DrunkWooky Comic Review: Inkblot (Kubert, Gladd 2020)

Welcome back to another DrunkWooky comic book review! Today I’m taking a look at Inkblot #1 by Emma Kubert and Rusty Gladd.

You can grab Inkblot #1 at TFAW, your local comic shop, and if all else fails, Ebay.

Kubert is a third generation comics creator from the famous Kubert family. Rusty Gladd is her fellow Kubert school graduate partner-in-crime in this creator-owned endeavor.

Rusty describes the creative process used for Inkblot as the “Marvel Method”. Generally speaking, the Marvel Method was what Jack Kirby and Stan Lee would use to create early Fantastic Four, Avengers, and other early Marvel comics. The writer and artist would meet for a sort of story conference, laying out the loose plot points. The artist would then be unleashed to draw the layouts and the writer (either the one responsible for the script or one responsible for dialogue and narration) would then write to the art. What Rusty describes in Inkblot seems like a little more collaborative with some back and forth between Emma and himself: Emma penciling, Rusty writing and inking, Emma writing, and Emma coloring.

As with all first issues, the heavy task of world-building, balanced with story, and enough untold mystery to get the reader coming back is laid before our creative team here. Inkblot #1 leans a little more to the world-building side than the story side than I expected. Based on the solicitation about a mischievous cat who harangues around the multiverse, I expected more time with out little Inkblot. However, in a retro style, Inkblot is birthed with great mystery about the whys and how-fors and we’re immediately thrown into a multiversal tussle between two giants. This was all executed in a manner that felt organic to me and gave me little worry that I’d be dissatisfied with what we learn about this little black cat down the line.

If Rusty’s description of the creative process harks back to the silver age, the story definitely feels that way. Reading some of the key issues from comics of old, there was a lot of story packed in. In some cases you were introduced to a strange new world, a character with curious powers was born, heroes and villains had fisticuffs, and the whole thing resolved with the promise of another story next month within just over 20 pages. The same rings true here. While this style doesn’t allow the story to head too deeply into one aspect, it plants the seeds for many stories focused on the world built in the first issue later on.

How can a high fantasy world told through the eyes of a sudden cat-owner feel new and fresh? These tropes (and cats) have been used for years, decades, centuries. Hell, even the egyptians told stories about cats. Well, all stories stand on the shoulders the giants that came before and there’s enough of a unique twist here to keep me interested.

The art doesn’t scrimp on the details when needed, nor the bombastic color when called for. A pet peeve of mine is when illustration can’t properly convey the action of the idea necessary for the reader to understand the story. I didn’t have any moment in this issue where that problem reared its ugly head. I’ll be back for issue #2 to see where this little black cat takes me.

Inkblot #1 official solicit:

Published: September 2, 2020
Diamond ID: JUL200025
Age Rating: T

Cover price: $3.99

Third-generation comic artist EMMA KUBERT partners with up-and-coming creator RUSTY GLADD to deliver a high-fantasy epic! This new ONGOING SERIES follows a powerful sorceress attempting to correct her greatest mistake—the creation of a magical cat that can travel through time, space, and reality. The cat threatens to unravel the fabric of the universe, doesn’t care, and just won’t listen!

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