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Comic Book / Lumberjanes

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From left to right: Ripley, April, Jo, Molly, and Mal.

"WE CAN EXPLAIN! There was this bearwoman."
And we followed her because duh: bearwoman.
And then there were these foxes but they were magic foxes?
And we beat the stuffing outta those guys!
Even though that wasn't the plan."
— The Lumberjanes

Lumberjanes from Boom! Studios is about a summer camp cabin of girls who sneak out at night and stumble into paranormal adventures. It's Buffy the Vampire Slayer meets Gravity Falls featuring five butt-kicking, rad teenage girls whaling on monsters, solving mysteries, and making friends in the Enchanted Forest outside of the camp. Jo, April, Mal, Molly and Ripley are five best pals determined to have an awesome summer together... and they're not gonna let any insane quest or an array of supernatural critters get in their way!

Originally conceived as an 8-issue limited series, 75 issues, a one-shot Grand Finale, 4 annual one-shot specials, and 3 original graphic novels were ultimately published between 2014 and 2020. The original creative team consisted of ND Stevenson, Brooklyn Allen, Boom! editor Shannon Waters, and Grace Ellis note . There was considerable turnover throughout the book's run (which included Stevenson leaving after issue 17 to pursue a career in animation). In 2016, the series crossed over with Gotham Academy for a six issue miniseries. Four middle grade prose novels were published from 2017–2019, written by Mariko Tamaki.

An animated adaptation is in development on HBO Max, to be showrun by Stevenson. Its status is currently unknown following the cancellation of several animated projects and removal of multiple animated shows from the platform in the wake of Warner Bros’ merger with Discovery.

See also the Spear Counterpart of this series, The Backstagers.

Lumberjanes contains examples of:

  • Abusive Parents: In stark contrast to the rest of the Janes' families, Molly's Mom, who believes she can force her daughter to be straight.
  • Accidental Misnaming: Rosie, the camp director, constantly gets Jen's name wrong. Until after Jen helps the Lumberjanes stop Apollo and Artemis from ruling the universe. And a few other cases. In fact arguably, if Rosie gets Jen's name right, it's a case of OOC is Serious Business.
    Jen: She knows my name!
  • Achilles' Heel: In an early issue April defeats a giant sea serpent by shooting him in the eye with her scrunchy.
  • Action Girl: All of the girls, really. It IS a camp for Hardcore Lady Types.
  • Adorable Abomination: Several of the cats that Ripley creates transform into supernatural creatures — some of which are fairly nightmarish... in an adorable fashion.
  • Amazingly Embarrassing Parents: Apollo and Artemis seem to think their dad is one of these.
  • Ancient Order of Protectors: The camp was repurposed as a Hardcore Lady Type camp by Jane Thiskwin Penniquiqul Thistle Crumpet in order to keep loggers from buying the property and cutting down the forest. Accordingly, campers are tasked with defending the forest from malevolent forces.
  • Another Dimension: It turns out that the outhouse has a portal to one of these.
  • Arbitrary Skepticism:
    Jen: I don't want to deal with ZOMBIES or GHOSTS or or or JACKALOPES or —
    Mal: Oh, c'mon Jen, JACKALOPES? Those aren't even real.
  • Art Shift: There was considerable artist turnover, particularly during the back half of the series.
  • Attack Pattern Alpha: When fighting the magic foxes, the girls decide to do the “Little Red Formation”, with the battle cry “To grandmother’s house we go!” Subverted, because Mal quickly calls them out on not actually following the plan.
  • Aura Vision: One of the effects of the Bearwoman's glasses and spyglass.
  • Big Bad: An as of yet unnamed entity behind the waterfall next to the giant stone Sentry not far outside the camp.
  • Bloodless Carnage: When the magic foxes are defeated, they poof into dust.
  • Braids of Action: Molly wears her hair in a single braid.
  • Both Sides Have a Point:
    • Jen is not pleased when she realizes she's a camp counselor in a forest full of monsters. She argues that the girls shouldn't be seeking out trouble, because it's dangerous and she's responsible for them. Rosie lets them off the hook because, as she puts it, trouble is going to find them anyway.
