Lumberjanes

Noelle Stevenson, Grace Ellis, Shannon Watters, Brooke Allen and others Lumberjanes: To the Max edition Volume 1 (BOOM! Box 2015)

1608868095This 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.

4 responses to “Lumberjanes

  1. I know nothing of Lumberjanes – apart from what you have just taught me here. In Japan there are both Boy and Girl Scouts – taking their cue from the US – as with almost everything, btw. I did however want to praise you for neatly side-stepping reference to USians as “Americans” – something which I know gets up the craw of all those other nations which have the right equally to call themselves “Americans”! Bravo! USians forever!

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  2. Hi Jim. There may be a film in the pipeline, and who knows, it may be the new Goonies. I nicked ‘USian’ from Justine Larbalestier. I prefer its slight science-fictional feel to the other main option, ‘USers’.

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  3. Oh my goodness – the USers! Now that is a truly bizarre yet deliciously ironic term – how good is that. Roll on the movie! As we roll on up to Singapore and on to Sabah – including Sandakan.

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  4. Happy travels, Jim. The odd thing is that the people I know who use the term USers are very good, generally left-leaning people from the US who use it without any evident sense of the hidden meaning.

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