Time For Another Mini Kus! Week : Martin Lopez Lam’s “BLINK” (Mini Kus! #97)

I pride myself on always being up for a challenge, but wow — Spanish cartoonist Martin Lopez Lam’s BLINK, which clocks in as #97 in the Mini Kus! series from our friends at Kus! Comics, is something well beyond a curious object and basically throws down a “review this or die trying” gauntlet to any and all prospective critics. It’s not so much that it’s non-narrative in its construction (although it very well could be), nah — I’m an old hand at tackling such things. And it’s not that it’s an intentional sensory overload, either — again, any regular reader of this site can tell you that sort of stuff is par for the course around these parts. What I think broke my brain when it came to assembling any sort of coherent response to this deliriously vibrant work is simply the fact that it demands to be taken entirely on its own terms — and then leaves you to your own devices when it comes to determining what those terms even are.

I’m more than used to finishing a comic and asking myself “where does that leave us, then?,” but Lam ups the ante considerably by dropping you in at the deep end from the outset and not making it clear where you are at any step along the way. The back cover blurb informs “readers” of this wordless comic that “BLINK is a loop world full of lazy and libertine monsters,” but other than that? Your guess is as good as mine.

Perhaps oddly — or perhaps not — none of the above is intended as criticism per se, though critique it most certainly is. More than anything, though, all I’m trying to give you here is a brief precis in terms of the lay of the land — which, as you’ve likely surmised already, is the working definition of an ever-shifting terrain. Lam’s characters and their environs are a mixed-media collage of deliberately disjointed elements and methodologies, a kaleidoscopic catch-all net for every image that entered the artist’s mind when he sat down to draw and assemble the thing. You want raw transmissions from the depths of the id? Congratulations, you’ve come to the right place.

There’s plenty to unpack, then, in this intertwined series of double-page spreads — aesthetically, formally, thematically, even conceptually — and honestly, “what’s happening here?” is probably the least of your worries. A few pages in I opted for the “go with the flow and just see if the whole thing feels right” approach, and that seems to me to have been a wise decision since, viewed through that lens, it’s nearly impossible to view Lam’s little project here as anything other than an unqualified success.

Of course, the question I’d love to be able to answer is why that’s the case, but I think immersing oneself in acts of quantification and qualification runs precisely counter to the admittedly vague intentions behind this comic. Lam just hits you with the contents of his subconscious, again and again, and you’re either going to enjoy the exercise and find value in it, or you’re not. That level of confidence is brazen, to be sure — but it’s also precisely what’s required to make something of this nature work. It’s one thing to have no fucks left to give, quite another to have none to start with.

None of which means that Lam isn’t concerned with transmitting something raw, authentic, powerful, and immediate here, mind you — only that he’s created something the likes of which perhaps only he can judge in its totality. I’m sure it’s patently obvious that I was bewildered by the whole thing, but more in a way that fascinated me than vexed me. I’ve spent an unhealthy amount of time trying to decipher and decode the inner workings of the comic over the past few days, only to come up empty-handed and decide that, hey, I’m absolutely cool with that.


BLINK is available for $7.00 from the Kus! webshop at https://kushkomikss.ecrater.com/p/38343277/blink-by-martn-lpez-lam

Also, this review — and all others around these parts — is “brought to you” by my Patreon site, where I serve up exclusive thrice-weekly rants and ramblings on the worlds of comics, films, television, literature and politics for as little as a dollar a month. Subscribing is the best way to support my continuing work, so I’d be very appreciative if you’d take a moment to give it a look by directing your kind attention to https://www.patreon.com/fourcolorapocalypse

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