No Place to Stay by Michael Jordan (#18)
REVIEWED BY ROBERT KIRBY NOV 6, 2014
German artist Michael Jordan (unsurprisingly, not the basketball legend)
offers up this brooding, surreal, “semi-fictional, semi-biographical”
trip into Kafka-land, presenting at the outset a bearded traveler who
finds himself at a café that suddenly pops up in an eerie mountainous
landscape. He travels through his coffee cup (yes, you read that right)
and into a hospital where, his arm suddenly in a sling, he awaits a diagnosis
from doctors and nurses. They seem dubious about his chances, but one
nurse has a mysterious message for him. This tale, which has the feel
of a half-remembered fever dream, situates the reader inside the protagonist’s
troubled liminal state, leaving the story open to various interpretations.
For me, Jordan renders all this weirdness so beguilingly I’ve reread
it a half dozen times, at least. Sometimes the best mysteries are the
ones that are left unsolved.
See more at:
The Comics Journal © Fantagraphics Books Inc. | 7563 Lake City Way
NE | Seattle, WA 98115
Mini Kus #18: This No Place To Stay
OK, it’s almost certainly cheating to put the synopsis on here from
the back of the comic, but I just can’t resist. So: “This
No Place To Stay is a semi-fictional, semi-biographical story by the German
artist Michael jordan. His bearded alter ego travels through a coffee
cup into a labyrinth inside a hospital laboratory. Hopefully the wound
in the nurse’s hand can rescue him…” And no, those ellipses
are not me letting the synopsis trail off, that’s just how they
ended it. Why put the entire thing in the review? Because I couldn’t
have put it better myself, and because it raises many more questions than
it answers. Things start off with our bearded hero (and I am dying to
know which parts of this are biographical) going up a long staircase to
enter a cave/mountain wall/waiting room. From here he is meant to be processed,
but is told to wait in the cafe, where he sees other sleeping people,
is told that sleeping is not allowed, and wakes up in a hospital with
his arm in a sling. From here we see the creepy people in charge of the
hospital, the nurse who wants to help (it also features a few nurses who
see no point in helping), and our hero’s eventual attempt at escape.
The whole thing is delightfully surreal and more than a little claustrophobic.
No, I’m not sure how that happens in a comic with plenty of wide
open spaces either, but trust me, that’s what I was feeling. It’s
gorgeous, it’s haunting and I’m not entirely sure what to
make of it. Sounds like the perfect comic to me!
See more at: http://www.opticalsloth.com/?p=23083#sthash.CNPrdB4v.dpuf
Kevin Bramer 8493 Bridle View Way Columbus, OH 43240 firstname.lastname@example.org
Update for 9/18/14
Thursday, January 2, 2014
Report from the Golden Age of Art Comics: Kusą!
Michael Jordan's Mini Kusą!, This No Place to Stay [sic] is described
as "semi-fictional, semi-autobiographical." It has the feeling
of a dream, an anxious dream about being in a hospital and feeling vaguely
threatened by the environment. The writing is interesting--it's English,
but English as written by someone with imperfect knowledge. Typically,
the English in the Mini Kusą!series is perfectly adequate. But in This
No Place to Stay, the occasional error or awkward English adds to the
feeling of alienation and dread experienced by the bearded protagonist,
as does the bilious mostly-monochromatic color scheme.
Posted by Robert Boyd
'This No Place to Stay'