Creator/s: Carl Schulz
Website: The hellish color scheme and background make it stand out more than a typical WordPress webcomic, and the large, colorful banner serves as an attractive introduction to the main characters. Along with a nice selection of extras, there's a "New to the Comic?" page of doodle-summaries that's both useful and pretty funny.
Writing: The first six chapters of Inhumation are a decent pilot episode for an ambitious afterlife story, but it's disappointing that the webcomic's still in its infancy eight-and-a-half years after its debut. Roughly 200 pages in, the comic has managed to leisurely introduce its female protagonists, show where they work, and build their friendship, but, unfortunately, I'm left with too many basic questions unanswered for the story to hold my interest. Some of these questions are:
- What's Hell like?
- Who's in charge of Hell?
- How do people feel about being in Hell?
- Where do the various commodities come from?
- What are the different areas of Hell?
- What's the deal with the Wardens?
- Where are all the demons at?
- What are the laws and punishments in Hell?
- Why isn't Hell more unpleasant for its residents?
- Why do some businesses have demonic names and imagery?
- What kind of jobs do people have besides fast-food employees and street vendors?
- What do people do in their free time besides go shopping?
Above-average slice-of-life drama and humor fill up page space while the creator avoids revealing any of this essential information. Some of the more patient readers out there might feel comfortable waiting for Inhumation to finally get to The Good Part, but, personally, I'd rather just read another webcomic that's already at The Good Part.
Now, from a more sympathetic point of view, I could say that the creator's doing the best he can as a hobbyist with limited time, that the webcomic's slow to develop because it's only been updated about twice a month on average, and that he deserves some credit for his willingness to stick with a project for this long and try to fulfill his creative vision. I don't necessarily disagree with any of these points, but I think it'd be more relevant to consider what adjustments the creator could make in regards to his particular situation. Simply, a webcomic that updates twice a month doesn't have the same luxury of deliberate pacing that a webcomic updating eight or 12 times a month has, or a print comic with monthly 24-page issues has. Barring the creator suddenly starting to crank out pages at an unprecedented rate, he needs to develop a faster-paced, plot-oriented writing style if Inhumation's ever going to get on the right track. Chapter 6 is somewhat of an improvement since the creator creatively addresses how memories can be bought and sold in Hell, but there are still too many pages devoted to this subject and to Kame's confrontation with the sleazy vendor.
Finally, the creator has a strange habit in which he often misspells common words while doing fine with more difficult words. Here are the basic spelling mistakes in Chapter 6:
- "cloths" instead of clothes
- "cheep" instead of cheap
- "hypster" instead of hipster
- "pleanty" instead of plenty
- "cheakbones" instead of cheekbones
- "explaine" instead of explain
- "wierd" instead of weird
- "somewhear" instead of somewhere
I get the impression that the creator's rushing while lettering the comic, and if that's the case, then he needs to slow down and pay more attention to what he's writing.
Art: The most notable aspect of the style, aside from the colored digital inking, is the pervasive use of three-fourths perspective. Because of this, most of the panels are basically identical, and while the characters are at least redrawn every time, this repetitive technique isn't much more appealing than liberal copy-pasting would be. A good example of this problem is this page, in which everyone's drawn from the same angle and are all talking to the back of people's heads, with the lone exception being the panel where the creator's forced to draw the mom facing the background in order to show her taking a picture of it. Merely adding basic front-on and profile shots to his arsenal would be a major improvement for the creator, and eventually practicing more complicated poses and perspectives would take the artwork to another level.
Other than that, though, the cartoony style is capably done, with the exception of Kame, whose wide head, pug nose, and pointy cheeks make her look like a Muppet. Her goofy portrayal is somewhat made up for, though, by the strong illustrations of the intimidating Wardens. Backgrounds are another high point for the webcomic, with the creator enhancing some of more mundane scenes by rendering them with a significant amount of detail (1, 2, 3). I would've liked to see Hell's exotic locations at some point, though, if there are any.
Overall: As it is, I think Inhumation would've been better as just a regular slice-of-life webcomic about two roommates who work crappy jobs. As a supernatural story, though, the positive aspects get overshadowed by the sense that the comic could be so much cooler and more interesting if the creator was willing to elaborate on the setting a bit more. It's also clear that the artwork isn't improving as quickly as it should be, as the earlier chapters actually have more variety in their perspectives than the latest ones. There are some parts of the comic that are well-executed, such as the dialogue and the art style, but the creator still needs to work further on getting the basics down before his webcomic can reach its full potential.