Tuesday, April 29, 2014

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Lumberjanes #1

Lumberjanes #1
Written by Noelle Stevenson and Grace Ellis (series created by Noelle Stevenson, Grace Ellis and Shannon Watters)
Illustrated by Brooke Allen, Maarta Laiho and Aubrey Aiese

Lumberjanes is a terrifically fun, spooky and good-natured book which nicely captures the excitement and danger that is an essential part of growing up. I hesitate to use the term "all-ages" because for some reason that term seems to scare people off. However, this is a book that should appeal to kids, grown ups, vampires, werewolves, and anyone else.

This is the story of five "hardcore lady types" spending the summer at Miss Quinzella Thiskwin Penniquiquil Thistle Crumpet's Camp for Girls Hardcore Lady Types. They do what any self-respecting camper would do when they encounter a vision of a bear woman; they sneak off into the woods at night. All of a sudden they're surrounded and attacked by three-eyed foxes. The lady types more than hold their own, and the foxes eventually disappear into smoke before delivering a mysterious message. The campers are unsuccessful at sneaking back into their bunk, and their no-fun counselor Jen catches them and brings them to the bunk of Rosie the camp director, who we discover is a lot cooler than Jen, and who knows something about the mysterious goings on in the woods. She prepares the girls that they may see some strange things this summer...

This is an enjoyable, accessible first issue. Each of the girls has a distinct personality and we can see immediately that they're strong, brave and resourceful, and the creators effectively demonstrate their friendship. They're also illustrated to show a diversity of age, ethnicity and body types, so a kid (or grownup, for that matter) could easily find a character with whom they could identify. The art here is somewhat "cartoony" while still conveying emotional reality along with the fantastical. The story is written to be accessible for kids, but not in a condescending way. There are some very funny moments, and the dialogue has wit and feels modern. There's enough silliness, mystery, action and humor here to keep readers of all ages engaged and wanting to know more (and joining the Lumberjanes because it seems awesome). A strong debut.

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