It’s been a while since our last Webcomics Wednesday post, and with the bold new look of our blog, we decided to make a bold new move and . . . do something we did a long time ago! But there’s never been a better time to pay attention to webcomics. More and more comics artists are taking to the Internet to showcase their work, and publishers have been taking notice. First Second, for instance, often makes selections of some of their upcoming titles available online before they’re published on paper (or on your e-reader, whatever the case may be), and other artists—such as Thomas Siddel, author and artist of Gunnerkrigg Court—begin their work online only to be picked up by traditional publishers later. They even have their own category at the Eisner awards! Oh, and did I mention they’re free? Keep an eye on this spot—I’ll be highlighting a new favorite here every other week.
This fortnight’s webcomic of choice is Nimona, by Noelle Stevenson. I love a good story about an unlikely girl hero, particularly one who’s just a little bit bad, and Nimona fits the bill. Nimona is a spunky, pink-haired, arch-nemesis-in-training, and she wheedles her way into being Lord Blackheart’s apprentice. Well, not so much wheedling as being a kick-ass shapeshifter.
Nimona is way into villainy, and she struggles to understand Blackheart’s utterly decent, rule-following approach to evil. When he suggests kidnapping the king, Nimona votes for murder (and blowing up some buildings). When he asks to her to kindly leave the goons alone, she turns into a vicious wolf, because she’s a bad guy, right? But despite her more violent tendencies, Nimona wins Blackheart over—shapeshifting is an awesome power to have in a supervillain’s arsenal, after all, and besides, she’s super charming.
Apart from the quirky mix of sci-fi (lab coats, floating glowing screens, impressive tech!) and fantasy (knights, armor, jousting, and magic dragons!), superb comedic timing, and the playful and expressive art, the thing I love best about Nimona is the endearing relationships that singlehandedly deepen the plot and mysterious backstories and engender so much grounding soulfulness.
There are only a few more pages left of Nimona, but that means you can head over to Stevenson’s website and read all the chapters in one go (or wait until 2015, when HarperCollins will publish it on paper!). And if you’re as much a fan of her storytelling as I am, keep an eye out for the critically acclaimed Lumberjanes, the girl-tastic kids comic about a bunch of tween girls at a wilderness camp run by a tattooed Rosie-the-Riveter lookalike, currently being published in single issues by BOOM.