“Lumberjanes” is a series published by Boom! Studios. The comic debuted in April 2014, and ran until 2020. Initially a miniseries, the book was successful, and turned into an ongoing monthly comic. “Lumberjanes” was created by editor Shannon Watters, writers Grace Ellis and ND Stevenson, and artist Gus Allen.
“Lumberjanes” is about a group of girls who attend a summer camp. The camp expects its “Lumberjane Scouts” to be prepared for just about anything, as indicated by its full name: “Miss Qiunzella Thiskwin Penniquiqul Thistle Crumpet’s Camp for Hardcore Lady Types.” Similar to Disney’s Junior Woodchucks, the camp offers merit badges in virtually everything. Badges include: “String Theory” (learning to make a cat’s cradle); “Robyn Hood” (archery); and “Pungeon Master” (telling bad puns). As you’ll notice, “Lumberjanes” contains a lot of puns.
More prominently, the camp and its surrounding forest are the home of numerous supernatural creatures and elements. Our heroes encounter and occasionally fight said creatures; they range from magical beasts to actual demigods.
The main characters in the series include:
- April: Tends to be quite headstrong and enthusiastic about earning merit badges. She also frequently makes bad puns, which early on earn her the “Pungeon Master” badge.
- Jo: A level-headed girl interested in science, technology, and engineering. A trans girl, Jo is raised by two Dads, who appear during a “Parents’ Day” story.
- Molly: A girl who’s usually seen wearing her raccoon “cap”… which is really her pet raccoon, Bubbles. Molly’s also an excellent archer.
- Mal: Despite her tough look, Mal’s actually very cautious, including a wariness of anything involving swimming or water. Mal’s main interest is music. Molly and Mal are dating each other; they’re frequently seen holding hands.
- Ripley: The youngest and most excitable/energetic member of the group. Ripley will frequently launch herself into situations before someone can actually form a plan.
- Jen: The girls’ cabin leader, who would rather do things by the book. Jen gets annoyed by the girls constantly putting themselves in danger, but does care about them.
- Rosie: The head of the camp; Rosie’s well aware of (and involved with) its supernatural goings-on. A running gag is Rosie misremembering Jen’s name.
- Barney: A fellow camper who comes out as nonbinary. Barney’s almost always hyper-prepared for any activity; they also have a pet cat (the result of an early storyline). They transferred from the “Scouting Lads,” a similar camp near the Lumberjanes’ camp; the Lads serve as the series’ Boy Scouts stand-in.
- The girls frequently evoke the names of famous women as exclamations. Among others:
- As seen above, the comic is very LGBTQ-friendly. The entire cast accept same-sex relationships and nonbinary individuals without question. They also ignore traditional or stereotypical gender roles. I also enjoy seeing LGBTQ folk who’re also people of color.
- “Lumberjanes” was nominated three times (in 2015, 2018, and 2019) for the GLAAD Media Awards’ Outstanding Comic Book. The series also won two Eisner Awards in 2015, for Best New Series and Best Publication for Teens.
- Several “Lumberjanes” prose novels were published. The series also had a crossover (that I haven’t read) with DC Comics’ “Gotham Academy,” a series published from 2014 to 2017 about a group of teens at a Gotham City boarding school.
Image from “Lumberjanes,” vol. 19 TPB. Art by Kat Leyh. (Boom! Studios)