Book: Nimona by Noelle Stevenson
Wine: 2014 Baltimore Bend Arrowhead Red
BONUS BOOZE: The Shark Bite
I’ve embraced a new-found love for comics and graphic novels over the last few years. This is due to several contributing factors:
- I want to prepare myself for the onslaught of Marvel and DC Comics movies hitting theatres over the next few years.
- A video game called “A Wolf Among Us” based on the long-running Fables series opened up a whole new world for me to immerse myself into.
- There are some really awesome graphic novels and graphic memoirs (like Maus and March) that are critically acclaimed and genuinely interest me.
So I’ve been expanding my reading and find that comics/graphic novels can be just as complex and riveting and fun and thought-provoking and moving as any other book you pull off the shelf. And Nimona is no different.
At first glance, the book is whimsical and darkly funny — it’s the story of a shapeshifting girl named Nimona who seeks out renown supervillain Lord Ballister Blackheart to become his sidekick. They plot, they scheme, and Nimona goes a little…overboard. She means well (for a villain sidekick) and Ballister tries to instill in her the idea that even villains have a code of conduct of sorts. Still, shenanigans happen.
As the story unfolds and we learn about her enigmatic past, the story grows a little darker. We learn that the Institution of Law Enforcement and Heroics, the organization that transformed Ballister into the villain he is, has dark secrets of their own that could potentially harm the people of the kingdom they’ve sworn to protect, and the “villains” set out to expose these truths. But in their clashes with the Institution, things get out of hand and we find that this little girl has early immeasurable power and is a force to be reckoned with.
This story has it all: villains that aren’t so villainous, heroes that aren’t so heroic, shapeshifters, knights, jousts, dragons, science, technology, magic, love, friendship, tests of loyalty, etc. I laughed, I cried, I read it again.
Noelle Stevenson has created and written such a wondrous thing with this web-comic-turned-graphic-novel, and she’s quickly becoming one of my favorite writers. Earlier this year I picked up Lumberjanes Vol. 1, an ongoing series that she co-writes and illustrates. It too is witty, quirky, spunky, and oh-so-smart. I really think this author is going places.
Now, for the booze contingent.
I’ve got two picks — gasp! — because I’ve read this twice now, loved it so much, and can’t tell which is a better pairing.
The first is wine, per our usual. Nimona calls for something sweet but dark, and Balitmore Bend’s Arrowhead Red fits the bill. I feel as if Nimona herself (when she is “of age” of course) would love the look and taste of this wine made from Concord grapes.
And second is a cocktail called the Shark Bite.*
1 shot of clear rum
In a glass over ice, pour a shot of rum — I prefer Don Q Cristal, a Puerto Rican rum. Fill glass with orange juice, then sink about a splash of grenadine.
When done like this it should be layered and have the same appearance as a Tequila Sunrise. However, you can also mix it up. This drink is appropriate because…
*NOTE: So, after doing some Googling I’ve determined that what I’m calling a Shark Bite is apparently not a “traditional” Shark Bite, which contains sweet & sour mix, Blue Curacao, rum, and grenadine. But this is what I make at home, and it’s delicious. So deal with it.
Nimona, by Noelle Stevenson, $12.99
Paperback 266 pages
Published 2015 by HarperTeen, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers
2014 Arrowhead Red, $10
Baltimore Bend Vineyard, Waverly MO
Avaliable for purchase at these locations.
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