Mat Brinkman is the focal point around whom moved the legendary performance space known as Fort Thunder. Often taking their clues from Mat's work, those living in the Fort would over the span of a few short years make significant contributions to the worlds of visual art, performance, costuming, silk-screening, rock and roll, and, yes, comic books. The comics in this collection were gathered together from wonderfully crafted homemade books that Brinkman gave away and occasionally had others distribute for him. The trade appropriately looks like something that might have been pressed in someone's home.
Mat Brinkman's comic stories, like "Oaf" and "Belol Belittle" sit arrogantly on the page as if they are the only comic books that have ever been made. They feature organisms in strange environments exploring and engaging in basic bodily functions, disrupted by nature's whims. The effect of exploring Mat Brinkman's work after reading today's sophisticated graphic novels is like seeing something silent and unexpected happen on crude video footage upon arrival home from the multiplex, or listening to tapes of Depression-era folk musicians after overdosing on the oeuvre of Electric Light Orchestra. The skill and simplicity are incredibly affecting, and remind you of the core strengths of the medium in gently insistent ways. Brinkman's comics are primal workouts of form, and demand to be reckoned with.
Tom Spurgeon is a writer living in Silver City, New Mexico. He can be found online at The Comics Reporter.