    • The argument between Abigail and the Bear Woman in issue #16; Abigail believes relying on the Grootslang's good will not to kill them is a terrible idea, while the Bear Woman points out that the Grootslang doesn't care enough about humans to consider killing them.
  • Buffy Speak: And a lot of it.
  • Catchphrase: "Friendship to the Max!" Later turns out to be a Chekhov's Gun.
  • Cloud Cuckoo Lander: Ripley, but also camp director Rosie.
  • Collective Groan: When Jen decides to take the girls to see Rosie for punishment for sneaking out at night.
  • Cool Old Lady:
    • The Bear Woman, AKA Nellie, used to be the camp counselor when Rosie was a kid. She ran the camp like a military installation until the forest chose her and gave her magical powers, and hasn't mellowed out in her old age.
    • Ripley's abuela is an avid gamer whose first response to meeting the Bear Woman is to slap her.
  • CPR: Clean, Pretty, Reliable: Subverted; when Mal drowns, the girls have no idea what to do to save her, and Molly gives up after a minute of mouth-to-mouth. Ripley just gets a running start and kicks her in the stomach, forcing her to eject all the water.
  • Crazy-Prepared: April writes down the foxes' prophecy after hearing it, to the bewilderment of the other girls.
  • Cure Your Gays: Molly's parents think she's at a camp like this. When her mother sees it's not she tries to drag her home, but Rosie stops her.
  • Dark Horse Victory: When the girls decide to challenge themselves and try a "normal" camp activity for the day, they fail most of them. Except for Ripley, who keeps earning badges easy as pie.
  • Dangerous Workplace: When the girls get caught up fighting a river monster, their camp counselor, Jen, acts more like it’s a hassle to have to call in the CIA and a SWAT team more than anything out of the ordinary.
  • Dark and Troubled Past: It's been increasingly implied that Molly doesn't have the best home life.
  • Dub Name Change: In the Swedish translation, some names are changed.
    • Mal is now named Sam.
    • Ripley's called Rebecka.
    • Qiunzella Thiskwin Penniquiqul Thistle Crumpet is now called Hildur Patricia Fnurr von Kanel.
    • "The name "Lumberjanes" is a reference to the word "lumberjack," but since there's no similar Swedish gendered expression to genderflip, the Swedish name for the group is "Vildmarkssystrar," which means "Wilderness Sisters."
  • Don't Sneak Up on Me Like That!: In the very first scene, when Mal and Molly find April in the woods. Downplayed as April is only startled and doesn't attack the two.
  • Drill Sergeant Nasty: During her days as the counselor, Nellie — later known as the Bearwoman — ran her camp with the stern no-nonsense belligerence of a military drill sergeant.
  • Empowered Badass Normal: The Bearwoman used to be human before the forest chose her and gave her mystical abilities. Molly is undergoing a similar transformation due to the forest's power.
  • Epic Fail: Jo, April, and Ripley manage to screw up watching paint dry.
  • Expository Hairstyle Change: Jo is wearing different clothing and has much shorter hair in a flashback photo with April, to indicate that she's been friends with April since before she started living her identity as a trans woman.
  • Extra Eyes: The foxes in the first issue, and the river monster and eagle in the second, all have three eyes. When defeated, the eyes seemingly turn into gold coins that Jo collects.
  • Face Your Fears: A minor version when Mal confronts her fear of the river to go canoeing with the other girls. It turns up again during the Selkie arc.
  • Fantastic Foxes:
    • Apollo sics multiple three-eyed foxes on the group. The foxes collapse into dust when defeated.
    • In Issue 40 a borderline-malevolent fox-spirit shows up seeking revenge on the Bearwoman.
  • Fantasy Americana: With a bit of Fantasy Kitchen Sink thrown in for added flavor. American cryptids and Fearsome Critters get a lot of panel-time, but Greek myths, mermaids and unicorns get a slice of the cake as well.
