Monday, November 16, 2015

Nimona by Noelle Stevenson


      Nimona is the printed published version of a popular webcomic by Noelle Stevenson, who goes by the screenname Gingerhaze online. While Stevenson dabbles in webcomic presentations of multiple types (stand-alones, multi-pannel, fanart, etc.) Nimona was a serial webcomic that she started posting in June of 2012 while attending Maryland Institute College of Art. It doubled as her senior thesis. It was published as a book earlier this year, in May 2015.
     Nimona follows the story of a disgraced knight turned mad scientist, Lord Ballister Blackheart, and his feisty shape-shifting sidekick, Nimona in their quest to overthrow the government through the means of supervillany--all the while being pursued by Blackheart's former friend and now nemesis, Sir Ambrosius Goldenloin. Through the course of the story the alliances and moral codes of the two men begin to warp as secrets, cover-ups, and conspiracies begin to come to light, and the increasingly nefarious government desperately attempts to capture Nimona, who becomes more violent and unstable as the story progresses, causing both Blackheart and Goldenloin to question both their motives and alliances (respectively) as well as reevaluating their long-standing rivalry.
     In a mash-up of both fantasy and science fiction genres, Nimona overturns the traditional good-guy/bad-guy dichotomy and in doing so adds an element of realism that often is absent from many fairytale type stories. By presenting both sides as neither strictly good or strictly evil, the characters are more approachable and more easily identified with, rather than just being caricatures of good and evil. I also think that incorporating both magic and science into the world setting makes the world more believable and easily imagined, and raises so many discussion points about how magic and science intertwine and coexist without marginalising one or the other. Indeed, this is something that I always wanted to see addressed in the Harry Potter universe (in an official canon capacity) but thusfar has only been addressed in speculation on internet forums. Stevenson brings these ideas to life in her comic.
      I really enjoyed Nimona, it definitely is a storyline that I would love to see continued if Noelle Stevenson ever decides to continue the story in a sequel. In the meantime, I will definitely enjoy following her other webcomics, her fanart doodles and blog entries on her Tumblr, and her contributions to the ongoing graphic novels The Lumberjanes.
      Nimona by Noelle Stevenson is available at the Ocean City Free Public Library.

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