Nimona’s creator won’t let Netflix change its hero

When the animated movie nimuna Arrives on Netflix June 30, fans of the original webcomic nimuna And The graphic novel you collect You will immediately notice huge changes in the story. The style of humor has changed radically, even while maintaining some specific gags. The retro-futuristic world of the film – a mixture of science fiction technology and medieval culture – is somewhat similar to that of the book, but it has a lot more structure and history, with more focus on the ruling class. The second protagonist, whose name is conspicuously changed from Ballister Blackheart to Ballister Boldheart, is a softer, helpless character in the film, and his story is dramatically different.



On one of the press days before nimunaAfter its release, writer and artist N.D. Stephenson explained that all of these changes seemed necessary, but none were as significant as preserving the title character as she was originally written.

“On the edit, I knew things were going to change,” Stephenson said in a presentation broadcast live to select media outlets. “But it was always important to me that Nimuna herself remained at the center of this story, and that the things that made her not be removed, polished, or simplified too much.”

Nimona, a mysterious shape-shifter who arrives at Ballister’s secret fortress and demands to be his assistant after being framed as a villain, is the heart of both the book and movie version of the story. While she gets a much more explicit backstory in the movie, she’s still the most iconic character from the book, both in terms of her looks and her personality.

Image: Netflix

“The only thing I think is really important about this story to me—and it was really important to see it in the movie—is the darkness at its heart,” said Stevenson. “Nimona isn’t just quirky, she’s not just fun, she’s not just a great heroine. She has a lot of fear and pain in her heart, and that comes in the form of anger. That was something I found very healing at the time.”

Stephenson, who came across as fleeting from the start nimuna In 2012 as an art school project, I only recently realized how much Nimona’s ability to change her own form was a fleeting, unconscious fantasy. In his Substack, I’m fine I’m fine I just understandStevenson recently published A particularly funny and self-influenced cartoon blog About looking at comedy and how he wrote about it at the time without realizing what he was expressing himself. And in his diary for 2020 The fire does not go outHe collects a comic diary from the time period, tracing his psychological struggles and difficulties of self-expression, which he channeled back into the original. nimuna.

“I was looking for an outlet for my feelings, and I felt like I couldn’t really express them,” Stevenson told Press Day. But through her, I can do it. Eventually, she becomes this monster — the monster everyone has been telling her she is. And she’s just like, You know what you want, a monster? You got one. here i am. This was something I really needed to see. And it was kind of a hard sell for a female character, then and now.”

While the film’s expression of this idea is radically different from the book, it comes from the same place emotionally. “They stayed completely true to that and brought it to life,” Stevenson said. “They took that further, to show that she’s not a problem to be solved. She’s not a person who needs to be fixed. You don’t have to understand her to love her. And I think that would mean a lot to a lot of people. The book is for monster girls. And I think there are a lot of girls and boys out there.” monsters and others who will see themselves in them.”

Photo: ND Stevenson via Substack

Stevenson’s insistence that Nimuna remain recognizable in the film extended to aspects of her character design, color scheme, and movement. “One of the things that was really important to me was her body type,” he said. “She’s fat and curvy, but she’s never had sex, and she’s gender non-conforming. She just has her own unique style. She chooses to look that way. And so that was something I really wanted to make sure of — no matter how much.” [the story] It may change in adaptation, and that’s something that has remained true.”

“It was very moving for me to see her come to life, to see her that way and be like, thats it. This is Nimuna. It is this character who brought me through many difficult times in my youthStephenson said. “Such imagination has been a strength for me. And I think a lot of kids would feel the same way. It can’t be locked in. It can’t be constrained in any way.” […] So I’m really excited for the kids to be able to see themselves in this fantasy of power.”

nimuna Arrives on Netflix June 30th.

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