Camping already has its own dangers: ravenous coyotes, spine-tingling arachnids, the dark, and fear of losing the toilet paper roll. Adding paranormal creatures and mysteries would just plant me as being a solid city girl even more. Although if I had friends like these, I may survive it.
In April 2014, Boom Box (imprint of Boom studios) had introduced Lumberjanes. Lumberjanes launches you right into the action of five girls at a scout camp who are encountering strange, unexplainable creatures. Some reason, their camp director isn’t fazed or concerned.
While they continue to earn their badges, mysteries and danger plaque our scouts. From a sudden appearance of a river monster to hipster yetis, the friends have realized that something weird is going on. No matter what happens though, they get through it together.
Issue #5 continues from the mystery of the boy scouts camp. Those scouts had suddenly transformed from sweet boys to ravenous monsters. With all these occurrences, their camp counselor has finally noticed. So the safest thing should be to have the girls stay at the camp right? Right?
The series is from the creative mind of Noelle Stevenson and was first known for her webcomic, Nimona. If your familiar with the style and humor of that webcomic, then it won’t be difficult to turn you into a Lumberjane fan.
The artwork is done by Brooke Allen. The art style complements the over all feeling of the comic. It’s bright, full of colors, and wacky movements in large panels. However,there were some panels where the action movements were a little confusing. The more busier the panel, the less refined it was. Overall all, there is sweet,young, and goofy atmosphere trough the panels. Even with the spookier parts.
The first three issues did not grab my attention. They were a little bit too silly, a little bit too corny, and seemed to be going nowhere. I was wondering if these girls were even actually seeing anything. It was too comical the way their camp counselor would arrive at a moment where the girls adventure could easily be dismissed.The issues really reminded me of a television sitcom where the adventures would solve itself in a goofy way.
The comic series was being described as Buffy the Vampire Series meets Gravity Falls. In terms of Gravity Falls, it makes sense with the strange stuff happening at camp. Not so much for Buffy the Vampire Slayer. There was nothing in this comic that implied anything with the style of Buffy. If you take the power of friendship from Babysitters Club , add in some Goonies adventures and Gravity Falls, then you would have Lumberjanes.
Just because it has paranormal stuff DOES NOT mean it’s like Buffy the Vampire Slayer Unless it truly pertains to the source material, enough with using that description to rope in female readership.
It is not until issue #4 and #5 that the story gets really fun. An actual plot starts to take effect. Each of the female characters take on a more distinct character instead of just being a cartoon type. The friendship of the group also becomes more meaningful as they work together to solve the mysteries and survive. They will even put themselves in dangerous situations to save one another. I also appreciate that the friendship aspect is not overly saccharine (sorry Babysitters Club) nor is it meant to fracture (as it seems so far). The friendship in this series is what a lot of people would relate to: strong and unquestionable.
I am also adoring the sweet romance. It speaks volumes about blushing young love. I also really love the nod to Jurassic Park. I love when I can catch pop culture references. Bonus: there’s a DIY instruction for making your own friendship bracelet in Issue #5!
The story is picking up steam and is definitely getting more interesting. Instead of picking up the next issue, I would rather wait for a graphic novel of the series since it is building up tension like a novel. Since my enthusiasm for the series is pretty guarded, I added the Talkin’ Comics Weekly segment that Amy Dallen did with the creators. There is a lot of love and enthusiasm for the series so I felt that the segment presents two different takes on the series.
Lumberjanes is a good recommendation for fans of the style of Adventure Time and Gravity Falls. This comic is a good introduction for anyone who is looking for a more light-hearted read. The creators have emphasized that even though the main characters are women, this is open to everyone no matter which age.
Lumberjanes #5 is available September 10, 2014.