Welcome to another edition of Post-Game. As the title suggests, we’re aping a little NFL-inspired post-game coverage for the realm of comics, allowing a slew of creators to come in and examine their work after the fact. Through this rare instance of hindsight, we can all gain a better appreciation for our favorite stories and series and better grasp the truly nuanced creative process. And unlike with football, we promise no (excessively) wacky graphics or needlessly bulky suits.
For more from the series, check out more entries here.
Creative Team: Written by Stuart Moore, art by June Birgman, inks by Roy Richardson, coloring by Veronica Gandini, and letterign by Jimmy Betancourt.
Story Arc: Season Two (Issues #1-6)
Original Release Date: February to September 2020
Synopsis: Captain Ginger follows an Earth once the humans have all died off. Cats are left in control, and as they embark on an intergalactic adventure, the heroic Captain Ginger has to keep the cat race alive and hissing. Season two, meanwhile, see the cats following a “mysterious hyperspace signal to the home of their unknown canine ‘cousins.'”
AIPT’s Thoughts: In a 2019 interview with AIPT, writer Stuart Moore described the book as “a beautifully drawn comedy-drama about a starship run by cats. It’s also about the tendency of all Earth creatures, human and otherwise, to sabotage themselves.”
The TPB of season two, Dogworld, will be available November 10.
How do you feel now that this story’s been told? Is there a sense of relief, or are there any uneasy feelings? Was its creation/development a “good” experience overall?
This is going to sound sappy, but working with June Brigman is always a good experience. She always gets what I’m going for, and she adds clever bits of business all around the edges of the panels, too. Roy and Veronica and the Comicraft guys too…it’s just an amazing team.
Are you the type of artist/writer to go back and think about what worked or didn’t with a story or the overall volume? Is that process helpful at all?
I don’t want to sound dull or unreflective, but I tend to move forward and I usually have my mind on the next story rather than the last one. It’s always fascinating, though, to see the reactions when something you’ve been working on for a long time finally comes out.
How do you think the overall storyline or larger aesthetic/visual identity played out now that you’re looking at it as a wholly completed project? Has that shifted at all?
The biggest challenge of this story was the sheer number of characters. I deliberately started off slow; the first two chapters focus mostly on our “regular” cat cast. But I’m embarrassed to admit I didn’t really think through how crowded things would get after the dogs took center stage. The last two chapters were very tricky to write…there was one character (Ramscoop, the engineer) whose story changed three or four times in the process.
The visual identity of this series was pretty much set in the first “season,” and that was mostly June. She knows cats better than anyone alive. She was VERY helpful in this book with the dogs, because I’ve never owned one.
A few little things shifted. The characters we thought of as the “feral” cats, who live in the ducts and corners of the starship, wound up a little less ragged and more evolved than we originally thought. That worked out nicely, though, and I love the part they play in the final chapter.
What kind of feedback have you received? Has any of that helped shape some of your thoughts on the larger series/story?
I wrote all the scripts a while ago, so reader feedback hasn’t affected the story much.
What, if anything, surprised you about how the story or visual narrative plays out in hindsight? Is there some reaction or emotion now associated with the series that you might not have felt during the actual creative process?
For various reasons, I changed the ending around significantly, fairly late in the process. The original ending was much more open-ended and dove headlong into some mysteries that…well, let’s just say we’re better off leaving them for a possible third series. The rewritten ending is actually two pages shorter, but I think it’s got more emotional punch. I like it a lot better.
Now that it’s finished, how would you describe the series/story to someone (what’s your best elevator pitch)? Did that change at all from before publication?
The first season, collected as Survival Instinct, is about a young feline commander trying to literally herd a crew of cats into a unit that can survive in a hostile universe. This second book, Dogworld, shows what happens when he fails utterly, and his crew must reach out to people (dogs) who may or may not want to help them.
Did you have any goals going into the project? Did you “complete” those in some way?
I wanted to expand the scope of the series, and show a clash of cultures that played off the real differences between cats and dogs in a way that had something to say about people, too. Also, I wanted a big spaceship crash. I love spaceship crashes—I wrote about that in one of the text pages.
Is there anything you might do differently in writing/illustrating/coloring/etc.? Some things you wish had played out differently?
Part of me thinks I should have brought the dogs onstage sooner. But I like the slow build, and I particularly like the moments early on with Captain Ginger himself, where he unwittingly sets everything in motion.
Inversely, what do you think are the highlights of the story? What are the points in which you excelled as you’re looking at the whole project from a distance?
I’m particularly glad we were able to slow the story down a little for the big emotional moment in Chapter Four. In the outline, that looked like the part that could be cut out if necessary—but it would have been a big mistake. I’m very grateful that AHOY gave me the space to tell the story right.
Do you have any final thoughts or observations on the story/series?
I’m very very proud of this book. If people like cats or dogs or spaceship crashes or impossible life-or-death decisions, I think they’ll enjoy it.