the caged cat stalks a prey it cannot see, and cannot reach; does the pseudo-prey know? does its heartbeat quicken?
Out: April 7, 2021
A sorceress, Seeker, spills an inkpot into some magic and accidently conjures a cat-ish being that can portal through space, time, and the boundaries of alternate dimensions. Said creature, Inkblot, has adventures by way of said spatial, temporal, and interdimensional travels, finding itself in the midst of battles with dragons, mutineers, a Sphinx, and sundry monsters. It’s a little like Forrest Gump, but with a cat stumbling through historic moments in a magic & dragons fantasy realm.
This volume makes for a cute reading experience, which – I suspect – is what the authors were going for. As anything more than lighthearted entertainment, it suffers problems of story. The most notable problem is that Inkblot is the only character whose story cuts across all six issues, and as a protagonist the cat lacks motivation, emotional experience, or agency. Inkblot is adorably drawn with huge eyes and little else by way of discernable features beyond its cat-like body, but its emotional range is Mark Wahlberg-esque. Arguably, the true protagonist is the cat’s creator, Seeker, but she is not a major player through much of the arc. Which speaks to a second issue, and that’s that issues two and three feel a bit random and disconnected. Both are fine issue level adventures, but they don’t seem to advance the overall story.
If you’re looking for a cute and very lighthearted read, you may want to check this one out. It’s drawn in a vibrant and whimsical fashion and is written to take one’s mind off pandemic woes.
Little kittens can’t get their legs.
Feet slide as legs sprawl wide.
Writhing amid a pile of siblings.
Wrangled and nudged by mama.
Tiny screams for leeway ungranted.
Bellies bulge with mama’s milk.
They don’t yet look like miniature cats.
They have neither the proportions nor the ears.
They could as well be puppies or opossums.
From any distance mama sanctions.
[National Poetry Month: Poem #19]
This isn’t a good shot. It’s washed out and the composition is poor.
And yet, when I saw it I couldn’t help but imagine a dialogue between these two lionesses. If it triggers that reaction for you, it’s worth posting it.
The lion is a kingly beast
Whose eyes no lies can abide
If you don’t wish to be his feast
Please act with tact and don’t chide
He doesn’t take to teasing well
He’s still but to kill is in his blood
His placid face may look swell
But a strong heart pounds THUD-THUD…
He may look like a big plush toy
But he’s no fun for a girl or boy
Don’t get your kid a big feline
Unless your exit is a swift beeline
“No, we were very close to planting it last night, but the cat came in squawking and making racket. It woke her up just before we could get it set. Those damn cats will be the death of me. The preceding night we managed to keep one out all night, but the other slept on the subject maintaining constant vigilance,” Safrom said aloud as he paced around the sterile white space of his station.
“The subject travels, why don’t you just do it then?” The thought formed.
“Believe me, I would love to, and we make great efforts to do so. But it is not as easy to track a person through thought-space as it is in the physical world. If we can ever get the damn implant installed, that will, of course, change immediately. Most of the time she is not gone long enough for us to find her, and on the few occasions she has been, or we’ve been lucky, she hasn’t slept deeply.”
“RRRrrrarr-eeeow … RRRARRrrr-eeeow… RRArrra-eeeow,” the noise came from floor level.
Julia pushed herself upright groggily and swept a shock of black hair out of her face. She stared at the gray cat illuminated by a shaft of streetlamp glow that slanted in through her bedroom window, and said, “Really! You’re really waking me up from a sound sleep in the middle of the night?”
The cat stopped its bellowing and sat back on its haunches, looking at Julia indifferently. Then the shorthair trotted out of the room and down the hall.
Julia lay back down melting into a down pillow and drifted back to sleep while wondering what made her cat do that. What makes a cat that has been fed and is never let out at night, repetitively caterwaul until its owner wakes up, and then it just goes back to its indifferent self?
Julia yawned aloud. “Excuse me. My cat woke me up in the middle of the night three times for no apparent reason.”
“Does it do that a lot?” Erma asked.
“It comes in waves, but, it seems to have it down to a science. It always seems to do it when I’m in the deepest sleep, usually in the middle of a weird dream.” Julia elaborated.
“What was your dream about?” Erma asked.
“Ah, you know, it was a dream. It didn’t make much sense. I was being chased?
“Being chased by whom?”
“I don’t know. I never see them, but it always feels as though they are just about to catch me.”
“Maybe the cat is doing you a favor.” Erma said in a completely somber tone.
“Yeah, right, maybe.” Julia replied with a grin. She assumed Erma was joking, although there was nothing in the older woman’s expression to indicate that she might be.
Erma changed the subject, “So how is your research coming?”
Julia shrugged and said, “I don’t know. I’m feeling a little overwhelmed as of late. I keep pulling up new material, but, as I do analysis, I don’t seem to be converging on an explanation.”
“It’ll come, you’ve just got to keep at it, and never up. If you never give up, a solution will always present itself.” Erma said with a smile.
“You know the thing about cats is…” Erma began.
“What’s that?” Julia inquired.
“Aww, never mind.” Erma said.