June Brigman launches a new series this October with Ahoy Comics' Captain Ginger, but her 1980s Marvel creation Power Pack (with Louise Simonson) has shown itself to have nine lives in the hearts of fans.
Newsarama caught up with Brigman to talk about Captain Ginger as well as the daily Mary Worth strip she draws. Along the way we look at her time teaching comics, balancing all her work, and yes, we talk about Power Pack.
Newsarama: Let's start this off easy - what are you working on today? What's on your drawing board?
June Brigman: Old ladies and cats in space. Or in other words, Mary Worth and Captain Ginger.
Nrama: You recently finished up a stint teaching at the Savannah College of Art & Design, and before that you taught at the Kubert School. What do you like about teaching comics at the college level, and could you see yourself doing more of it in the future?
Brigman: The cool thing about teaching college students is that they want to learn. Nobody's forcing them to go to school. And we all share a love of comics. It's really more like we're all just artists, instead of you're the student and I'm the teacher. I'm sure I'll teach again someday. Maybe I'll even start my own school.
Nrama: We spoke with you earlier about Captain Ginger (which debuts this October), but you're also continuing on King's Mary Worth daily strip. How is that going, now that you're several years into it?
Brigman: Oy! Drawing a comic strip is like getting married. It's a long-term commitment. And after the honeymoon's over, the trick is to not get bored. Sorry, Roy, I got carried away with that analogy. (Roy is my husband and inker on Mary Worth and Captain Ginger). It's not easy following in the footsteps of a legend like Joe Giella. But like Joe said, you get to know and care about the characters. And every few months, we start a new story arc with some new characters. So that keeps the marriage interesting.
Nrama: I can't help but ask about Power Pack and your work with Louise Simonson. What do you think about that work decades later?
Brigman: The older I get, the more special Power Pack becomes. Meeting Weezie was serendipity. She gave me my big break, and I'll always be grateful for that. I was so young and inexperienced. There's some very funky drawing, especially in the early issues. But there's also a lot of charm and heart. I'm still proud of the work we did.
Nrama: Would you be up to doing more Power Pack for Marvel should the opportunity present itself?
Brigman: Are you kidding? Absolutely!
Nrama: And Louise is still active - do you two still talk, and if so, what do you think of the possibility of you two working together again?
Brigman: Sure, we still talk. We have shared custody of the kids. I'm sure we'll work together again someday. It'll be like a family reunion!
Nrama: So where do you see yourself in 2018 in the comics industry? Not just the direct market, not just newspaper strips or education, but as a whole?
Brigman: It's weird, but I think I'm becoming kind of a grand dame of comics. Guess I'm getting to that age. And that's ok.
Nrama: Do you have ambitions in comics you haven't yet attained yet? Can you speak about them?
Brigman: Oh, I don't know. I think I just want to keep doing what I'm doing. I want to keep drawing cool stories, and maybe do more covers. I'd like to be a painter when I grow up. I'd like to experiment with more traditional mediums and do covers that make people say, "June Brigman? Really? She did that?"