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Comic Strip / Nemi

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Nemi is a comic strip by Norwegian writer/artist Lise Myhre, starring the titular heroine Nemi Montoya and charts her life and the lives of her close friends.

The comic began life in 1997 as Den svarte siden (trans.: 'The Black Side' or 'The Black Page') before becoming Nemi. Now the strip has its own monthly magazine, and is published daily in newspapers across Scandinavia. It became popular in the UK and Ireland when it was printed daily in Metro, a free newspaper distributed in train stations and some major cities, although Metro dropped all its comic strips in 2015.

This strip contains examples of:

  • All Girls Want Bad Boys: Nemi. One strip emphasizes it quite well:
    Cyan: (to Nemi while she's leaving with a thug-faced, tattoo-covered brute) "If it's the last thing I do, I'll find a guy who is right for you."
    Nemi: "But I have so much fun with the guys who are wrong for me!"
  • Art Evolution: Caricatured extras became less common in more recent comics.
  • Author Avatar: Zig-zagged: Lise Myhre is black-haired and full of attitude, and have projected many of her own opinions onto Nemi, but she's also stated many times that Nemi is not meant to be her and they also have many differences.
    • One strip features Lise Myhre herself, trying to convince a drunk and particularly annoying fan that she is not Nemi.
  • Author Tract: Nemi strips often preach about the cartoonist's opinions of animal rights and whatnot. In fact, a staple of Nemi comics is how they switch back and forth between hilarious humor to dead serious strips or even short stories about death, war, child abuse, rape, and other very serious topics.
  • Back to Front: A comic where Nemi and a friend discussed backwards music videos had its panels arranged in reverse order.
  • Bait-and-Switch: In a Sunday page, a Norwegian woman sits down to talk with a mother of Chinese ethnicity while the mother's (caucasian) husband is playing with their child. The woman tells the mother that she feels so bad for foreign spouses that are taken from their home countries and brought to Norway when they marry Norwegians. The mother, in thick Northern Norwegian dialect, no less, answers
    Mother: Don't judge me too hard, he's just from Sweden.
  • Be Careful What You Wish For: One strip has Nemi wish upon the first star in the night sky that her life could be like a fairytale, but then displays the foresight to actually consider the level of misery such a wish could invoke by screaming the addendum at the star "but none of that H. C. Andersen bullshit!"
  • Be Yourself: Parodied in one strip where Nemi tells Cyan she's nervous to talk to a guy she noticed at a bar. Cyan tells her to just relax and be herself. Cue Nemi letting out a giant belch in front of the guy. He leaves and she turns to Cyan saying "Nope, didn't work."
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall: Nemi once opened a comic by telling the readers about her being a sexy single. Her friend Cyan walked in, and asked Nemi if she were trying to use the comic as a classified ad.
  • Child Hater: Nemi doesn't explicitly hate children, but she's not very fond of them. Lise Myhre made it clear in an interview however that she likes (and has) children herself. Nemi will, however, get protective of children who are bullied, as she was bullied herself. And as of 2017, she adores Cyan's daughter.
    Random toddler: *stares*
  • Cloud Cuckoolander: At times, Nemi is almost a child trapped in an adult's body. At other times, she's simply nuts.
  • Cloud Cuckoolanders Minder: Cyan will frequently be this for Nemi.
  • Cultural Translation: The English-translated books incorporate British slang and references.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Cyan, Nemi's best friend.
  • The Ditz: Nemi is not meant to be one, but her behavior fits into the trope. Mostly when drunk off her gourd. This is also part of her rejection of "growing up" and her commitment to "be herself".
  • Double Standard: Abuse, Female on Male: One strip has Cyan dress in sexy underwear for her boyfriend Tim, only for him to be bored and ask if she can't "dress up as a nurse or something?" The next picture shows him with a real nurse as Cyan apparently beat him up so bad he ended up at the hospital.
  • Draco in Leather Pants:
  • Dumb Blonde:
    • Often contrasted with Nemi, right down to where "the only blonde Nemi can tolerate" is a golden retriever.
    • Nemi once had a nightmare where she was one of these. Which is even funnier after it was revealed in one comic that Nemi is a natural blonde who dyes her hair.
  • Eerie Pale-Skinned Brunette: Nemi in spades.
  • Embarrassing Ringtone: A LARP gathering was interrupted by a ringing cellphone. The last panel has the guilty party telling that, worst of all, the ringtone was a Britney Spears song.
  • The Eeyore: Ofelia is a chubby, long-haired girl who has a rather depressed and disillusioned outlook on life.
  • Fangirl: Nemi is a big fan of the fantasy genre in general, but her love for The Lord of the Rings occasionally takes on a near-religious tone.
  • Firemen Are Hot: Nemi's boyfriend is already Mr. Fanservice, and this is reinforced by him being a firefighter.
  • Flipping the Bird:
    • Nemi claimed she can do it with her toes.
    • There is a strip where she and her heavy metal friends play a version of rock-scissors-paper with the gestures being the sign of the horn and the middle finger and an unidentified one.
    • More than once with Nemi, but one particularly hilarious instance was when she talked to two engaged/married people.
