Thursday, July 5, 2012

Read This Webcomic: Nimona


Nimona is the new webcomic of plucky young illustrator Noelle Stevenson, who was propelled to internet fame via The Broship of the Ring (her take on the epic with skinny jeans instead of leggings) and various other fanart offerings. Now she's focusing on her own work, which can be a tricky and frustrating move for an artist beloved for a particular expected output. I'm really enjoying "Nimona," but since I'm an English major who can't just enjoy simple things (not even veeps with sandwiches), let me dissect it!

The story follows supervillain Ballister Blackheart, who finds overly enthusiastic and pugnacious shapeshifter Nimona foisted upon him as sidekick - even though he'd rather not have help battling longtime archenemy Ambrosius Goldenloin. At first I thought the comic was just Dr. Horrible and Captain Hammer (or Kate Beaton's nemeses) with a Mary Sue - and it kind of is, but as the story continues its own charms are on display. For starters, Nimona is stocky and butch, and it's great to see variety like that with female characters, especially in comics and geek culture in general (group side-eye, everyone). I also like how Stevenson plunges into her world of science, magic, high-rises, and medieval sword-fighting with confidence and zero explanations. 

I'm sure once Nimona reappears (at the moment Nimona seems to be dead, but I'm guessing not really, since the comic is called "Nimona") we'll see more of her developing partnership with Blackheart, but for now the main interaction has been between Blackheart and Goldenloin. The essential superhero/archnemesis relationship has been analyzed by self-reflective comics, parodied by multiple Adult Swim shows and the like, and slashed to death by fangirls. And the relationship here, between Captain Hammerish bimbo Goldenloin and Dr. Horribleish beta-male Blackheart, is pretty fanservicey. Stevenson wears her love for Blackheart, and all her characters really, on her sleeve. But she has left room for interesting developments and plenty of humor.

Anyways, it's a fun comic, and also beautiful. Stevenson's figures are expressive and lovingly rendered, and the muted color palette gives the comic a storybook feel. It's a treat every Tuesday and Thursday, and still new enough to be catch-upable. 

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