The Shape and Form of Connections in Roman Muradov's Resident Lover (mini kuš! #66)

There are few comics which could pull off lines like, “I’ve never met my former lover’s lover’s lover, and neither had my lover. I’ve heard they’re good at bocce, my lover heard they have no limbs.” Roman Muradov’s minicomic Resident Lover explores the geometry of relationships, beginning with one path and finding many branches to veer off into. Muradov lets his story breath and expand to fill a great space, crafting a story about these connections that we call “love,” but are probably something altogether different.

There is a movement in Muradov’s tales that seems random at first and you can’t say that it all comes together in the end to form a satisfying narrative but it creates an experience of following an idea or an emotion through different iterations. The story is about how we love but viewed through different kinds and levels of relationships. Muradov’s story starts with one person describing a trip to a store but grows in complexity and characters to fill the space of the pages that he has to work with.

With this store in the Columbian Valle del Cauca department at the center of this book, an odd transactional tone hangs over Muradov’s tales. The element of commerce in these relationships isn’t lurid or tawdry but it is strangely businesslike. Part of that is the fairly forthright and staid demeanor of the narrator, a character herself in the first part of the book who disappears as an actor in the second half as she relates the story of two women, similar enough to be mistaken as the same woman by their lover.

As Muradov writes this measured narrative, his artwork helps frame the structure of the story, told in simple, flat shapes that contain an amazing amount of warmth and depth. Using color and form in a very clean, stylistic design, Resident Lover emphasizes its world as an orderly place. As these people live, breath, love and suffer heartbreak, his visualization of these stories create a well-ordered and designed world that masks a sense of whimsy and chaos. It sets up a tension that’s echoed in the final pages of the book as Muradov’s narrator talks about the two women, the heiresses of the department store, and the ways that their lives play almost carelessly with the people around them.

With a deft and intimate touch, Roman Muradov’s Resident Lover tells a story about the forms of these connections we make with people and places. These vignettes of characters and situations merge together in a compelling way, all linked together by this store. The store touches these moments and bonds. Without ever selling us something like a store should, it acts as the center of this universe, forming bonds between all of these characters that help sculpt the emotional tone of the bonds explored in this comic.

Resident Lover (mini kuš! #66)
Written and drawn by Roman Muradov
published by kuš!