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19 November 2012

NEMI - Comic strip for the dark side


Nemi is a Norwegian comic strip, written and drawn by Lise Myhre. It made its first appearance in 1997 under the title Den svarte siden ("the Black Side" or "the Black Page"). At that time, it was a very dark cartoon concerning heavy metalsubcultures. 

Myhre has also illustrated poems by Edgar Allan Poe and André Bjerke.



Who is Nemi?
Nemi Montoya is woman about 25 years old. She almost always wears black clothes (although does very rarely wear red scarves, gloves and has a red bathtowel), has very pale skin, and very little in common with most of the rest of the world. She shares her name with a lake in Italy, Lake Nemi though this was not known by the author when the character was created, and her surname from Iñigo Montoya, a character in Lise Myhre's favourite film, The Princess Bride. It underlines Nemi's "outsider" status within Norwegian society and suggests that she may not be naturally raven-haired. This is confirmed in one cartoon where a childhood friend fails to recognise her without her "blond curls" - implying her hair is not only dyed but also straightened, however, the several comics showing Nemi as a black haired child with her long hair in bunches also possibly suggest that she may have at least once tried to fit in with normal society.


Nemi is a "tough girl" with an attitude, is not afraid to speak her mind and more often than not in confrontational ways: blunt rejections of would-be one-night stands at the pub are not uncommon. At the same time, she can be very sensitive: a devoted animal activist, she is against killing anything, including spiders, of which she is very fond. Nemi is nominally vegetarian, she will occasionally indulge in seafood; her true passion is for chocolate and Coca Cola, and she finds fault with people who prefer Pepsi over Coke. She can also feel very alone at times. She is afraid of growing up, and loathes blonde bimbos (vis. cartoon in which she insinuates that Tim is nothing more than a replaceable penis for his new blonde-bimbo girlfriend). Her fear of growing up is reflected in her appeal to readers through her childlike qualities and innocence, as well as her sense of fun.
Nemi has great difficulty keeping down a job due to her inability to sleep at a decent hour and wake up in the morning; her most steady form of employment is babysitting for her responsible and grown up friends. Not surprisingly, childlike Nemi gets along very well with children but her dark sense of humour and grim fairy tales often traumatize them. Occasionally, she works in music stores at the counter but usually is fired pretty quickly after various altercations with customers over the corrupt morals of pop stars. In Nemi III it's revealed that Nemi grew up fairly poor and was bullied at school; this is where she gets most of her cynical and insecure traits from that would hinder her in adult life. Growing up poor also affected her ability to manage money as an adult as she would rather spend her money than save it or pay her bills.




She listens to heavy metal music, and has a number of friends in those subcultures who dress likewise. She is often unemployed or employed in temporary jobs, where she often gets fired for her temper (such as beating a customer who asked for a CD of Christina Aguilera for her daughter, instead of the Alice Cooper CD Nemi had suggested).
She is fond of holidays in warmer countries, but when at the beach she uses top-grade sunblock cream to avoid tanning, which would severely damage her carefully cultivated surface image. Nemi suffers from strong allergic reactions and has advocated exterminating birch trees, on the grounds that "we kill off thousands of species every day anyway".
She likes to visit the pub, often with her friend Cyan, where she often gets drunk. Alcoholism is however not a main theme of the comic. However, as a consequence Nemi has a lot of casual sex, and often wakes up beside complete strangers. In spring 2011 she became enamoured with a beefcake boyfriend whom she converted to vegetarianism with a single look. Her boyfriend, Grim, is now a huge part of Nemi's life and the two are regularly featured together in the (UK) strip, sharing and discussing off-beat topics. The strips in which they appear can be said to mirror the strips that only feature Cyan and Leo.
Nemi's room in the apartment is almost always a mess, and she has an uncontrollable passion for chocolate.




Nemi's heroes are Edgar Allan Poe, H. P. Lovecraft, André Bjerke, J. R. R. Tolkien, Alice Cooper, W.A.S.P., The Phantom Blot, Darth Vader and Batman. She also has a passion for dragons, and hates reality shows such as Big Brother, with the exception of Extreme Makeover: Home Edition. She regards "modern art" as simply a manifestation of insecurity by would-be intellectuals, who secretly know they have nothing original to say (vis. cartoon in which Nemi visits a modern art exhibition with Cyan and Tim). Nemi has vehement opinions about art, especially music, and an enthusiastic willingness to destroy art she deems unworthy, as when she asks a bartender to lend her a CD by The Corrs, presumably to burn herself a copy of it, and then sets it on fire instead. She adores, among others, Dimmu Borgir, Laibach, Opeth, The Cure, Tori Amos, The Sisters of Mercy, Red Harvest, Nicole Blackman, Lamented Souls, Use Me, Warrior Soul, Metallica, Darkthrone, Slayer, and Alice Cooper (as mentioned above). She once met the "Showman" Alice Cooper character from The Last Temptation.


www.nemicomics.com (find link for the facebook page on this site)
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