This post may be way overdue and this book technically came out in 2007 but, but the beautiful nightmare that is The Blot is by far the best comic I read in 2008. I just sat down to reread it and it is truly astonishing, technically and artistically.
The Blot is a master's course in the art of comics. Someone who had never seen any other work of comics could, after studying this book sufficiently long, be expert enough to create great art. Neely's brilliant use of layout and the way he manipulates appearance and his mastery of human form make the book a technical marvel.
But the story, opaque as it is, is the true treasure here.
Bringing an antiquated cartoon style into a horrific tale of men and gods only heightens the unsettling sense of uncertainty and confusion. As disaster builds upon disaster and pleasure leads to rejection and pain leads to redemption, this starkly unreal tale digs deeper and deeper into my soul.
This book's accomplishments are difficult to quantify because I simply don't know what to compare it to.
When I've written about this book before (here), and I am no closer now to arriving at conclusions.
But this read --- I read so slowly, examining each image closely. Chris Ware (in a recent introduction) (he sure does write a lot of introductions, doesn't he?) said the comics creator probably, on average, spends 1000 times on a comic compared to the time a reader spends.
If the time I spend on The Blot grows longer at this pace every time I read it, and if I keep returning to it as I anticipate, I may well end up spending more time on it than Neely has himself. Who can say.
Certainly this work deserves that kind of attention.
This book is a masterpiece.