Lumberjanes: ground-breaking, wonderful, hilarious comic about adventurous girls
I'm late to the party on Lumberjanes: I bought the first collection when it came out last summer, then promptly lost it in my overseas move; last weekend, I read it and the next two books and fell head over heels in love with this series of graphic novels for kids and adults.
Lumberjanes began life as an 8-issue series written by Marvel/Disney alumnus Noelle Stevenson and a rotating crew of talented woman comics creators -- the entire series is woman-led and -produced -- that tells the story of the five girls of Roanoke cabin at Miss Quinzella Thiskwin Penniquiqul Thistle Crumpet's Camp for Hardcore Lady Types, where strange things are afoot.
The initial 8-book run was so popular that the series continued, and was licensed as a live-action movie from Fox. It's easy to see why: there's rarely been a more likable cast of characters in kids' comic history, each one with her own distinctive personality, quirks and challenges. They're variously gonzo, timid, adventurous, fearless, cunning, and hilarious, and their friendships leap off the page to skewer the reader's heart.
The first two books tell a single long story that introduces the many Lumberjanes mysteries -- and the many badges that a Lumberjane can earn during her summers at camp. The third book is an anthology that features guest contributions from some of my favorite comics creators, like the incredible Faith Erin Hicks, whose affection for this story shines out like a lighthouse beam (specifically, like the beam of the enchanted lighthouse in the first two books).
The comic has moved from strength to strength during its run, sensitively and intelligently tackling one character's trans identity and a romance between two others, in a way that's both sweet and age-appropriate for the youngest readers of the series (Boom Box, the publisher, rates it for eight and up).
What's more, the creators are building out a huge, satisfying world with many well-drawn peripheral characters (I want to go to a camp with counselors like the ones we only meet for a panel or two in book three!). It's no wonder that the comic has spawned such a huge fandom, producing their own Lumberjanes merit badges (which you can wear on this official $48 Lumberjanes denim jacket).
Always fast-paced, always funny, Lumberjanes nevertheless is a story about characters, about intense friendship, and about overcoming personal challenges with help from your friends.
Lumberjanes Vol. 1: Beware The Kitten Holy [Noelle Stevenson, Brooke A Allen, Shannon Watters/Boom Box]
Lumberjanes Vol. 2: Friendship To The Max [Noelle Stevenson, Brooke A Allen, Shannon Watters/Boom Box]
Lumberjanes Vol. 3: A Terrible Plan [Noelle Stevenson, Brooke A Allen, Shannon Watters/Boom Box]
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