- Writers: Noelle Stevenson & Shannon Watters
- Illustrators: Brittney Williams, Faith Erin Hicks, Becca Tobin, Carolyn Nowak, Felicia Choo, T. Zysk
- Colourist: Maarta Laiho
- Letters: Aubrey Aiese
- Publisher: BOOM! Box (BOOM! Studios)
- Release Date: December 18th 2014
With Lumberjanes #8 wrapping up the comic’s inaugural arc, this latest installment is a fun stand-alone story featuring the diverse talents of guest creators such as Faith Erin Hicks.
We find our heroines around a campfire at night, together with their mentor/counselor, Jen. In grand campfire tradition, each takes turns to tell a scary story, to varying degrees of success. The in-between moments at the campfire are drawn by Brittney Williams (who you may know from her lovely Daily Planet Files fan art of Superman, Lois Lane & friends), with the other guest artists stepping in for each scary story.
Though we’re full in the throes of December and the holiday season right now, this comic reminded me of summer (er, just in the northern hemisphere I suppose) — of the promise of sun, fun and adventures, when everything feels wonderfully timeless. Maarta Laiho’s colouring during the campfire moments is probably a big reason for this: Laiho imbues the summer night landscape in beautiful blends of navy blue and dark green which feel both magical and familiar, calling back to the vibe of the previous issues and not allowing the reader to find the presence of a guest artist jarring. Though, in fairness, Brittney Williams is very competent in portraying expressive, dynamic characters in a cartoon-y way that’s reminiscent of series regular Brooke Allen’s work, but which is also unmistakably her own style.
Similarly, the other guest artists all have their own distinct stylistic approaches, each of which sort of matches the personality of the Lumberjane telling their respective tale. This, it turns out, is a fun and effective way to make the reader feel that we’re right there with the ladies, listening to these stories! Take a look at this panel of Becca Tobin’s art, which illustrates the tale related by Riley, the hyper young one of the gang. It really feels like a snapshot of Riley’s active imagination and hidden insecurities:
The stories run the gamut from philosophical to genuinely a little frightening; parents might want to read the issue through beforehand just in case. My favourite might be the one illustrated by Faith Erin Hicks (unsurprising; Hicks is a seasoned, award-winning comic artist/writer) and Carolyn Nowak. Nowak’s art, particularly, is evocative in setting the dark, snowy mountain scene. Overall this is really nifty way of continuing the lady-creators-only tradition of Lumberjanes, and showcasing other great female comics talent out there.
The script by series creators Noelle Stevenson and Shannon Watters keep everything threaded together very competently. I’m not sure if it’s the influence of Watters, or the fact that the scary stories take as much of the center stage as our spirited Lumberjanes, but I feel like there’s less awkward Tumblr whimsy and more enjoyable friendship and fun that I can actually show to my (non-American) nieces and nephews, who unfortunately won’t really get the Americanized pop culture enthusiasm of the previous issues.
For that same reason, I think Lumberjanes #9 is a great introduction for any child to the ‘verse, more so than the first eight issues. Here, you don’t have to worry about keeping everyone’s names straight, or following the plot/narrative. It’s just a bunch of friends hanging out, telling stories and having fun against the backdrop of a scenic summer night, and that’s something that anyone of any age can be drawn into, and find enjoyment in. If nothing else, this issue is a great showcase of Lumberjanes’ charms, and I can’t wait to see what future issues have in store for us.
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