Written by Grace Ellis, Noelle Stevenson
Art by Brooke Allen
Published by BOOM! Studios
Release Date: April 9, 2014
Noelle Stevenson and Grace Ellis have written an unapologetically cute story about lady friendships, summer camp and supernatural forest beasts, and we all owe them a thank you. Lumberjanes is the book that so many have asked for, both accessible and girl friendly without sacrificing entertainment value for the older set. Whether you read it as a nostalgia trip, because you dig Nimona, or because Brook Allen’s art is just brain-meltingly fun, just make sure you read it.
I would argue this book isn’t just for girls – boys dig hunting weird stuff in the woods too – but it’s definitely a book I want to hand to every 11-18 year old I see and go LOOK A COMIC THAT WON’T MAKE YOU FEEL GROSS. This is definitely a story with resonance for anyone with summer camp or Girl Scout experience. The bond between the girls seems natural at the outset, despite some at least outward differences. The personalities are not very fleshed out yet, but it’s easy to see a diversity of tastes and backgrounds just by looking at them. The first issue really only teases the true scope and premise of the book; look for a deeper dive on both in issue 2.
The character designs are absolutely wonderful, and Allen renders them beautifully. Different body types, different hair, different complexions – you won’t find any worn out teenage girl stereotypes in these pages. Everything is mischievous and kinetic, definitely on the weird side. My only complaint is that only one of the girls appears to embrace the “girly girl” aesthetic; it’s important that depictions of girls getting into adventures don’t accidentally value the “tomboy” stereotype over girls who love pink and glitter and hairbows. Those girls can have adventures too. That said, it’s great to see girls of all shapes and sizes on the page, from the Lumberjanes themselves to their fabulous Camp Director, Rosie.
While this book won’t appeal to everyone, it’s important that everyone be aware of it. Comics has room for all kinds of books, and there need to be more like this one. Girls doing for girls is important in comics especially, because it is traditionally dominated by male characters and creators. I’m not saying those guys are all bad; I’m just saying an all-female creative team and a book celebrating young female friendships shouldn’t be such a rarity in 2014. Hats off to Stevenson, Ellis, Allen, and everyone else involved for making this a reality. I’m sure they’ve all earned their Up All Night merit badges.
The Verdict: 9.0/10