Girls in the Woods

I wanna talk about Lumberjanes for a bit.

Lumberjanes was created by Shannon Watters, Noelle Stevenson, and Grace Ellis, and it’s illustrated by Brooke Allen. Published by Boom! Studios.

Just to get it out of the way, I like this series. It’s cute, funny, and relies a good bit on audience participation in a number of ways. And, like Adventure Time!Bee and Puppycat, and Greatest WarriorsLumberjanes is in a setting that is appealing to a younger audience, but deals with darker undertones and some adult-like stuff. Unlike the three cartoons above–well, unlike Adventure Time! and Greatest Warriors–it’s not yet vetted enough to go right for the throat in terms of implication, innuendo, and heady philosophy.

This may be by design, of course, as there are a few such examples already. Instead, Lumberjanes may be more interested in subtle hints, thus making it “safer” and more relatable. At the same time, it can be seen as an allegorical ideal: girls not pitted against one another, boys are not vilified (not of their own doing, anyway. See ish #4), authority isn’t despicable (unless it’s painfully obvious. Again, ish #4), challenges gender-tropes, and a myriad of personalities coexist and thrive amongst one another.

The series is only four issues into its first run, so a great deal of that is conjecture. Another thing to note, is how the story is parsed out: it’s not one issue=one conflict leading to the major conflict=completed arc. It’s little pieces fitting together for a big reveal. It’s kind of a new idea that we’re seeing a lot more of in popular culture.

As the series goes on and–for the first time in forever (ear worm)–I’m able to keep up with it and watch it as it develops, I’ll be able to talk more about how the audience is brought more and more into the text, or the text ventures out past the fifth wall (yes, fifth), and in that way how the ideal is held up higher and stronger.

Plus, I like anything with merit badges (I blame Welcome to Night Vale) and music recs (compiled as playlists created by the characters) in the back.

More Lumberjanes to come as the series–and my growing comprehension of gender-disparity–goes on…

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