With our daughter Maeve now two and a half years old, I’ve been keeping an eye out for more all-ages comics. I’ve already introduced Maeve to Lumberjanes, Space Dumplins, Squirrel Girl, and even My Little Pony comics. She picked that last one out herself at Secret Headquarters comics store.
After hearing a bit of a buzz (at Panels and I forget where else) about I bought Nimona (and Space Dumplins) to give as a Christmas present for Maeve’s cousins. I wasn’t sure which to give to which cousin, so I read through Nimona. And was touched. I almost don’t want to give it to my brother’s kids. I’ll pick up a copy for myself again soon.
Nimona is written and drawn by Noelle Stevenson, one of the co-creators of Lumberjanes. It is a ~300-page comics novel, marketed for teens, but with plenty of humor that will go over kids heads. It is funny, but also full of heart, with a well-crafted pace and story arc. The drawings are simple but very expressive and fluid.
It is a fantasy story that takes place in middle ages type of world, but with various modern devices, including touch-screens, etc. There are plenty of castles, magic, and monsters, but science, too. It plays around with some familiar tropes – heroes, villains, sidekicks – but turns all of these on their ears. The villain is honorable, and the people running the kingdom don’t quite have everyone’s best interests in mind.
After reading the first few pages (which are available on-line at Noelle Stevenson’s website) I laughed and smiled and I was hooked.
One of the thoughts that I had about Nimona is that today’s generation of younger comics creators don’t have the superhero comics baggage that I do. I love comics, and I tend toward creators who have one foot in the comics hero genre work that I grew up reading, and the other foot in moving comics forward into something more substantial. The comics creators I am describing include Alan Moore, Mike Mignola, and others. Many many of today’s creators, including Noelle Stevenson (also many others – Craig Thompson, Alison Bechdel) are approaching the medium in a fresh, unconstrained way. These creators tackling new subjects and breathing life into tired old subjects. And this gives me hope for the comics that my daughter will grow up reading.
Go read Nimona. It’s a treat.