    Person 1: Here's my engagement ring.
    Person 2: Here's my wedding ring.
    Nemi: (Flips them the bird) Here's mine.
  • Good Girls Avoid Abortion: Cyan finds herself pregnant from a one-night stand in Prague with a guy she can't even remember the name or face of, but still decides to keep the child. This is less a statement on abortion, however, and more simply Cyan wanting a child.
  • Groin Attack: When Cyan's boyfriend Tim cheated on her, Nemi did this to him (unbeknownst to Cyan).
    Cyan: So my boyfriend is possibly having sex with someone else right now.
    Nemi: If so I doubt he's enjoying it.
  • Has a Type: Nemi loves long-haired men and states in one strip that it's a criteria for her to date someone.
  • Heart Beats out of Chest: Nemi, in one strip where she's up for a job interview (see the Imagine the Audience Naked entry for more).
  • Huge Guy, Tiny Girl: Nemi's boyfriend, Grim, appears taller and buffer than she does.
  • Hypocritical Humor:
    • Made of this. Nemi often criticizes behaviors while performing some version of them herself. Lise has even stated that this is what she goes for in many cases, as she considers society to be made of this.
    • In-universe, when Cyan relates to Nemi how she told her unattractive male friend (who was sad about his dates never working out) that any girl would be lucky to have him – and to her horror he asked her out.
    Nemi: There, there. We are all hypocrites.
    • Nemi often makes fun of Dumb Blonde girls, but one strip has her wooing a Dumb Blond guy, taking advantage of him being dumb to get him to sleep with her.
    Cyan: Oh so you have nothing against blond guys?
  • Imagine the Audience Naked: When Nemi is nervous over a job interview, Cyan advises her to imagine the interviewer in their underwear, as it's "a reminder that they're just regular people." Nemi follows Cyan's advice, which backfires when she pictures the hunky interviewer in his underpants, resulting in her going gaga for him. She later angrily tells Cyan "But he wasn't!"
  • Invisible Parents: Nemi's parents weren't seen for a long time, or her dad had very brief cameos at most. In 2017, however, Myhre started doing more strips suddenly giving a lot of focus to Nemi's dad as well as her little brother, while Nemi's mom is still nowhere to be seen. The first appearance of Nemi's father and his (then) wife strongly implied that she's deceased.
  • It's Popular, Now It Sucks!: In-universe, Nemi declines to show a customer to a certain record she adores out of fear that it will become this.
    • Another strip has a emo kid asking why Nemi is talking about The Lord of The Rings since that movie came out years ago. Nemi internally debates with herself if she should punch the kid, or if she should just rejoice the fact that she finally gets to have the world's best book series for herself again. She settles for punching the kid.
  • Just the Introduction to the Opposites: One strip has two goth parents looking disapprovingly at how their non-goth daughter is dressed.
  • The Lad-ette: Nemi, especially when she admitted that she found out her boyfriend Grim's name after they slept together for the first time.
  • Longing for Fictionland: even in adulthood, Nemi dreams of adventures in a fantasy universe, and will even become aggressive when people remind her that dragons and other supernatural creatures aren't real.
  • Lustful Melt: Happens to Nemi when she watches Game of Thrones (specifically, Kahl Drogo), to her boyfriend's displeasure.
  • Mayan Doomsday: Ofelia believes in this. Well, used to.
  • Metaphorgotten: The father of a kid Nemi babysits pays her extra to tell the kid about the birds and the bees. So she tells him about birds. And bees.
  • Mood Whiplash: One strip shows that looking through her Facebook feed is this for Nemi.
  • My Eyes Are Up Here:
    • Nemi once wears a pig snout on a date just to see how long it would take the guy to notice.
    • Another strip parodies this, when Grim's Conan the Barbarian shirt draws Nemi's attention away from his eyes.
  • Never Gets Fat: Nemi is an avid drinker, eats chocolate every day and hates working out, and yet keeps a slim figure.
  • Not a Morning Person: Nemi often starts the day bleary-eyed and hungover. At one point a kid on her street had other children pay him to show them her morning face, which was accomplished through a ding-dong-ditch with a delayed ditch.
  • Nothing Is the Same Anymore: The comic has changed a lot over the years, which Lise is well aware of. Nemi even lampshades it in one strip, talking about how Grimm is on tour, her fathers are moving out of her childhood home, and her brother is probably moving out soon. She just wants her life to go back to normal and stable again.
    Cyan: Nemi, I'm pregnant.
    Nemi: Jerk.
  • Not What It Looks Like: Inverted. In one strip, Nemi wanted snacks but was too lazy to go out to buy something, and the only snack in her home is a cheesepuff she lost between the floorboards a while ago. Once Grimm comes home to see her vacuuming the floor, she claims "This... Is exactly what it looks like"
  • Odd Couple: With Cyan.
    • Lampshaded: As Nemi explains it, their complete difference is the reason they work so well together, since they can pull the brakes on each other when their negative traits threaten to spiral out of control.
    • One strip plays it for laughs with Nemi talking about how they like different candies from the same mixed bag, and different seats on the plane, and concludes that the trick is to disagree about "the important things".
