The Immortal Nerd

Creator: Hanna-Pirita Lehkonen

A review by Billy Seguire

The Immortal Nerd CoverNokia is a mess. After becoming immortal on her 20th birthday, all she wants to do with her eternal life is stay in her bedroom on the space station New Rauma and watch cat videos. Her passion drives her to move to Earth to become a Meme Archeologist, where she gains a new group of friends who support her through wacky adventures of self discovery, friendship, and love. The Immortal Nerd is just so overwhelmingly fun that it makes me want to scream.

There’s an aura of positivity bursting off the pages of The Immortal Nerd that compels binge-reading, with content that’s welcoming to all readers. From major instances such as Nokia being a woman of colour who doesn’t shave her legs to smaller details like minor characters in nonbinary clothing, it all shows a specific mindset that pushes the comic towards total inclusion. You can tell each character is fully realized and there’s no defaulting to a standard race or identity at any point in the story. Nokia herself is one of the most introverted characters I’ve ever read in a comic, but her friendships allow her to experience life while still being absolutely true to who she is. Her unkempt hair gives me life.

Bright colours pop off the page and make up for a minimalist art style that evolves over the 79 episodes of The Immortal Nerd posted so far. With thick black lines and solid blocks of colour, there’s a handmade aesthetic to The Immortal Nerd that speaks more towards creating an approachable style than any inexperience in artistry. Each “episode” has its own unique colour palette, meaning things like clothing and hair colour may change for characters from episode to episode.

The Immortal Nerd Friends

The drawback to this positive tone is the knowledge that any potential conflict will never be played to its strongest extent. Clever ideas are used to sidestep conflict but ultimately eliminate the stakes. On the other hand, that aspect is both embraced as time goes on to the point where a gang is “littering the city” and, to my greatest delight, occasionally subverted for an extended arc that ends up giving some real and genuine payoff. I found myself caring less and less as time went on and just enjoyed hanging out with the characters and their world. The fact that every interaction ends on a positive note gives reading the comic a safety net where you can just enjoy the story without stress.

Characters like Nokia, Ivalo, and Trash Lord are absolute treasures. You’d think a violent gang member wouldn’t blush. This one does when his crush talks to him. You just fall into seeing these friendships blossom and thrive as the comic goes on. There’s drama and conflict, but none of it is long lasting and everyone in the comic is just so gosh darned GOOD at their core that it makes reading it a blast.

All this without even mentioning the robots, technology, and new social structures that make the year 4062 feel like a true sci-fi vision of the future. One of the cleverest things The Immortal Nerd does to emphasise its futuristic setting is to play with the use of language and the subtle ways it’s evolved over another two thousand millennia. The way Nokia and her friends talk occasionally feels “off” in the way they use phrases like “I’m moving on the Earth”. It wasn’t until after I read the full published run of The Immortal Nerd that I realized Lehkonen is actually Finnish. While some of these ticks may be a language issue, it nevertheless added to my experience to make this story feel both futuristic and true to the characters.

I also really want to highlight the lettering of The Immortal Nerd. Lehkonen’s hand-lettered comics add personality to every character. Whether it’s in the size of the font when the characters have SO MUCH EMOTION or Doge the cat’s “UUAAAA” that I’m forced to say out loud every time I read it. It’s a great example of the lettering matching the art. While it’s fairly standard for webcomic artists to handle their own lettering, Lehkonen’s style works so well to imbue tone into the voice of these characters.

The Immortal Nerd Doge UUAAAA

The Verdict

Read It! I had mixed expectations for The Immortal Nerd but it won me over with its positivity, charm, and social consciousness. This would be a fantastic pick-me-up to read on a day when you need to smile and The Immortal Nerd is really just a fun time. With over 79 episodes of the comic posted, it’s a terrific binge for the next time you feel like spending the rest of your immortal life reading webcomics online.

Billy Seguire
A Toronto-based writer and reviewer who thrives on good science-fiction and stories that defy expectations. Always tries to find a way to be excited about what he's doing. Definitely isn't just two kids in a trenchcoat. Co-Host of Scooby Dos or Scooby Don'ts.

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