Thursday, October 27, 2016

Nimona by Noelle Stevenson


Nemeses! Dragons! Science! Symbolism!
I don't remember how I found it, but a while back I came across a charming comic on the web (A 'webcomic', if you will) that had everything I could want: The look, the writing, the comedy, the drama, and lots of play on the themes of both super hero comic books and fantasy novels. Much to my joy it was soon announced that the whole story was going to be available in graphic novel format! With extras! And new pages! Dreams do come true! And now you can discover the enchanting world of Nimona for yourself!

Nimona’s impulsiveness fits with her ability to change shape.
It starts when our titular character Nimona declares herself to be the villain Lord Ballister Blackheart’s new sidekick, whether he likes it or not. Together they proceed to do their villainous deeds of the usual ilk, like robbing banks, stealing scientific equipment, and doing battle with Blackheart’s nemesis and knight-in-shining-armor Ambrosius Goldenloin. However our villains and heroes are not black-and-white, and much of this story’s strength comes from how it overturns some classic tropes and the reader’s expectations. There’s plenty of comedy in this comic, and it also plays wonderfully with the environment that contains dragons, dungeons, and jousting but also refrigerators, board games, and genetic experimentation. As time progresses, we start to learn about the pasts of our heroes (Well, villains) and see the deeper narrative behind the hijinks. The art of this book is in Stevenson’s unique style of well-balanced colors paired with the simple yet expressive character designs that really leave you missing this book once you finish it. (Maybe it’s already time for another read-through?)

This is what happens when shape-shifters play Monopoly.

Nimona was on the longlist for the 2015 National Book Award. It was written and illustrated by Noelle Stevenson, who also co-writes the series Lumberjanes, which was recognized as Best New Series and Best Publication for Teens in the 2015 Eisner Awards. 

Want some other web comics irl? Try out Lucky Penny from web icons Ananth Hirsh and Yuko Ota, and Axe Cop by artist Ethan Nicolle and writer (Age 5) Malachai Nicolle.

                                                                                  

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