To call his self-published, magazine format comic The Future Is An Open Mouth “one of a kind” is to sell it short, because in truth it’s several things at once, none of them exactly new, but all of them coalescing into a singular visual and literary experience that propels the reader into frames of mind previously unknown and the artist immediately into the ranks of legit comics auteurs such as Samuel Benson, Alex Graham, Tana Oshima, Nathan Ward and others who, love ’em or hate ’em, produce work that that could in no way conceivably be said to fit into any category other than their own. Holland has apparently been slowly developing his futuristic (the year is 2695, to be precise) “Gorchverse” for some time, but as this was my first exposure to it, the experience for me was akin to being guided through genuinely alien territory by someone who’s been there before but still hasn’t necessarily limned out all of its highways, byways, contours, and contortions all that thoroughly. In other words, Holland’s the guy making this stuff up, sure, but the material seems to be leading him wherever it wants or needs to go.
Discussing the art offers the jobbing critic another chance to begin with “where to begin?,” as Holland doesn’t so much juxtapose thick-lined, deliberately “sloppy” figure drawing with washed inks with minimalist backgrounds with collage as he stands back and allows them all to crash into each other before arranging them in nominally “coherent” ways. It’s some heady, mind-blowing cartooning, to be sure, but it works in the way that the most effective and sincere self-created visual languages do — which is to say, this world, this “Gorchverse,” can only look the way it does because, well, that’s the way it looks.