  • Fastball Special: Mal and Ripley team up for two. They even call it out by name.
  • Feminist Fantasy: The main characters are all girls at a summer camp and they go on fantastic, supernatural adventures.
  • Fiery Redhead: April and Rosie.
  • Foreshadowing: Despite not being particularly vain, Molly dives back under one of the trapped doors in the cave for her hat. Soon enough, we learn the "hat" is actually a living raccoon named Bubbles.
  • Funny Terrain Cross Section: When the girls slide down the underground tunnel in the second issue, all sorts of things can be seen buried in the surrounding soil, including bones, a mole, a treasure chest, and a worryingly large tooth.
  • Gadgeteer Genius: Jo can build just about anything if given the time.
  • Genius Loci: The Bearwoman has implied that the forest has some kind of awareness at a couple points, and is singling Molly out to give her powers.
  • Good Parents: Jo's dads. While they want her to indulge in her genius, they're perfectly happy to take her to a normal summer camp and let her be with her best friend.
  • The Glorious War of Sisterly Rivalry: Diana and Athena are not what you would call close.
  • Head Pet: Molly's raccoon hat is actually her pet raccoon, Bubbles, which she perpetually wears on her head.
  • Heel–Face Turn: Diane eventually returns, having been sent on a quest by her father, and eventually apologizes to the Roanoke cabin for what she put them through.
  • Heterosexual Life-Partners: Jo and April, though it's strongly implied in the third arc that Jo has feelings for her.
  • He-Man Woman Hater: The head counselor of the boys camp is this. The boys themselves are actually incredibly kind, helpful, and enjoy things like baking cookies and making tea. But said counselor, who it turns out is the god Apollo, takes control and turns them into snarling monsters.
  • Humanoid Abomination: Sola from the one-shot comic.
  • Improvised Weapon: Lots. Notable is April slingshotting a hair scrunchie into a river monster’s eye.
  • Incorruptible Pure Pureness: When Ripley is infused with the power of the Greek Gods, she uses it to give Bubbles a cute hat, free the boys from Apollo's control, give everyone a kitten and make sure no one can ever use the power again.
  • Intercontinuity Crossover: With Gotham Academy in a mini-series.
  • Jerkass Gods:
    • Artemis and Apollo, AKA Diane and the boys' camp counselor.
    • Their father gets in on the act, later, when he gives Artemis/Diane a mission he's pretty sure she'll fail, so that she'll get turned to stone, so he'll have more time to adjust to the fact that she's growing up. He also doesn't really seem to care that Diane's cabin-mates, whom she genuinely cares about, are also turned to stone.
  • Knight of Cerebus:
    • Sola, the Humanoid Abomination Collector of the Strange from the Beyond Bay Leaf one-shot is the first antagonist in a Sugar Bowl series with White-and-Grey Morality that can be considered genuinely evil, drawing on the power of innocent magical creatures to sustain her own existence. Even after the Janes defeat her, she taunts them by promising that the summer will end and so will their friendships.
    • The Parents Day arc shows the parents of the girls to be fun and somewhat embarrassing…until Molly’s homophobic and emotionally abusive mother shows up.
    • The Grey, the villain of the final arc, attempted to extract the essence of the entire forest and become more powerful than the Greek pantheon.
  • Lampshade Hanging: One story arc involves holding an underwater rock concert. Yes. The lack of sense of this is brought up at least once an issue.
  • Living Statue: Two guarded an underground tunnel. One of them April had to beat in an arm wrestle, the other was a spear wielding hawk headed statue. When the girls go down the tunnel a second time they're playing chess, and wave them by, their tests having already been completed.
  • Loose Canon: The one-shot specials, OGNs, and prose novels, coming from alternative creative teams, are not mentioned in the main comic series. Generally they do not violate established canon, but the novel series gives a backstory for the camp and its founder that is incompatible with details about those revealed in comic issues that were produced afterwards.note 
  • Lost in Translation: The way that inspirational female celebrities are used as expletives, like "what in the Joan Jett are you DOING?!" is deleted from the Swedish edition and replaced with regular expletives like "What the heck?" (but in Swedish, naturally).
