Women's Time

11 February 2010 Nikola Shahpazov
To what extent does Nemi resemble and differ from you?
We have enough in common to be good friends, and far from enough for Nemi to be anywhere near an auto biography.

Have there been occasions when people have referred to you as Nemi rather than as Lise Myhre?
It happens all the time, it´s just something that comes with my job that I don’t give much thought to anymore.

Has Nemi made you a famous person in Norway?
Nemi has been a household name in Norway for years, and for that I am grateful, but I myself am a private person. Someone said cartoonists are shy exhibitionists, I find that statement funny and
somewhat true.

Is still fun creating Nemi episodes after all these years?
I LOVE what I do. If/when the day comes when I don’t enjoy it anymore, it will show in the strips, and that will be the time to quit.

Will there ever be a Nemi animated series?
I doubt it. Nemi is and has been my girl for good or bad since the get go, I’m really not comfortable with the idea of letting anyone else take
the wheel.

When you created Nemi did you ever imagine she would one day speak
Bulgarian?
NO! And I can’t tell you how delighted I am to have been wrong about that!

Nemi now has several local editions in Europe. How do you achieve the type of humour that appeals to such different nations such as Norwegians, Englishmen and Bulgarians?
I´m so very thankful for every single reader I have, but I wouldn’t know how to write specifically for any nation or group of people. I try to make stuff I’d like to read myself, thinking if I like it, maybe others will as well.

How often do you base a Nemi strip on real stories?
Not often at all, I swear. Well, “based on” is a loose term… Every impulse I take in will affect me somehow, and whatever I write has to do with something I’ve seen to be true, in my life or with others. But for it to become a comic, I have to distort it, and what comes out on paper is close to never exactly what happened to me.

What kind of people are the Nemi fans? Outsiders? Goths? Or on the contrary – well-to-do managers and bankers?
You know, on my last signing the first person in line was a woman who was over 60. And the person after her was a seventeen year old black metal dude, and that’s honestly how it´s always been. Nemi has friends most places.

What kind of music do you enjoy? And how does that reflect on the Nemi series?
I like goth and metal, like Nemi. I listen to other stuff too, unlike her.

In other interviews you’ve mentioned designing CD covers. Could you mention a bunch of albums on whose covers you’ve been working on?
I´ve made covers for instance for Goth Minister, Aura Noir, Ved buens ende and Lamented Souls. Thing is; before Nemi I did all kinds of different work, I was bartending, I cleaned peoples houses and illustrated books too. Journalists think it’s cool to mention the album covers, but it’s not like that was a full time job or anything.

I assume you’re more or less interested in the Norwegian black metal scene. Ever thought of starting a black metal comic series?
I´m married to a black metal musician, and have a lot of friend from that scene, but I´ve never been a big fan of that shangre myself. Nemi started out as a goth comic, but I could never have worked with any comic for so many years under those kind of limitations.

Is the comic scene in Norway strong and growing?
I think so, yes.

What other comic artists do you enjoy and which ones have influenced your style?
The only one who I know have influenced me (although I’m sure there are many) is Swedish Charlie Christensen. I think Fables is amazing, and except for Mutts, I only read Norwegian strip based series.

The first Nemi comic collection in Bulgarian is out now by Roboread Publishing, 20BGN

 

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