Early when my ex and I started dating she gifted me a copy of Nimona by Noelle Stevenson. To say that I loved it is an understatement, but I have a feeling I never truly expressed to my ex how much I loved that gift.
Nimona is the reason why I know the new She Ra will be awesome.
Let’s be honest, the original She Ra was just as terrible as all the other 80’s cartoons; high concept with poor execution. It’s okay to admit that most of the stuff we watched in our youth, the foundational stories that shaped us, were utter garbage. That doesn’t invalidate the effect they had on us.
Thankfully the world has changed since the 80’s, much for the better as far as I’m concerned, and a new She Ra needs an artist that can capture the essence of the original’s concept without the baggage an existing creation brings with it.
In Nimona, Stevenson created a powerful and interesting female character that was at turns violent and vulnerable, delivering an emotional gut punch by the end of the story. As a writer I can appreciate the craftsmanship needed to accomplish that.
There’s been a lot of talk on Twitter recently about how the character design for She Ra in the new cartoon is “boyish” or “butch”. All I have to say to that is, so what? The look is in the same mold as Nimona or Stevenson’s other major work, Lumberjanes (another comic I would recommend, especially for your daughter if you have one). I appreciate the fact that the new She Ra looks like she could actually put up a real fight and is wearing practical armour instead of resembling a skinny model in a corset.
The new design riffs on the old while retaining the crucial iconic elements, a worthy update. If you don’t like it, that’s fine, that just means the character or even the show is not for you. Live with it.
I know I’m not the target market for the new She Ra, but with Noelle Stevenson at the helm I’m certainly going to check it out when it drops on Netflix in November.