  • Lost World: The portals that pop up lead to a parallel dimension inhabited by dinosaurs — as seen when one opens in the camp outhouse.
  • Love Triangle: A subtle one develops between Barney, April, and Jo.
  • Luminescent Blush: Molly, when Mal kisses her on the cheek.
  • Masculine Girl, Feminine Boy: The Lumberjanes are messy, disorganized monster-fighting Action Girl types, and the Scouting Lads are peaceful guys who just want to bake cookies and have tea. That is, until they turn into rabid, possessed monsters. When Apollo is defeated they return to normal.
  • Merit Badges for Everything: In the first issue the girls earn the Up All Night badge, for y’know, staying up all night. In the second, April earns the Pungeon Master badge for a wonderfully groan-worthy pun.
  • Mind-Control Eyes: The boys in the Scouting Lads' camp get completely white eyes when they are being controlled by Apollo.
  • Misplaced Retribution: It's pointed out that while Abigail has good intentions about defeating the Grootslang, she's actually mad at the Bearwoman and not the beast. The reason is that Abigail got forced to sleep outside when she defied orders to rescue Rosie from a landslide that the Grootslang started, and Rosie is mad at herself for not spending the night with Abigail as thanks for saving her life.
  • Monster of the Week: The magic foxes in the first issue, the river monster in the second.
  • Mooks: The three-eyed foxes that the girls fight.
  • Morality Pet: Diane's cabinmates serve this function for her after she returns to camp.
  • Mundanger: In a forest full of monsters and supernatural phenomena, the one Molly truly fears is her homophobic mother.
  • Never Say "Die": They do. Parodied in Issue 23, when Mal says that they're going to die when they're trapped on a boat in a storm, April shouts that Lumberjanes never say die.
  • Nonstandard Character Design: Contrary to the page image, April has more realistic eyes than the other girls.
  • Not What I Signed Up For: As Jen puts it with some exasperation, she was expecting to work at a normal summer camp. Monsters were not in the orientation.
  • Official Couple: Mal and Molly are a couple from the first issue.
    • As of Issue #68, Hes and Diane are an item.
  • Only Known by Their Nickname: Bearwoman, at least initially. When asked, she simply says that Bearwoman is fine. She is later revealed to also go by "Nellie".
  • One-Gender School: Or camp, in this case. granted whoever, there's just different camps, one for the girls, and another one for the boys.
  • Only Sane Man: Jen. Poor, poor Jen.
  • Origins Episode: Issue #13 counts in detail how the girls first met at the camp, how Molly met Bubbles, and their first meeting with the supernatural as well.
  • Our Mermaids Are Different: While some have a fully humanoid upper half, others have scales and fins on their upper half of their bodies. Also, music is a huge part of merpeople culture. They also wear regular clothes instead of your standard Seashell Bra, and some of the ones we see have mohawks and piercings.
  • Our Werebeasts Are Different: The Bearwoman straight up denies being a werebear as she can control her shapeshifting; a werebeast cannot.
  • Our Werewolves Are Different: Karen's transformations seem to be a result of her emotional state, she doesn't turn mindless and feral, and has a state between fully human and fully wolf.
  • Out-of-Character Alert: Jen has said many times that she wishes that her cabin was filled with normal girls that did normal camp activities. The one times they're actually happy to do mundane crafts with her, she's put on alert. They were replaced by shapeshifters that thought the idea of camp would be fun.
  • Overly Long Name: Miss Qiunzella Thiskwin Penniquiqul Thistle Crumpet’s Camp for Hardcore Lady Types (from the signs, it seems it used to be for "Girls", but was changed by either Jane, Nellie, or Rosie).
    • Miss Crumpet's daughter, Janiper "Jane" Thiskwin Penniquiqul Thistle Crumpet.
  • Physical God: Artemis and Apollo in the first arc.
  • Pintsized Powerhouse: April. She beats a living rock statue at arm-wrestling, even breaking its arm, although she claims it is all about leverage. Also, when first moving into the camp, she was able to carry a stack of seven large suitcases with one arm.
