Lumberjanes 8: families, they f*ck you upOn March 26, 2018 by Lucius
Lumberjanes is the longrunning, justly beloved kids’ graphic novel series about an all-girl summer camp where the campers fight magic monsters, sometimes are magic monsters, and swear oaths on feminist icons from history; it keeps going from strength to strength, and Stone Cold, the eighth collection in the series, is no exception!
One strength of the Lumberjanes stories is how naturally they weave in diversity and representation: people are who they are, across a spectrum of genders, gender expressions, racial identities and backgrounds, but who they are also informs the stories they live and how they feel about them. The characters are never symbols of their intersectional identities, but those identities are always integral to who they are at the same time.
Volume 8’s storyline is about the families of the ‘Janes: good, bad, and (very) ugly. The Lumberjanes of Roanoake cabin come from a variety of backgrounds, not all of them great, but none of them have a patch on Diane, the on/off camper from Zodiac cabin who also happens to be a Greek goddess — Artemis, twin of Apollo, daughter of Zeus, and someone whose family dysfunctions are literally the stuff of legend.
Diane’s stupid father sent her to Earth to hunt down a gorgon and bring it to him, but she that’s not why she’s come to Miss Quinzella Thiskwin Penniquiqul Thistle Crumpet’s Camp for Hardcore Lady Types — she just wanted to see her friends. It’s a seeming coincidence that everyone in Zodiac cabin was turned to stone moments before she showed up, and now everyone is part of her quest to find that gorgon, like it or not.
But this is a Lumberjanes story, so the gorgon isn’t what we’re expecting either — she certainly didn’t turn Zodiac cabin to stone statues; that was the doing of those monster giant mutant turkeys whose basilisk gaze turns all it alights upon to stone. So who, exactly, is behind the plague of statues, and why do they want Diane and her friends to play a bunch of deadly variants on ancient Greek children’s games?
As always, this Lumberjanes installment is a balance of cheerful anarchy, madcap humor, thrilling action, beautiful and subtle relationships, and teamwork over adversity. If you’re interested in reading the whole series, here’s my reviews of the previous volumes:
Lumberjanes 8: Stone Cold [Shannon Watters, Kat Leyh, Noelle Stevenson, Grace Ellis, Brooke Allen, Carey Pietsch and Maarta Laiho/Boom]
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