  • Only One Name: Everyone except Nemi Montoya.
    • There is a short story in which Cyan dreams that she is dead, and we actually get to see her tombstone, complete with her full name. It is, however, in too small letters to read.
  • Only Sane Woman - Cyan again, though she definitely has her quirks.
  • Perky Goth: Nemi, at least when she's had a bit to drink, eats chocolate or talks about her favorite movies and rock artists. And you're going to want to keep her perky, especially considering the alternative.
  • Perverse Sexual Lust: Nemi has revealed that she thinks about the Phantom Blot when she masturbates. English translations make it Batman, since that's kind of an obscure Mickey Mouse villain note 
  • Posthumous Popularity Potential: Nemi tries to invoke this by making some paintings, then selling them under a fake name while posing as his assistant. When the art is well-known enough, she'd fake his death and rake in the dough.
  • Really Gets Around: Nemi is not ashamed of sleeping with many men.
  • Remember the New Guy?: Ofelia, the obese, dumpy woman, originally only appeared in her own Sunday pages that seemed to have no connection to the other strips note . Then she started hanging out with Nemi and Cyan, and now she's part of the regular cast. There was never any strip about her first meeting with Nemi and company, they just treat her as if she's always been there.
  • Serious Business:
    • If your favorite rock artists aren't Alice Cooper, Tori Amos or WASP, Nemi will be happy to tell you why they should be.
    • And do not tell her that Mithril is not a real word when playing Scrabble.
  • Soapbox Sadie: Nemi is a vegetarian, but she seems more interested in complaining about injustice in general.
  • Shout-Out: Lots and lots and lots and lots.
    • Nemi Montoya is named after Lake Nemi, and Inigo Montoya from Lise Myhre's favorite movie The Princess Bride.
    • In one strip Nemi is watching the film with Cyan and Tim and annoying them by quoting every line.
    • In one strip, a poster of Frank and the words "wake up, Donnie" is seen on the wall.
    • And then there is the number of band shirts worn throughout the years. There are lots of Shout outs.
    • Alice Cooper once makes an appearance as Nemi's invisible friend and mentor. Nemi is quite fond of Tori Amos as well.
    • There are all The Lord of the Rings references.
    • One strip even references Death Note as Nemi thinks she sees Ryuk and comments that "I don't need a whole book, I could do a lot with even just one page" only for the figure she saw to reveal an old woman with a spiky coat instead.
  • Slut-Shaming: Played for Laughs in one strip where Cyan finds out her new boyfriend slept with Nemi long time ago. She and Nemi both try to laugh about it, until Cyan can't help but crack.
    Cyan: Well, it was bound to happen sometime. You did sleep with half the city.
    Nemi: Did I mention he has a small willy?
  • Smoking Is Cool: Nemi's cigarette, complete with beautiful twirling smoke, featured prominently in the early comics and even on some front book and comic covers. Lise Myhre once expressed frustration at how people criticized her for this, and said that "I give my readers enough 'cred' to be confident they won't start smoking because of Nemi". Later, however, Nemi's smoking habit died away, and Myhre now says she is "startled" whenever she sees Nemi with a cigarette.
  • Stylistic Suck: Nemi's version of Titanic (1997) cuts from Jack and Rose together on the boat, to sock puppets of Jack and Rose making wedding plans after coming to America.
  • Sugar-and-Ice Personality: Nemi will switch from aloof, cynical and wise to childish, naive and hammy between strips.
  • Surprise Pregnancy: A 2017 strip has Cyan finding out she's pregnant after a one-night stand in Prague.
  • Sweet Tooth: Nemi LOVES chocolate.
  • Take That!:
    • For some reason, Nemi really loathed the Britpop wave of the mid-nineties. Of course, her opinions on what is good music and what is not remain strong.
      Nemi: I don't see why people think we metal heads are violent. Everyone knows that all the real psychos listen to Britpop.
      [cut to a masked person dumping a body while playing Oops I Did It Again on his discman]
    • Nemi never misses an opportunity to take a swipe at Nightwish either.
  • Toilet Seat Divorce: Several strips are dedicated to Cyan thinking how much she loves Leo and in general how perfect they are for one another, only for her to suddenly break up with him (off-screen no less) after a conversation in which he wondered about something insignificant while she was being philosophical, making her realize how "small" he seemed.
  • Too Much Information: One strip has Nemi complaining on all the personal information people give each other upon meeting and adds "I don't tell people I've just met that I masturbate while thinking of the Phantom Blot."
    Cyan: [grimaces] "And some things people really don't need to know!"
  • Tongue on the Flagpole: Even well past age twenty, Nemi still does this.
  • The Unreveal: Is Nemi's trademark pale skin natural, or is it in fact makeup? We're never told. At least one strip had Nemi trying not to laugh when a guy told her he liked her for how natural she was. Lise Myhre's comment on the matter was "A vampire never tells..."
  • Wham Episode:
    • Nemi meeting Grimm, whom she is still dating as of 2021.
    • Both of Cyan's breakups.
    • Cyan's pregnancy.
  • Womanchild: Nemi, so much. Cyan is usually the more responsible one, but she has her moments.