It’s time to once again catch up with one of our favorite comic series, the delightfully queer all-ages book Lumberjanes! Another storyline just wrapped up with issue #24, and boy howdy, this was a good one. It was full of cool creatures, tons of growth for our girls and some educational explanations for some of the forest’s many mysteries. Perhaps most importantly, it featured two girls being happily in love and kissing, but more on that later.
These issues start out with an exciting game of volleyball that harkens back to both the Fastball Special reference in a much earlier issue and the episode of Steven Universe where the play the same game. But while most of the ‘Janes have been playing games, April has been her normal rip-roarin’ self and has been off succeeding at getting a bunch of new merit badges. Her quest for a knot-tying badge runs into some trouble, though, when Ripley can’t quite get the hang of it. This badge-quest is kind of just a macguffin, though, as it leads us to the beach where we see our real adventure begin.
In these issues, Molly and Ripley go off with the Bear Woman into the alternate dinosaur-filled dimension while the others help Seafarin’ Karen try to get her boat back from the selkies who’ve taken it over. You see, the selkies are saying that Karen stole Moirin’s (Moirin is one of selkies) pelt, making it impossible to transform back into a seal. So, they stole Karen’s boat. All’s fair and all that. The dinosaur dimension quest makes sense when you realize that they’re looking for rifts between that dimension and the main one, to close them in order to stop the whirlpools of doom. So, apart from two great adventures, we also get to see the team split up into not-the-normal teams, which is nice and leads to some really wonderful advancement of the overall story.
There’s a lot of great character growth in these issues, especially from Mal and Molly. When we see them split up, we get to see who they are apart from each other, and that they really, really like who they are together. I mentioned last time that feel like the series really hit another great stride with these issues, the kind they hit with Noelle Stevenson’s last issues on the book, and I think that just got more and more true as this arc completed. The characters are seeming exactly like themselves and exactly like wonderful versions of themselves.
Now, this final issue was a brilliant cap on the storyline and the arc — like, seriously brilliant. It wraps everything up perfectly, features some great and funny and exciting moments and has truly wonderful art. Plus, Mal and Molly kiss! And it’s so cute!!! As soon as they’re reunited and they realize that they’re both safe, they embrace, and not only that, they smooch, right on the lips! In an all-ages comics! This is GREAT representation. This is VITAL. A queer girl of color with a body type and gender presentation that aren’t often seen in media (Mal) and her adorable girlfriend get to be happy and get to be together. After a few weeks of stewing in the awful reality of the widespread death of queer women characters, we come back to Lumberjanes to see some happy queer kids. This makes my heart smile.
This latest four issue-arc was written by series co-founder Shannon Watters and Kat Leyh, with new artist Carey Pietsch adding her absolutely wonderful personal touch to the Lumberjane kids. I’ve talked many, many times about how Pietsch is one of my favorite artists, but I think that her style is especially great for this series. When she comes together with regular Lumberjanes colorist Maarta Laiho, she makes the girls into really lively, fully swinging versions of themselves. I especially love her Jo and Mal, and the new character, Seafarin’ Karen, a buff and burly werewolf sea captain. They seem like the volume has been turned up on them in all the best ways, they’re bold, they’re cute, they’re distinctive and they’re happy, if that makes sense.
When I look at these pages, I feel happy, which is a great thing to get from the art of a comic book, especially an all-ages one like Lumberjanes. And boy oh boy am I glad that Pietsch was the artist for this run, because her drawings of seals and especially Mal and Molly’s kiss are just out-of-this-galaxy levels of cute. I also want to give a special shout out to letterer Aubrey Aise, who’s just one of the most consistently great letterers in all of comics. The visual words she adds to these comics give Lumberjanes a lot of it’s distinctive flavor.
Overall, this was my favorite series of issues since the series where Jo comes out, and one of my all-time favorites. Everyone who worked on these issues should be super proud, because they’ve given us something that’s a wonderful change of pace from a lot of other comics and a lot of other queer media. Issues #21-#24 reminded me why I love Lumberjanes so much. When it’s at it’s best, like in these issues, it’s not only one of the best queer comic books out there, but it’s also one of the best fantasy comics, one of the best comedy comics, one of the best adventure comics and definitely one of the best all-ages comics.
New Releases (March 23)
Spire #7 (Boom!)
Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 10 #25 (Dark Horse)
Tomb Raider II #2 (Dark Horse)
Harley Quinn #26 (DC)
Secret Six #12 (DC)
We Are Robin #10 (DC)
Wonder Woman #50 (DC)
Wonder Woman: Gods and Mortals (DC)
All-New All-Different Avengers #7 (Marvel)
All-New Hawkeye #5 (Marvel)
Patsy Walker, A.K.A. Hellcat #4 (Marvel)
Star Wars #17 (Marvel)
Ultimates #5 (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.