I wish I were a Lumberjane! Why couldn't I have had more of a Lumberjanes experience when I was in Girl Guides (Canadian version of Girl Scouts)? That is mostly what I thought as I read through volumes 1-5 of the Lumberjanes comic book series published by Boom! Studios. "Lumberjanes" is the name of a type of girl scouts that go to Miss Qiunzella Thiskwin Penniquiqul Thistle Crumpet's Camp for Hardcore Lady-Types (that was not easy to type, hehe!), a summer camp for girls led by its director, Rosie. Their motto is "Friendship to the max!" and friendship is therefore very important at this camp, as well as to the story. At this summer camp, the girls stay in cabins, partake in various activities, and earn badges. It seems like a somewhat normal summer camp except for the fact that there are supernatural creatures in the surrounding woods and all sorts of crazy, magical things happen!
|Back Row (Left to Right): Jo, Molly, Mal|
Front Row (Left to Right): Ripley, April
The main characters that we follow throughout the stories are five young girls that have become best friends. These girls are Jo, Molly, Mal, April, and Ripley. They are all in the same cabin, the Roanoke cabin, which is led by a counselor named Jen. These five girls somehow end up being the girls at the camp who experience the most encounters with the supernatural creatures around them. The various types of crazy creatures that they encounter include dinosaurs, Greek gods and goddesses, and mermaids, just to name a few, and the girls go on the most amazing adventures!
Each girl is different and has her own strengths. April, for example, is physically strong while Mal comes up with good plans. Jo can be quite serious and Molly is sweet and caring. Ripley is just plain cute and comedic. Everyone needs someone like Ripley in their life! Also, aren't Molly and Mal the cutest couple ever? Each character in this comics series is designed so perfectly, each with their own strengths and flaws, that they are each so lovable and it is hard to pick a favourite.
A huge part of the Lumberjanes comics is about how girls are strong and smart and can have amazing adventures just like anyone else can! There are messages of how being physically strong can help in certain situations but being mentally strong and smart can help in other situations. And, of course, the biggest message of all is that friendship is important and you don't have to go through life's challenges alone. If you work together with your friends, you can accomplish anything! The Lumberjanes even work together with the Scouting Lads at the boy scouts camp nearby and make a new friend there named Barney who they work together with several times during the comics.
These two pages are some of my favourite pages in all of the Lumberjanes comics that I've read so far. The dialogue on both of these pages shows how part of the comics is about the characters trying to figure out who they really are as people, which the summer camps contribute to in both Molly and Barney's cases. The first page is from chapter 12 in Lumberjanes Volume 3: A Terrible Plan. Molly admits to Mal that she didn't really know who she was before she went to camp, she just knew the kind of person that she didn't want to be. She doesn't really want to go back home after summer camp is over because she doesn't know who she is back home but she does know who she is when she is at camp. The second page is from chapter 16 in Lumberjanes Volume 4: Out Of Time. Barney asks Jo if she has ever felt like, deep down inside, she belonged somewhere else. In other parts of the comics, we see that Barney wishes that he could be a Lumberjane because he's more interested in the adventures that they go on rather than what the Scouting Lads do. Both of these pages show instances of characters admitting that they questioned themselves as people and they have been figuring out who they are deep down inside.
These comics were such fun reads and I look forward to reading more! I think that they are great for people of all ages to read, whether you are a kid or an adult. It was a bit hard for me to get into the story at first because such strange things happen and the language and story structure is geared towards kids, but as I kept reading, the crazy adventures became really interesting and kept me wanting more.
The only big problem that I had with these comics was the excerpts from the Lumberjanes Field Manual at the beginning of each chapter/comic since each one had English errors and typos in it. I kept wondering how so many errors and typos could slip by into all of the published books. These excerpts were the only places where I found errors (so many errors) though, so I wasn't cringing through the dialogue of the comics... just the excerpts (so so many errors).
I still encourage everyone to read them, though, to enjoy these fun stories about strong female characters and their awesome adventures!