Nimona by Noelle Stevenson

Inimona_final‘ve long been a fan of Gingerhaze (Noelle Stevenson’s online persona), but I didn’t read Nimona when it was a webcomic.  I hate waiting for new updates (which is also why I watch Netflix more than TV).  But now it’s out in book form, and IT IS SO GOOD.

Nimona is clever, gorgeously drawn in a deceptively simplistic animation, and incredibly touching while also being laugh-out-loud funny on multiple occasions.  In the words of Stevenson herself:

Nimona is about a supervillain mad scientist knight and his shapeshifting, trigger-happy girl sidekick, the titular Nimona. Ballister is actually a pretty nice guy, but Nimona just wants to blow stuff up. They go up against Sir Goldenloin, the codpiece-wearing swishy-haired hero, and the duplicitous institution he represents. It all takes place in a medieval-futuristic world.

It’s dedicated “to all the monster girls” and I am in love with the raw emotion behind Nimona’s story.  She’s a shapeshifter, dangerous and angry.  She joins Ballister Blackheart in supervillainy in one of the coolest settings I’ve seen:  there are kings and knights alongside science labs and touch screens.  Teaming up against Goldenloin (who has a secret past with Blackheart) and the good (evil?) Institute, Nimona and Blackheart become good friends…until Nimona’s monstrous side gets out of hand.

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Nimona is every girl who has felt Too Much, who feels used and abused, who knows trusting people is the first step toward being betrayed.  This comic gets deep, y’all.  The fact that she makes jokes about “I’m a shark!” is just icing on top of a really emotional story about beauty and the beast – but genderswapped!  I’m SUCH a fan.

You can read the first three comics on Stevenson’s website HERE.  Though be forewarned, the drawing style matures throughout the story (it was written over the course of a couple years).  It gets SO GOOD.  Now I’m off to dive back into the Internet world of Gingerhaze.


Book Jacket

Nimona is an impulsive shapeshifter with a knack for villainy.  Lord Ballister Blackheart is a villain with a vendetta.

As sidekick and supervillain, Nimona and Lord Blackheart are about to wreak some serious havoc.  Their mission: prove to the kingdom that Sir Ambrosius Goldenloin and his buddies at the Institution of Law Enforcement and Heroics aren’t the heroes everyone thinks they are.

Explosions will be involved.  Science and sharks will be too.

But as small acts of mischief escalate into a vicious battle, Lord Blackheart realizes that Nimona’s powers are as murky and mysterious as her past.  And her unpredictable wild side might be more dangerous than he is willing to admit.

Nemeses!  Dragons!  Science!  Symbolism!

All these and more await in this brilliantly subversive, sharply irreverent epic from Noelle Stevenson, based on her award-winning web comic.

Release Date: May 2015

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Sisters by Raina Telgemeier

I’ve loved Telgemeier’s previous cartoon reminiscences of adolescence, Smile and Drama.  She captures the confusion, dreams, and crankiness of being a teenager through perfect pictures and timely dialogue.  This time we shift away from school to her home life, especially her relationship with her sister during a three week vacation one summer.

I loved the way Telgemeier portrays family as annoying people you have to put up with but will cling to desperately when things get rough.  No one has the power to lift you up or tear you down quite like your siblings.  And these relationship changes take place in the smallest gestures, like taking off headphones in the car.  The book is a quick sweet look at the ups and downs of family life from the perspective of a 14-year-old girl.  More, please!

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Raina can’t wait to be a big sister.  But once Amara is born, things aren’t quite how she expected them to be.  Amara is cute, but she’s also a cranky, grouchy baby, and mostly prefers to play by herself.  Their relationship doesn’t improve much over the years.  But when a baby brother enters the picture, and later, when something doesn’t seem right between their parents, they realize they must figure out how to get along.  They are sisters, after all.

Raina Telgemeier uses her signature humor and charm to tell the story of her relationship with her little sister, which unfolds during the course of a road trip from their home in San Francisco to a family reunion in Colorado.

Release Date:  August 2014

Want another opinion?  Try reviews by Stacked and Alice Marvels.