’re immensely powerful, xenophobic aliens that are aesthetically offended by creatures from Earth. The cats are all that’s left (as far as we know), so the Lumen are determined to wipe them out.
The Lumen are patient, too. Some of their plans will only become obvious in time.
OM: As for Captain Ginger and his crew, it would seem that they have evolved as a species pretty quickly, yet they can’t seem to build technology, taking up the ‘feeders’ technologies, such as space ships, as their own. Could this be something of a hindrance for them down the line?
SM: It’s a hindrance for them already. Some of their problems involve the physical controls on the ship; because the cats don’t have opposable thumbs, they’ve had to design “cozies”—little cloth coverings—to fit over levers that were designed for humans. In a battle situation, claws come out and the cozies tend to get shredded pretty fast. That was a visual idea, incidentally, that I wasn’t sure would work on the page, but June made it clear, dramatic, and funny, as she does with everything.
The cats also THINK differently. We humans might design a particle beam weapon like a handgun, with a single pinpoint targeting mechanism. The cats naturally tend toward, er, spraying things in a wider arc. So they use some of the tech in unfamiliar, hopefully interesting ways.
OM: In issue #1, we immediately have conflict amongst the crew. I take it this isn’t going to be all plain sailing moving forward, Stuart?
SM: Hey, humans can barely follow orders without trading punches. Do you think it’s going to be easier for cats?
There will be a variety of problems facing the crew, yes. Power struggles, deadly enemies, malfunctioning equipment, and just plain catfights. Plus, the occasional kitten wandering dangerously close to the atomic pile.
OM: Finally then, Captain Ginger #1 isn’t the silly comedic anamorphic antics one would expect – although it certainly has comedic moments – so what can we expect form this title in future months?
SM: The first “season,” which runs four issues, takes us through a crisis aboard ship. Should they stay there, or move on to a planet or space station? How many cats can a starship support, anyway? And can Ginger and Mittens perform a dangerous away mission without clawing each other to furry ribbons?
I should mention, also, that the first issue features a full 35 pages of story, plus back features. AHOY has really given us the room to launch this series right.
Captain Ginger #1, by Stuart Moore and June Brigman is out this Wednesday, the 17th of October from AHOY Comics.