Creators: Emma Kubert & Rusty Glaad
I really wanted to like Inkblot. On the surface it was intriguing, epic tales all held together by an interdimensional travelling cat who is pivotal to key events whilst seemingly not realising it. Such a good setup and yet… yet I unfortunately didn’t enjoy Inkblot as much as I wanted to.
The first issue was fine. There was a lot of exposition but I almost expect that in a book of this nature. The problem is that just as I had a handle on what was going on – a young woman chronicling her sibling’s conquests and explorations who falls asleep and somehow summons a demon-like interdimensionally travelling cat – we just switch to a totally different time and place and a totally different character.
To say I found it jarring is perhaps an understatement. I wonder how a reader reading the singles would fare with this as I really struggled wondering what had happened. I am not even sure why exactly we ended up in such a different place and it took me a long while to find a link other than the cat.
Then in later issues we travel to other dimensions/worlds of the siblings that the young woman from the first issue is chronicling, but it took me a moment to realise. Then in the fourth issue there’s a time jump that completely threw me and again took me ages to get. Although once we had settled into the time jump antics I began to understand it more.
And bear in mind this is with the heaps of narration as exposition!
I dread to think how I would have fared without that exposition because it was confusing. It took me a long time to get a handle on a few of the siblings, but it helped to stick around with a few for a couple of issues so we finally get a chance to start to know them as the jumping about is more limited and is tied to specific times and places.
The cat-demon is the best bit of the book. The cat-demon is basically the connective tissue between the different issues. The cat is recognisably a cat but also has an otherworldliness in the shapes it has and the way there’s just two distinct eyes and no other real features. I mean it is meant to be a demon.
Along with the art of the cat which is really cleverly done there’s some really nice art in the way the different realms are related. Each one has its own distinct feel no doubt helped by the colouring. There are also some really nice details. For example, in the fair scene in issue 2 we see some small gnome like people in the foreground almost hidden by a rock but still with character.
That may seem an oddly specific detail but interestingly that sort of detail was what I enjoyed most about the book.
The art is good though. The different realms are well realised and there’s some really nice little details as previously mentioned.
Unfortunately I wasn’t as engaged as I had hoped to be by Inkblot. I think if we had our main protagonist journeying with the demon cat (or being more proactive with catching it which doesn’t happen until issue #5) instead of giving us random exposition and then pondering as to where the cat was it might have been more interesting. It certainly was good to see her involved with the cat-demon in the first issue as they end up in trouble together. I get that the cat-demon is our guide and the cat-demon does have character and personality, though unfortunately we’re missing a more human relatability with the cat-demon (much as I enjoy relating to cats generally).
At least by the time we get to issues #5 and #6 we finally get some interesting emotional heft that felt like it was missing before. Suddenly we get things tying together more clearly and a way to move forward beyond capturing the cat-demon. I enjoyed the latter section of the book most as it felt like the stakes were there and there seemed some more purpose to the appearances of the cat.
There’s a lot of really strong potential in Inkblot but reading unfortunately this trade didn’t hold my attention until the end. Still, it held it enough for me to want to know what comes next so I will probably catch up from this point.
For me it was a slow start but the last issues got me intrigued.