When BOOM! Studios announced Lumberjanes was coming in April, I must admit I was quite excited. A talented team and a premise that just sounded phenomenally fun, I knew I had to check it out. Well, the first issue is now all finished up and it’s time to find out if it lives up to the hype.
If you missed the initial reveal, Lumberjanes is about a group of friends at summer camp who end up stumbling into some spooky situations in the woods. I don’t want to spoil the story but let’s just say it’s rather absurd, but in the absolute best way possible. I normally mention in a review if a comic is able to make me laugh and I can gleefully proclaim that yes, Lumberjanes #1 had me cackling aloud at this loveable bunch and their crazy woodland encounter. Noelle Stevenson and Grace Eillis are the two writers of the series and they’ve crafted a script that’s genuinely funny but with real warmth to it too.
The issue pretty much starts us right in the action, we meet a red hooded girl trekking through the forest with torch in hand, meanwhile something else is creeping closer to her. Soon after we meet the rest of the team and things quickly get crazier as we learn what’s lurking out in the dark. As for how it looks, I cannot possibly say enough nice things about the art, it’s fantastic. If you handed this comic to a child, which you should, they’d probably ask you if they could go watch the cartoon too because the whole issue looks like it’s from a high-quality modern kids show. The issue is drawn by Brooke Allen and whether it’s the cast or the backdrop, it’s all done in a quirky, fun, style. Maarta Laiho contributes her talent to the colours and couldn’t be a better fit, action scenes are filled with bright, dynamic colours while the opening page looks downright foreboding with its dark trees and misty blue sky. The characters are brilliantly diverse too, you could spot which girl you’re looking at from a mile away. Nether shares their style of clothing or even hairstyle with any other member of the group. This diversity is celebrated in their personalities too, each has a unique voice and different reactions throughout the issue. Basically, these are characters that have clearly been very carefully designed one by one, every single protagonist is appealing in their own way.
Underlining how meticulously the comic has been put together is the fact that even the lettering, contributed by Aubrey Aiese, noticeably matches that same lively look that flows through the whole story. Little changes in the font, like colour and size, tweak the atmosphere and the curvy word balloons add that extra bit of amusing charm.
I have to take a moment to comment on how delightfully badass it is to see a comic showing a group of young girls on an adventure where nobody is relegated to silly stereotypes. Kids are bound to see themselves in at least one of the heroines and they make great role models too, they’re all about working together and friendship (to the max). If you’re a parent then this is a comic that your kid, of any gender, is going to love.
Other than being your kid’s next favourite comic, Lumberjanes #1 works perfectly as a comic for just about everybody else as well. At its core it’s just a damn entertaining issue, everything meshes together with a cohesive feel. It’s very different from what’s dominating in comics right now, you’ll struggle to find anything else on the stands that’s as energetic and fun as this. I wouldn’t be surprised if at conventions you start hearing a lot of people say Lumberjanes was the first comic that they read. If you’re a beginner to comic books, but you like TV programs like Regular Show or Adventure Time, then you’ll eat this up. It’s totally positioned to blow up and bring in some new fans. Unfortunately a lot of comics that try something daring under-perform, as the average person just doesn’t know it exists. For the sake of encouraging more like this, and just to enjoy a damn funny comic, give it a go. Afterwards pass it on to the nearest kid as this is one of the best child friendly comics I’ve read in a long time.