Trade Review: Lumberjanes Vol 1: Beware the Kitten Holy

Writers: Noelle Stevenson & Grace Ellis
Artist: Brooke Allen
Publisher: Boom! Box
Price $14.99

As someone who primarily picks up their indy books in trade, the waiting process can be an interesting process. While you’re waiting for that first volume, lots of talk goes back and forth in the comic shop and on message boards about certain books that make you consider checking out certain books when the time finally comes. Certainly, there have been many highly praised books from the past that have left me disappointed, but enough good talk was going around for Lumberjanes that I decided to give it a try. And I’m sure glad that I did, because even though I’m about the furthest thing from the target demographic here, this turned out to be one of the most enjoyable comics I’ve read in a while.

Coming from co-creators Noelle Stevenson, Grace Ellis, and Shannon Watters, Lumberjanes is centered around the eponymous group of 5 who stumble upon a number of misadventures while attending summer camp; that is to say that this is a book about girl scouts exploring a supernatural wilderness. If that sounds like a quirky premise, that’s because it is, and the writing reflects a light-hearted sense of fun that pervades the experience. Each of our leads has a distinct voice and personality, and the dialogue provided by the writing team is filled with charm. On artistic duties, Brooke Allen matches the atmosphere of the book nicely with high-energy line work that exudes a quirkiness all its own.

So the book is quite charming, as I expected going in. But beyond this, though, the story does a very effective job establishing a good long-form story. The mysteries of the camp are introduced subtly and effectively, with a lot of moving pieces being put into place in a way that makes me anxious to come back for more.

And I must say that it’s a good thing the book is of high quality, because it’s something that the industry needs more of: a book with compelling female protagonists. Our heroes don’t sit around daydreaming about boys or anything like that, but rather lead lives of action, and indeed kick a lot of ass.

Lumberjanes is one of those rare books that adults can enjoy and then pass along to their kids to read. It provides both boys and girls with good role models and provides good life lessons (the words to the Lumberjanes pledge in particular are good words to live by). Maybe it’s not very complex and doesn’t have a lot you can sink your teeth into, but that won’t keep you from enjoying yourself. This is a book that can be enjoyed across a wide range of demographics, and it’s one that really should be. Whether for yourself or for your kids, be sure to give it a look.

Verdict: 4 out of 5

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