Graphic Novel Review: Jasper Contreras

The graphic novel I chose to read was Nimona by Noelle Stevenson. Going in, I’ve read a fair bit of graphic novels before (works such as Saga and Y: The Last Man which are both written by Brian K. Vaughan with Fiona Staples as the artist for Saga and Pia Guerra for Y, as well as Fables by Bill Willingham and Mark Buckingham to name a few), so I’d like to think I’m pretty well-versed when it comes to these kinds of books. 

Nimona is a graphic novel that takes fantasy and science fiction elements and tells the story of a shape-shifting girl — named Nimona — who becomes the sidekick of mad-scientist supervillain Ballister Blackheart. Ballister and Ambrosius Goldenloin were once friends turned enemies and then Ballister become a villain but with a moral code which Nimona doesn’t necessarily understand. The two work together to kill or bring down the Institute of Law Enforcement and Heroics, which is what Goldenloin is a part of. 

Overall, the art style isn’t overly detailed, some frames are more simple than others and it definitely has a more cartoon style. The style the characters are in, lean more towards icons than realistic. Their facial features are quite simple and it’s up to things like their clothing styles, hair, body types, etc. to define them further. This book started off as a webcomic on Tumblr before it was ever published into a full-length novel, so I think the style it’s in had a lot to do with how it originated. Since it was written, sketched, inked, and colored by one person, I think the simplicity of the art style was necessary. 

Looking at what Scott McCloud says in the “Living in Line” chapter, Nimona wasn’t necessarily an over-emotional story. It was quite wholesome, even if there were battle scenes and character loses their arm, it was mostly about friendships and kind of dealt with issues on morality. As a whole, the drawing style was pretty clean, but in times where Nimona’s character was shifting between forms, the lines became harsher and more of a “sketch” style than smoother lines. 

Nimona by Noelle Stevenson pp. 8-9. Example of line style changes.
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