Noelle Stevenson, Grace Ellis, Shannon Watters, Brooke Allen and others Lumberjanes: To the Max edition Volume 1 (BOOM! Box 2015)
This was a generous birthday gift from a son. It’s a hefty and handsome hardback which collects eight original monthly comics, presented as the tenth edition (February 1984) of the field manual for the Lumberjanes advanced program, the Lumberjanes being a fictional version of the Girl Scouts (which I think is the US version of the Guides). The graphic adventures of five girls disrupt the manual’s practical instructions and moral exhortations. They don’t undermine its ethos, but go off on bizarre, anarchic adventures to earn their badges and save the day.
I’m definitely not part of the target audience for this one, being neither USian, nor female nor tween. I do like the central idea, as foreshadowed on the false title page where the ‘Girls’ in the phrase ‘Camp for Girls’ has been blacked out and replaced with a hand-printed ‘HARDCORE LADY-TYPES’. But the graphic style (mostly by Brooke Allen, with garish colours by Maarta Laiho) is too anarchic for my taste and the stories (mostly written by Noelle Stevenson and Grace Ellis) of spells, anagram clues, underground animated statues, zombie boys, dinosaurs and so on left me pretty unengaged, even when I could decipher what exactly was happening. I did enjoy the way any number of feminist icons (‘Holy bell hooks!’, for example, or ‘Oh my Bessie Coleman!’) are invoked in moments of high emotion.
Horses for courses. There aren’t too many 12 year old girls who would enjoy the books I do. So I’m not knocking this.