Fort Thunder was a key player in several arts scenes. In terms of its place in comics, Fort Thunder describes the group of artists who made minicomics and cartoon art while living in Providence’s Fort Thunder work and living space in the mid to late 1990s. Although several of the artists working there dabbled in comics, as did many like-minded artists not in the space, there are six artists who comprise the core group of talents to emerge from the Fort in its initial flowering:
Mat Brinkman was born in Texas. He attended a special high school for the arts before entering RISD, where he studied printmaking and sculpture. His comics contain monsters and other fantasy-tinged creatures exploring elaborately constructed, roughly textured environments.
Raised near Philadelphia, Brian Chippendale was Brinkman’s roommate during their freshman year at RISD. His comics, often drawn in pre-printed journals, feature sequences told in panel progressions that favor a snake-like pattern rather than conventional left-to-right storytelling.
Jim Drain met Brinkman in classes at RISD and moved into Fort Thunder with a second wave of artists and cartoonists. Acquaintances call Drain the most socially assured and charismatic member of the group. His comics feature thin lines, awkward figures and sparse backgrounds.
Leif Goldberg was raised in rural areas in the Mid-Atlantic and Northeastern United States. His comics feature vibrant color and musings on ecological themes.
Brian Ralph was born and raised in New Jersey. His comics are metaphorical fantasies set against lush backgrounds and drawn with an animation-ready line. He has thus far enjoyed the most traditional comics-publishing success of the group, with two books released, comics-industry-award nominations and gigs with comics-friendly magazines.
Paul Lyons became friends with Ralph early on during their time at RISD, knew Brinkman through skateboarding and moved into Fort Thunder with Ralph and Drain when the space expanded to its full size. Many of his comics are drawn in a traditional illustration style.
Black and white with color covers. 128 pages.