Friendship to the Max! A Review of Lumberjanes!

A supercool review of a supercool comic series.

“I solemnly swear to do my best
Every day. And in all that I do,
To be brave and strong,
To be truthful and compassionate,
To be interesting and interested,
To pay attention and question
The world around me,
To think of others first,
To always help and protect my friends
Then there’s a line about god or whatever
And to make the world a better place
For Lumberjane scouts
And for everyone else.”
— The Lumberjane Pledge, Issue 1

I recently discovered Lumberjanes, a comic published by Boom! Box, an offshoot of Boom! Studios. I strongly recommend it.

How do you know if this is the comic for you? Well, do you like strong awesome friendships? Supernatural camp shenanigans? How about exciting adventures and well-developed female characters?

A quick synopsis of Lumberjanes is that the comic is about a group of friends, who are attending a summer camp for “hardcore lady types”, and their involvement in a supernatural mystery that seems to involve both the camp and the surrounding area.

I love this comic for so many reasons: the female cast is well developed and diverse, friendship is emphasized over competition, and the female characters are not cast as passive participants within the narrative.

A Lumberjanes panel: "Roger that Yellowtail, get in position."

Every character is distinct both in looks and in personality. This is something to celebrate in a world where animators for both video games and children’s movies are limiting female representation while citing that women are just too difficult to animate or are too hard to diversify. Further, each of the characters’ distinct personality traits bring something to the group dynamics and the supportive friendship they share.

“Now I’m not going to lie to you girls, you’re gonna see some stuff this summer. Stuff you might not understand. It’ll be hard. But you’re scouts, and you’re made of tougher stuff. So remember that pledge that you took, and stick together no matter what. You hear me?” — Rosie the Camp Director, Issue 1

For example, no one is singled out for being too smart, too overeager, or for not being “feminine” enough. It is often the ways that they differ that allow them success in their quests; each character brings something different to the group dynamic that strengthens the group as a whole. And these characters are also bad ass.

They pursue the mystery, they solve the clues, and they save the day.

I could go on about how funny these comics are or about how they include references to important women in history (which is so incredibly awesome). I could elaborate on how I would recommend the comics to everyone I know or about how they become interactive (through their inclusion of playlists created by the characters and themed around the Lumberjanes’ adventures). But really, you should just read them.

Seriously, go earn some camp badges. You won’t regret it.

Don’t believe me? Believe Amy (and the creators she interviews).