If I were to write a graphic novel (and I just might someday!) you can almost guarantee it will include villains, mythical beasts, and a good amount of silliness.
Taking that into consideration, it’s absolutely no surprise that I absolutely love Noelle Stevenson’s Nimona. Just look at this blurb:
Nemeses! Dragons! Science! Symbolism!
Nimona is an impulsive young 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.
Mythical beasts? Does a shapeshift who turns into a dragon count? Yes.
Silliness? THE NAME OF HIS NEMESIS IS GOLDENLOIN. YES YES YES.
I mean, it’s everything I could ever want from a story. I love it so much I’m almost mad that it even exists.
Of course, I know that that might not be enough for everyone else to decide to read this book, so let me also highlight a couple of other great things about this graphic novel.
The relationships in this story are lovely. This graphic novel revolves around two main relationships: that between villain and sidekick and that between villain and hero. Both relationships grow throughout, and it’s really fun to see how they change as time progresses. It’s not always roses and butterflies, but I think that’s a good thing. Relationships, no matter what kind, are hard work sometimes.
I mean, c’mon, there’s scenes where supervillain and sidekick are just laying back and watching a movie together. How sweet is that? It’s really hard not to become attached to these guys.
Plus, it’s not really as simple as villains vs. the world. Lord Ballister Blackheart may have a badass name, but while following along with his story you’ll learn that he’s not just your typical guy out to destroy the world. I like that nothing is as black and white as one would think because it keeps me on my toes as a reader. (And, let’s face it, life is never that black and white in reality so why should it be so in a book?)
I also love that the characters themselves are very hesitant to stray away from the typical hero vs villain storyline when Nimona first enters the story. There are rules to they way they operate before she shows up, and she just crashses in there and changes everything. Who doesn’t love a badass chick who wreaks havoc and changes the way the world works?
The art really suits the story. I’ve seen some reviews of this graphic novel where people have marked down the book because they didn’t care for the art style, and fine, to each their own. But I actually really love Noelle Stevenson’s style of art. It can be simple at times with minimal background elements and sketchy lines, but I think it works. She finds a way to communicate what she needs to and the action scenes that take place are just great.
(Plus, there’s one page in the story that features character cameos from Lord of the Rings, Star Wars, The Hunger Games, and Breaking Bad. If you blink you might miss it, I definitely did, but it’s so fun to see connections to other shows/movies that I love.)
Just read it already.
If you’re interested in checking out Nimona, you can actually read the first three chapters online for free. The illustrations have been updated for the book (but are laid out all the same) so you’re able to really get a good idea of what it looks like. The online sneak peak also provides an additional piece of commentary at the bottom of each page such as “Goldenloin runs like an idiot”, which I think is a lot of fun.
Oh oh oh, and they’re working on an animated film adaptation that is supposedly going to be released in 2020. So if you read it now, you can be one of those cool kids who can say “I knew about that when it was just a book.” That’s important, right? Surely everyone wants to be able to say that?
Anyways, this is pretty much the book I want to write and will always hold a special place on my bookshelf. I hope if you’ve read it or choose to read it after hearing my thoughts, you’ll love it as much as I do.
Have you read Nimona? Did you love it as much as I did? If you haven’t, do you plan on it? What do think about the first three chapters (that you can read for free)? And what main elements would be in a story if YOU were to write one right now?