Creators: Emma Kubert and Rusty Gladd
Inkblot by Emma Kubert and Rusty Gladd is a fantastical romp that doesn’t try to be gritty or serious. Rather, it goes out of its way to be what fantasy stories have always been at heart: fun. With curse words like “Sweet suckleberries!” and “Fairy farts!” how can you go wrong?
First off, Inkblot #1 takes the concept of “saving the cat” to a whole new level. Not only is much of the plot chasing a literal cat through magical portals, the cat is magical itself, appearing out of nowhere and completely unexplained (as though cats need an explanation. They are cats). While the plot of this first issue isn’t winning awards for innovative storytelling, it doesn’t need to. It’s fun, the cat is cute, and the first five pages use some cunning exposition to lend context to a highly magical world that doesn’t always need an explanation.
There are really only a couple characters in this issue, the protagonist, a chronicler who doesn’t reveal her name, and a little black cat that looks more like an inkblot than a coincidence. The protagonist is intriguing enough, as she’s the sister of a conquering family that has dominated the many realms of existence, and the cat is cut, because who doesn’t like cats? As someone who owns a black cat, I’m definitely partial.
The art is as whimsical as the content in this comic. The scrolling narrative captions look like authentic script and parchment, the environments of the world are vivid and immersive, and the lore backs all of this up. While the cat already receives mention, the cuteness of the mysterious animal deserves attention, since it’s the focal point of the issue. The color palette of this comic is also of note. While many of the environments seem pastel in tone, there are simply a ton of colors on offer in this comic. This adds to the whimsical feel. The paneling also uses clever overlays and verticle formats at times to keep action scenes flowing.
If there is one gripe I have with this #1, it’s the lack of meaningful dialogue. The protagonist only speaks to the cat and despite the magic that is pervasive in the world, the cat cannot speak back. Which is cute, but doesn’t lend itself to interesting conversations. In the end, the protagonist talks to herself a lot. This seems unrealistic. However, given that she is a chronicler and spends most of her time alone, perhaps there is a reason for this characteristic.
A solid first chapter that is as fun as it is weird. The cat, itself is worth the time you'll spend on this comic.