Forker, Nick – Eyeland #13

June 13, 2024


Eyeland #13

It looks like that tricksy Nick Forker has been working on a longer story, so my usual plan to randomly review his issues is not going to work anymore. But hey, this one is comprised of a few short pieces, so I’m going to cheat this time around before going back to them sequentially. More information than anybody would ever need or want, that’s the Optical Sloth promise! Like I said, this is a collection of shorter pieces, with one story that’s obviously part of a bigger narrative. There’s some talking cat and dog mayhem to start things off (if you consider a calm conversation to be mayhem), a peek at some actual aliens and their exact level of competence, a badger confronting several animals in what is a clear attempt by Nick to justify drawing a whole bunch of animals (no shame here, the man can draw all sorts of animals damn near photo realistically), the piece that’s part of the bigger story (that’ll make more sense when I go back through the other issues, but it looks like our hero is headed to the real world), and a bit of commentary on the quality of the drinking water in various cities in the U.S. He’s not wrong, and it would be nice if ANY CITY took pride in their water. Finally there’s a personal story about the time he got beat up about 20 years ago, the damage it did to him physically and mentally, and what it feels like to sneeze when your jaw is wired shut. That image of him on one knee, trying to play off the pain as his friends looked on, is rough to look at. He also goes into his reasoning for talking about this now, and how our identities are a construct of the stories we tell ourselves. I’d recommend going and watching the talk Dan Clowes gave at CXC 2023, as he really dug into the unreliability of memory and how tough it is to nail anything down when the other people who were part of those memories have passed away. What does that leave you with? Anyway, yes, this is another really solid issue, and he’s apparently stuck forever (with Brian Canini and a few others) on the list of artists that I just can’t seem to keep up with here on this blog. Still waiting on that eccentric billionaire that decides to keep me as a pet just so I can read comics and write about them forever… $7

Forker, Nick – Eyeland #6

April 22, 2024


Eyeland #6

I’m still moving ahead with my “let’s review a random issue of Eyeland” plan, but I’m going to have to pick up the pace on this sucker because he sent me some new comics recently to go along with the backlog. Now hiring, pay rate same as mine (losing a little money paying for the website, but at a “meh” level)! This time around is a theme that’s near and dear to most of our hearts, not that WE’RE the ones with the problem, not at all: getting lost in screens. Why yes, I am typing this and seeing it on a computer monitor, so the irony isn’t lost on me. But hey, I’m heading to the gym once I finish writing these reviews, that has to count for something, right? Things start off with a close-up of the detritus surrounding the average gamer, and yep, that was a little too on the nose. Our hero then takes a bit of a mystical journey through a swamp, learning a bit about the swamp (along with some cryptic hints from a Yoda-esque figure), before we see the horror: every gamer in the world, all gathered in one area, all in their individual boxes. It’s horrifying to think about everybody who’s playing a game right now, cut off from human contact, but to see an image of them all together, and the endlessly repeated, lame dialogue… yikes. Not something I’d ever conceived of, but it’s a sobering image. From there a rescue plan is devised for these poor souls, but do any of them have an interest in being rescued? It’s another thought-provoking issue, and will it make me self-conscious the next time I fire up a game? Almost certainly yes. I’ll also probably get over it after a few minutes, meaning I won’t end up learning any lesson from this comic. How about you? $5

Forker, Nick – Eyeland #7

February 21, 2024


Eyeland #7

My “let’s review Eyeland one random issue at a time” plan is still going swimmingly, and if you think I’m not sticking to this credo, I’d suggest looking up the issues that I’ve reviewed so far. Normally I wouldn’t do this, but since each issue has been self-contained so far, well, what’s the harm? And yes, of course I’ll feel like a real dummy if that doesn’t end up being the case. This time around we’re treated to the… origin of the main character? Maybe? It’s entirely wordless until the last page, so it’s very much open to interpretation. Things start off with a giant head that’s attached a mountain slowly, painstakingly ripping its own eye out. So if you’ve ever wanted to see that process play out over the course of a few pages of a comic, you’re in luck! From there we see the slow evolution of the eye growing limbs, beginning to walk, taking an inventory of its surroundings, and then being mercilessly flicked off a table by a giant hand. Most of these issues so far have delved deep into philosophy, so the one thing I was not expecting out of this series was a wordless issue. If I’ve already reviewed a wordless issue of this series and have forgotten about it, well I guess that shows how much you should trust my memory, huh? It’s another good issue, but if you’re just going to check a single issue out, if probably shouldn’t be this one. Unless you’re big into eye removal, that is. $5

Forker, Nick – Eyeland #5

October 2, 2023


Eyeland #5

This is the issue that pretty much solidified it in my mind: it’s fine to read/review these issues in any order. This one even ends on a bit of a possible cliffhanger, so I checked #6 (Nick was nice enough to send along most of his comics for review), and it doesn’t mention it. So, let chaos reign! It’s impossible to review this without revealing the identity of the “mysterious stranger” from the cover, but before I do, give that silhouette a look. What do you see? Any guesses? The mysterious stranger is… Dickchicken! Granted, the sample image gives it away too, but maybe I’ll end up rambling enough in the review so that you can’t see it without scrolling down. Anyway! It’s exactly what it sounds like, I guess: a “normal” human body, but instead of the head there’s a cross between an uncooked chicken and a penis. So what’s in the pants? Maybe he’ll get to that later, but for now you can leave it to your imagination. Dickchicken has seemingly just arrived on our world, as he spends some time getting caught up on the news and our current technology. Seeing the calamitous state of our civilization, he decides that the only rational thing to do is make a mysterious machine that will… improve things? It’s never defined, really. But whatever it is, it’s enough to get the attention of some shady government watchdog types, as they send an army of drones to deal with him. After getting knocked out by the drones, our hero dreams of a meeting with an undefined cosmic figure with some reluctant words of wisdom. From there we get some real final battle type shit, but that’s enough of the spoiling. This is definitely the most chaotic of the Eyeland comics that I’ve read so far, and I mean that in a good way. Maybe this one would be the best starting point for new readers? As long as you’re not offended/horrified by Dickchicken, I guess. Still, a thoroughly entertaining issue, and from now on my reviewing plan for this series is “pick a number between 3 and 9,” so who knows where I’ll end up next. $5

