Lumberjumbies, I need to confess something: I am in freaking love with this issue. This is my favorite issue of Lumberjanes since Issue #5 gave us dinosaurs, Bubbles and friendship bracelets. Actually, this might be my favorite single issue of any comic so far this year. In telling the story of the first day of summer camp at Miss Quinzella Thiskwin Penniquiqul Thistle Crumpet’s Camp for Hardcore Lady Types and how the Roanoke Cabin campers met, writers Noelle Stevenson and Shannon Watters and original series artist Brooke A. Allen, who returns after four issues away, have really gotten to the heart of what the entire series is about.
It’s really super incredibly cool to see some background on these characters we’ve come to love so much. First we see Jo, sitting in the back of a very fancy car, with her two dads driving in the front seat. This family is almost too adorable. We’ve seen hints of this before, like when she built a robot meant to decorate her cake a few issues back, but here we straight up hear that Jo, just like both of her dads, is pretty much a genius. But she just wants one more summer of being a normal girl, and of hanging out with her bff, April. Ugh, the way that Jo’s dads clearly love her so much, and the way she reacts with the typical teenage rolling of the eyes, but also a ton of love for them is so perfect.
Next we meet Ripley’s large mixed-race Latin@ family (notice how her dad calls her mija) complete with a Tween Magazine-reading Abuela and siblings with names like Deckard and Leeloo (and probably Marty and Sarah and Alan, I’m pretty sure about that last one). But this isn’t the Ripley we’re used to; instead she has waist-length hair and is a mixture of standoffish and maybe not quite ready for camp. She’s got gum in her hair, a frown on her face for Jen and a death grip on her stuffed unicorn Mr. Sparkles. Luckily, April shows up with her snacks and terrific hair styling skills and Ripley’s pretty quickly the smiling and running-around-happy camper that we’re used to.
Then we see Mal pull up in a taxi cab? We had known that she lied and said she was going to music camp, but this makes it seem like the situation is maybe more serious? Up until now, I had just imagined she was up to some sort of Parent Trap shenanigans. Of course, Mal plays it off totally cool, saying that her mom (assuming she’s talking about her mom) was so determined to ship her off somewhere for the summer that she was able to trick her into letting her go here. As soon as she gets dropped off, it happens. She meets Molly and the two immediately hit it off. I mean, come on, Molly’s already blushing two panels in!
Now that all of Roanoke Cabin is here, of course we go on an adventure. Poor Jen, she couldn’t even go a few hours before they were all running off and getting into trouble. But of course, she handles it like a champ. Of course, this issue wouldn’t be complete without the origin of the Bonus Jane, Bubbles the Raccoon. We also see a preview of the weird mystical stuff that seems to permeate the entire camp.
Also, I just want to talk about how really great it is that there’s so much family diversity shown in this issue. We see Jo’s two dads, Ripley’s giant mixed-race family, April’s two-person family and a bunch of diverse families in the background. This is so cool and important. I love the way this comic makes it so that girls (and other readers) can see themselves reflected in it and see it presented as just another part of life. Like, come on, if ten-year-old me had seen that Ripley comes from a family like mine (but with the parents switched) I would have flipped out. I would have loved it.
Everything about this issue was solid gold. The little backstories and hints at backstories were perfect for each character and only made them seem more like themselves. As much as I loved Nowak’s run, Allen’s return to art duties was top notch and made everything feel even more familiar. I think Allen returning to art for this issue specifically, the origin issue, works better now that she’s been away for a few issues because it really does make it seem like a flashback. Plus, this issue really makes you want to read more about the Lumberjanes. I can’t imagine anyone picking up this issue and reading it and thinking, “nah, I’m done, I don’t want to read anymore about these characters or this camp.” That’s just not going to happen. It’s the perfect standalone issue. The next issue starts up a brand new storyline, so this is the perfect time to jump on if you haven’t already been reading the series. Do it, you won’t regret it.
New Releases (April 22)
Fight Like a Girl Vol. 1: Learning Curve (Action Lab)
Betty and Veronica #275 (Archie Comics)
Adventure Time #39 (Boom!)
Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 10 #14 (Dark Horse)
Tomb Raider #15 (Dark Horse)
Red Sonja Travels Vol. 2 TPB (Dynamite)
Black Widow #17 (Marvel)
Unbeatable Squirrel Girl #4 (Marvel)
Welcome to Drawn to Comics! From diary comics to superheroes, from webcomics to graphic novels – this is where we’ll be taking a look at comics by, featuring and for queer ladies. So whether you love to look at detailed personal accounts of other people’s lives, explore new and creative worlds, or you just love to see hot ladies in spandex, we’ve got something for you.
If you have a comic that you’d like to see me review, you can email me at mey [at] autostraddle [dot] com