Nimona, Nimona, Nimona. Where to begin?

Nimona, a webcomic by Noelle Stevenson, is also aforementioned webcomic’s central character, although at the moment villain-hero Ballister Blackheart is approximately a co-protagonist. Nimona is a young woman who waltzes into Blackheart’s life with the intention of becoming his assistant in villainy. Initially reluctant to take her on, Blackheart changes his mind when Nimona shapeshifts into a shark.

Although Nimona always refers to Blackheart as “Boss,” their relationship tends to be father-and-teenage-daughter in nature, complete with enthusiasm, sulking, temper tantrums, and a good dose of humour. Nimona considers Blackheart’s villainous deeds against king (in plan more than deed) and the Institute (full name: The Institution of Law Enforcement and Heroics. Dum da da dummmmm… cue theme music for the bad guys) too tame, and her new employer finds himself having to rein in his new side-kick’s willingness to shed blood and overthrow the kingdom.

Although a supervillain, Ballister Blackheart is the ethical heart of the comic. His nemesis the Institute’s pet perfect knight Sir Ambrosius Goldenloin, former and disarming best friend, is quite content for things to continue as they were: Ballister attempts a crime, Goldie stops him, they duel, Ballister escapes. But things are about to change. In this kingdom, things are about to become a lot more serious, and a lot more deadly.

Nimona isn’t the only thing that isn’t what it seems.


Background info, for those who are curious: Noelle Stevenson recently completed her studies at Maryland Institute College of Art, with Nimona as her senior thesis. The storyline is expected to wrap up in the next six months, and will be published by HarperCollins next year. She is also co-authoring Lumberjanes, as Yash mentioned recently. Her website is here: (also Nimona is updated on Tuesdays and Thursdays, and has an enthusiastic and creative fan community, whose comments are often worth reading. Speculation about plot points, characters, and probable outcomes is rife, as are intertextual references to a wide variety of sources from Star Wars to Doctor Who to Avatar: The Last Airbender and beyond, and filking – rewording “Let it Go” is popular at the moment, and some fans have posted links so other fans can hear their performances. The comic itself has at least one metaphysical reference to the commenters, many of whom are, or claim to be, tin foil hat clad.

Why you might like Nimona: the characters are endearing and grow in depth, as do the plot twists. The humour ranges from verbal to dramatic to physical and back again. The semi-medieval world (but with SCIENCE and magic) is recognizable yet not at all our own, and there is always something going on. The story is lively, and very literate (that is, well-written and uses literary techniques deftly).

Why you might not like Nimona: well, a lot of people die. It’s not terribly gory, mostly the blood looks like red paint. Really, I’m not sure why you wouldn’t like Nimona, unless you really can’t stand ambiguity regarding who the villains are and who the heroes are, or complicated characters and messy relationships.

Read Nimona here:

Oh and a post you might want to check out is here:

Oh and a really big thank you to Yash, who recommended Nimona to me in the first place.