Wednesday, May 02, 2018

Book-A-Day 2018 #122: Lumberjanes, Vol. 3: A Terrible Plan by Noelle Stevenson, Shannon Watters, and Carolyn Nowak

Once again, I need to lead with the obvious disclaimer: I am not the person to tell you about stories of female friendship, not being female and not overly thrilled with friendship, either. But Lumberjanes is not a comic just for young lady-persons, so I can read and enjoy it as well. You can, too, and perhaps you will.

(See my posts on the first and second volumes for similar disclaimers and thoughts.)

The third collection is Lumberjanes: A Terrible Plan, written still by Noelle Stevenson and Shannon Watters. This time out, the bulk of the art is by Carolyn Nowak, though the first issue here has a lot of short pieces -- campfire ghost stories told by various girls -- from a number of other artists, including Antick Musings favorite Faith Erin Hicks. As before, this book reprints four issues, and it forms (more or less) one larger story.

Well, the first issue here (number 9 [1]) is a standalone, with those individual ghost stories, told around a campfire, as is traditional. But the rest of the book reprints three issues that tell a connected narrative.

Thought I should admit it's not really one story: this is the "split the party" story, which any series about a close-knit group of people must have eventually. Mal and Molly are off in the woods together, in a totally not-a-date kind of way, to be together because they're really good friends and...OK, it's really a date, a cute one, when they're not being pursued by bears and trapped in an alternate universe ruled by dinosaurs.

The rest of the girls are left in camp, and don't want to get into anything too fun while Mal and Molly are away. So they decide to use this free day to get at least one "easy" badge. This is not as simple as they think, obviously.

As usual, the real draw of Lumberjanes is the relationships: all of the characters are real and interesting. Their conversation is zippy and truer, and their exploits are unrealistic in the way a good TV cartoon show is -- there's a close enough relation to real life that you can see it, but this world is better and more exciting.

And, of course, they're all women (or girls, I suppose, if you want to put it that way). That's still unusual for comics for stupid historical reasons.

I'll end the way I started: this is a great comic for young lady-persons, and if you are in charge of any of them, you should give them the chance to read it. If not, you still might like it yourself, if you like people and ladies and youth and friendship and camping and hi-jinks and endless possibilities.

[1] Number 9. Number 9. Number 9. turn me on, dead man

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