Must Read: Lumberjanes

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Lumberjanes is one of the best ongoing series in the world of comics today. It’s a story about female friendships, adventure and navigating the tricky process of growing up. It’s funny, charming, a little bit insane, and you should be reading it.

The comic follows 5 friends, Jo, April, Molly, Mal and Riley, during their summer at a Camp ‘for Hardcore Lady-Types’ whose mantra is ‘Friendship to the Max!’ They tend to ignore the set activities from their put upon camp counsellor and instead end up being sucked into supernatural adventures while running around the peculiar forests that surround them.

The story was created by Shannon Waters, Grace Ellis and Noelle Stevenson and you can tell how high the calibre of this team is by how bright, bold and really well defined each of the characters are. Their places in the group are very quickly established in the first story ‘Beware the kitten holy’ thanks to the excellent writing from Noelle Stevenson and Grace Ellis, with wonderful artwork from Brooke A. Allan.

The artwork from Allen is incredible, it perfectly encapsulates the crazy and off kilter world of the Lumberjanes. The characters are so expressive and excitable that they just jump off the page at you and you get a real sense of the excitement and wonderment from the girls as they start exploring their surroundings. The book also has an amazing cast of supporting characters with diverse backgrounds and vivid personalities.

The comic deals with lot’s of social issues in a really refreshingly uneventful way. There’s a same sex relationship developing between two characters that isn’t fetishised, demonised or foreshadowed as doomed from the start. It’s handled with great sweetness and a lightness of touch that never comes across as forced or exploitative. It’s wonderful how Queer characters are represented and portrayed at a younger age dealing with exploring their sexuality and gender roles in a totally normal way.
Later in the story another character in the team comes out as Trans, the comic looks into this character’s fear and isolation at dealing with this on her own and focuses on her fears about what reactions will be to her once she shares this. The supportive reactions to this event are what really makes this series so special. Stories like this are so important, comics needs more variety and representation of all kinds, not just among the more adult titles, but with all ages books.

Lumberjanes fills a void around representation of LGBQT characters for younger audiences. We need to see more of these stories about navigating growing up when you realise that you don’t fit in with the societal norms.

Lumberjanes also plugs a hole in the comics industry by being aimed at younger kids, showcasing strengths of female friendships without resorting to stereotyping or sexist tropes. There’s some other great comics centred around female friendships with Giant Days and Paper Girls to name a few, but they don’t have the charm or the heart Lumberjanes does. This series is really something special.

So far there are 4 trades of it out now and a fifth coming in December, each one has a self contained story, but there’s also a really intriguing arc going through the whole comic that makes you think things aren’t quite what they seem behind the scenes.

There’s also a film in development with 20th Century Fox, The Wrap broke the news that a screenplay was being developed by Will Widger and upcoming screenwriter while Boom! Studio Executives Ross Richie and Stephen Christy are on as executive producers. The team are keen to get a female director in to oversee the development of this project. We really hope this one goes forward, this would make an incredible live action adventure!

 

Source: The Wrap
GS Blogger: Sarawezzie

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