When I write about Norwegian comic artists and cartoonists on this blog, I prefer to focus on artists that can easily be presented to an international audience, thanks to translations being available online. That’s why I’ve been writing these articles on Nemi, for instance.
One of the new, young artists who are currently published in Nemi’s comic magazine, while being internationally available at the same time, is Ida Eva Margrethe Neverdahl (sometimes she signs her comics as Ida Neverdahl, sometimes Ida Margrethe Neverdahl, sometimes Ida Eva Neverdahl...take your pick. For now, let’s just call her Ida). That is to say, she is not so new anymore, but certainly still very young. She’s 20 now, turning 21 in September, and has been in this business for five years already. It started when she won the third place in a Norwegian newspaper’s annual cartoonist contest. Two years later she got fifth place in the same contest. By now, she’s already made a bigger name for herself than most runner-ups can realistically hope for.
It's important not to lose the sense of wonder
The reason for this is of course that she has a truly original and creative expression. Naivistic and slightly mangaesque, Ida’s art is simple yet expressive. Her narrative style can best be described as taking hallucinogenic drugs that tastes like cotton candy and chocolate-covered caramels. Her comics, especially her strip gags tend to be macabre, surreal and sweet – Often all three in the same strip! Her art is cute, deceivingly cute considering what the punchline or the message can very often be.
Ida’s first work to be published nationwide was Klone og Jeg (Clone and I), the comic that earned her the aforementioned third place. It’s about a young girl named - yes - Ida who clones herself successfully, only to have the clones go horribly wrong, of course. It never got off the ground, but effectively displayed Ida’s sense of weirdness.
Scene from Klone Og Jeg (not translated). "Ida" asks her mom what most closely resembles human flesh of what they have in the fridge. You'd think that would be enough to make her mom worried, but apparently, she still needs a special alarm watch to tell her something is wrong.
Since then, the main outlet if Ida’s creativity has been the comic Gelé, or JellyVampire in English. To begin with, the strip would be used to express any idea she might have, including the beautiful and poetic Like An Artist section which was praised by Scott McCloud himself (you can read the section here).
But after a little while, a new heroine, cute, short and raven-haired, began to emerge. Lulu is Ida’s most frequently recurring character. You might have read a few of the strips on her Deviant Art page, which can be accessed here. But there are plenty more, including some short stories in addition to the regular strips, all of which I hope will be made translated into English eventually. Lulu is sweet and adorable, and loves things like unicorns, rainbows and romance but also has a dark side. In short, she’s like the essence of Ida’s comics. Sometimes she’s a princess, sometimes she’s a regular girl. Occasionally, she’s even a reality warper but more often she seems to be a victim of the forces of fate. She has her ways of dealing with those forces, however, and is rarely helpless.
There seems to be a distinct possibility that more of Lulu’s adventures will be made available to the international audience in the near future. At least if she can find the time to adjust them to the format she prefers. In her latest DA post, she announces: