It’s my favorite day of the week – Guest Review Wednesday! And today, we welcome back the stunning, the fabulous, the one and only Katherine H. of Yuri no Boke to speak on one of the most anticipated and popular new western comics of the year, The Lumberjanes. (Which I am also reading and I assure you, it’s fantastic.) So let’s give Katherine a warm welcome back and settle in for the ride. The podium is yours, Katherine!
Right now, I am following two ongoing non-manga comic book series- the new Ms. Marvel, which is great, and Lumberjanes, which is super-weird and a lot of fun.
Lumberjanes being awesome is no surprise given its pedigree. It’s co-written by Noelle Stevenson, the creator of one of my favorite webcomics, Nimona. If you read Autostraddle like I do, you may have noticed that one of their writers, Grace Ellis, is Lumberjanes’ other writer.
Brooke A. Allen is this series’ illustrator and Maarta Lairo is its colorist. I’m not familiar with Allen and Lairo’s other work, but they do a great job here. Allen’s art is expressive and doesn’t skimp on details without being too busy, and the composition is well done. Allen and Lairo’s linework and coloring pop with the energy this story requires, also.
Lumberjanes is basically about a group of awesome Girl Scouts punching their way out of strange and dangerous situations at sleep away camp. Jo, April, Mal, Molly, and Ripley are spending the summer in the same cabin at the Lumberjanes sleep-away camp.
The first issue opens the story with their fighting demonic foxes after following an old woman they saw turn into a bear into the woods. Their cabin chaperone Jen is exasperated when she catches them returning, but their den mother Rosie not only doesn’t punish them, she seems to have a bead on how preternatural the forest around their camp is when they tell her what they saw.
In issue 2, Jen takes the girls canoeing, and its becomes weird again and more awesome. Amidst all the action, two of the girls become a couple and it’s pretty adorable. I expect this series to keep handling them well given Grace’s Autostraddle-ness and how well Noelle has handled the queer characters in Nimona. Issue 2 of Lumberjanes ends with the characters underground, pretty much accepting that they’re not going to have a normal summer.
This series doesn’t take itself too seriously- there’s a lot of banter and visual gags and even potentially grim scenes have goofy moments and punchlines, like the message the foxes spell, April’s response to the dragon, and pretty much everything Ripley does. The pacing is brisk and the characters are all likable so far.
In short, you should at least try Lumberjanes if you like stories featuring featuring well-written female leads doing cool stuff- basically if you’re Okazu’s target audience. The cute lesbian couple is the cherry on top. This was originally meant to be an eight issue mini-series, but it has sold well enough to be promoted to ongoing, and I’m glad for it.
Story: It’s just intro so far, but for entertainment, it’s a 9
Erica here: I agree with every word of this review. This is a terrific comic book, one of four western comics I am currently following (along with Ms. Marvel, My Little Pony ~ Friendship is Magic, and Rocket Girl.) By far and away, Lumberjanes is the the most creative of this creative bunch.