Burrowing into the Ink

Posted: October 30, 2009 by bryanhood in Uncategorized
Tags: , , , , , ,
Look, an image that actually relates to post (credit: domystore.com)

"Look it that, a picture that actually relates to this post!" (credit: domystore.com)

Books I read (at least in part) this week, that will not be discussed in this post:

Edisto by Padgett Powell

A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius by Dave Eggers

Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace

The Lost Estate (Le Grand Meaulnes) by Alain-Fournier

The Secret History by Donna Tartt

Book I read (in full) this week, that I will be discussing in this post:

Multiforce by Mat Brinkman

Multiforce, is Brinkman’s collection of the 2000-2005 comic strip of the same name.  Published mainly in the Providence-published comic newspaper, Paper Rodeo, the strips are unlike any comic strip I (or you) have ever encountered.  Fer realz.

It’s hard describing Multiforce’s story.  It revolves around a bunch of elves, monsters, ghosts and other creatures as they wander around a post-apocalyptic landscape, fighting, gliding, and going to concerts.  I think.  See, It’s difficult to know exactly what’s going on, because there are multiple story threads sprinting parallel and colliding with one another.  Oh and there’s like a hundred characters, a lot of whom are never named (though of those named, Lam Zang, the Space Dragon surfer, was my favorite).  It probably sounds confusing and it is, but it’s also awesome.  It’s like reading Thomas Pynchon; at some point you just need to stop thinking and let Brinkman lead the way.

As wonderful and crazed as the story is, the book wouldn’t work nearly as well as it does if it weren’t for the art and humor.  Brinkman’s comics are drawn in a crazed inky scrawl.  At first it seems primitive and almost repulsive, but there’s something magnetic about it as well.  You can’t look away.  The humor is similar.  It’s not funny ha-ha, but it’ll draw smirks hours after you’ve put the book down.  Characters try to sneak away from battle to catch a secret concert in the forest, forget their name after repeating it too much, and yell at others for fighting in their bathtub.  A lot of weird shit in other words.


"That's more like it" (credit: richardmcguire.ca)

Multiforce is challenging.  But that’s good.  I’ve written before that I like art that makes me work, so this book was right up my alley.  Underneath its manic fantasy trapping, Brinkman’s comic is a startling reflection on life. Things rarely work out the way we plan and as much as we’d like to be able to neatly partition our life, it doesn’t happen.  Regardless, there’s no reason we shouldn’t enjoy ourselves.

–Bryan Hood

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