This No Place to Stay by Michael Jordan (#18)

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.
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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!
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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.

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Posted by Robert Boyd

mini kusą! #18
'This No Place to Stay'

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