Forker, Nick – Eyeland #10

May 29, 2023


Eyeland #10

I’m breaking one of my usual “rules” to review #10 long before I review #3-9. Why would I do such a thing? Well, Eyeland isn’t (at least so far) a linear story, and I needed some help in deciding whether or not to go back and review the rest of the series. So after reading the latest issue, my conclusion is… yeah, maybe, if I have time! Riveting stuff, I know. So what’s this comic about? Nick was going through a move in New York while he was trying to put this issue together, which was going to make sticking to his monthly schedule difficult, to say the least. So he pulled together various sketchbook pages and stories about his experiences together to meet his deadline. I’m always and forever impressed with anybody who keeps up a monthly schedule (Dave Sim, for all of his MANY other faults, kept it up for decades, which actually may not be the best endorsement for the schedule considering what happened to his brain, so never mind), but it looks like he’s dialed it back a bit since, as there’s only one new issue out so far in 2023. My mind is clearly all over the place for this one, so let’s finally just get to the comic, shall we? There are several short pieces (anywhere from a panel to a couple of pages) about every aspect of moving, and since we’ve all been there to some degree, there’s some relatable and funny stuff in here. Also he said he’s moved 30 times in New York City, which maybe earns this man some sort of medal? He also talks about finally giving up coffee, giving up on screens for books, and finally ends up with a piece about how he’s done standing in his own way and is going to “take the path of liberation for all beings.” But a lot more complicated and nuanced than that, as I’m trying to summarize rather than plagiarize. It’s probably required reading if you’re ever planning on moving to New York, and even if you’re not there’s still plenty to like in here, as always. Aw, what the heck. I’ll review #3 in a few weeks and see where that takes me. $5

Forker, Nick – Eyeland #2

March 21, 2023


Eyeland #2

I have got to find a way to review comics more quickly. Looking around the internet doesn’t reveal any available copies of this issue, and Nick himself doesn’t have anything available until #5. But what am I supposed to do, NOT read these in numerical order? Madness. So far in these Eyeland comics the title on the cover is a pretty big hint: the first issue was mostly funny, this issue is mostly introspective. Things start off with a fascinating color strip on the inside cover questioning what exactly moves people to make decisions. Experience, gut, or something yet undiscovered? Now that the possibility has been brought up, you’re thinking about it too, right? If that intrigues you, get ready for an issue of existential questions. From there we get a strip on the absurdities of modern life (with a special emphasis on doom rectangles) and a series of three panel strips on the basis of reality. The rest of the comic is presented as single or double page stories, but it’s really one continuing narrative about our hero wondering about how not doing anything frees him from having anything by which to judge his self worth, finding a way to accept himself, and building his own work on the work of others to make something new. Am I missing a meaning somewhere, or misinterpreting something? There’s a solid chance, as I find myself becoming less and less introspective as I get older. Which is maybe a bad sign, but it’s not the issue at hand. The rest of the issue depicts his philosophical journey as a physical trip, which does involve an actual wizard and ends with an extremely disquieting finale. I’m enjoying these comics, and I saw on his website that he made 10 of these issues in 2022, which is incredibly impressive. Give it a shot, and with these two issues you have a stark choice to make: do you want funny, or do you want philosophical? Keep in mind that neither issue is 100% of one or the other…

Forker, Nick – Eyeland #1

June 1, 2022

Website (Instagram)

Eyeland #1

Quick, how much do you relate to the sample strip? Just checking to see how much we have in common, and I’m asking as somebody who’s been known to toss my phone across the room rather than stop reading (onto a bed or pile of clothes; it’s not like I’m made of money). This is a collection of strips that are mostly about Nick (as portrayed by a giant eyeball), and it looks like he both has plans to do this monthly and, if his Instagram page is correct, is already up to #6. Which is amazing, if that’s true; for all I know they’re just prospective issue covers. Anyway! The first strip is a full page recap of the first few months of 2020. Awful as that year was, even I had forgotten some of the horrors he mentions here. The strip also just kind of… ends, which was odd, but it was still terrifying/funny. There’s a lot of covid stuff in here, rightfully so, and it appears to be broken down into daily three panel strips and weekly (maybe?) full page strips. I do wish that he’d listed the dates on all the strips, but I’m a weirdo like that and doubt that anybody else would notice. It mostly stood out because the two strips where he went to heaven were interrupted by a full page strip about a different subject entirely. Other subjects include life in New York, his art, maybe starting a business and, like I said, a whole lot of covid. There’s plenty of insightful and/or funny stuff in here, although I worry about keeping up this pace on a monthly basis. Then again, he’s maybe banked a lot of strips already, so I should step back and let the man do his thing. Give it a shot, unless you’re really freaked out by a giant eyeball with a human body. $5