  • Plucky Girl: A requirement for being a Lumberjane.
  • Potty Dance: Ripley does one, complete with toilet paper rolls hovering around her head when she finally asks to go.
  • Power Crystal: The weird glowing crystal in Rosie’s bathroom looks a lot like the weird glowing crystals in the secret cave the girls later discover.
  • The Power of Friendship: The Lumberjanes use this by holding hands with each other and the statue-fied Jo and saying "Friendship to the max!", which frees Jo.
    Mal: I can't believe that actually worked. "Power of Friendship"? Is this place for real?
    • The entire camp defeated the Grey by wearing their sashes, symbolizing their connection to the camp and each other, with Molly throwing a sash on the Fox in order to extract the Grey from his person.
  • Pronoun Trouble: Briefly discussed with Barney.
  • The Prophecy: "Beware the kitten holy". This actually turns out to be an anagram for a clue in Apollo and Artemis's competition for ultimate power.
  • Pungeon Master: April wins her Pungeon Master badge in the second issue for making a pun.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure:
    • Camp leader Rosie. She doesn't punish the girls for sneaking out and warns them that they're going to encounter even more weird stuff before the summer's over.
    • Jen evolves into this. While she is hard on her girls, it's because their sneaking out at night is dangerous, and she's charged with their safety. Once she gets a little bit more information on the camp and the creatures, she takes it fairly well while wanting answers. When she busts the shapeshifters for impersonating her girls because they were too normal to pass as the Janes, she says they can still do crafts together...just at night when she's off the clock. They're happy to accept this compromise.
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: April is the red to Jo's blue.
  • Relationship Upgrade: In #68 Mal and Molly officially declare themselves girlfriends, and at the same time so do Hes and Artemis.
  • Running Gag:
    • Rosie constantly getting Jen's name wrong.
    • The Arbitrary Skepticism regarding jackalopes.
    • Molly never being able to find clothes or gear that fits.
  • Sea Monster: What starts as a simple canoeing trip ends up with the girls fighting off one of these.
  • Secret Underground Passage: When Ripley climbs a tree, she accidentally discovers one of the branches is a lever to open a secret cave below.
  • Seen It All: The Roanoke cabin gang starts moving into this over time. When Seafarin' Karen reveals herself to be a werewolf, the group, having expected her to be magical somehow, points out that it's not even the strangest thing they've see that week, and are more surprised by the fact that she wasn't some kind of aquatic supernatural creature.
  • Selkies and Wereseals: A group of Selkies appear in the Seafarin' Karen arc, having taken her boat because they believe that she took the skin of one of them.
  • Serious Business: Competitive scrapbooking is this for April, who had been growing increasingly desperate to earn merit badges.
  • Shipper on Deck:
  • Sibling Rivalry: Apollo and Artemis. They're competing viciously against each other for the power of ruling the universe.
  • The Smart Guy: Jo and Molly. The former figures out the Fibonacci riddle in the cave; while the latter figures out the anagram riddle in the same cave.
  • Spear Counterpart: Mr. Theodore Tarquin Reginald Lancelot Crumpets' Camp for Boys is this to Miss Qiunzella Thiskwin Penniquiqul Thistle Crumpets' Camp for Hardcore Lady Types.
  • Stylistic Suck: The art style when Ripley is narrating her story shifts into a more childish drawing style, and the narration font becomes the handwriting of a young child.
  • Super-Strength: April may be the most stereotypically feminine of the main cast, but she's almost inhumanly strong.
  • Taken for Granite: To stop the lightning bugs from attacking her friends, Jo has to place the crystal and golden eye in a slot, which turns her into stone.
  • Theme Naming: Ripley and her siblings are all named after Science Fiction and Fantasy heroes.
  • This Is Gonna Suck:
    • Jen usually has this reaction when the kids get roped into another adventure. She just wanted to do crafts and make friendship bracelets!
    • April's reaction to God-Mode Ripley:
    We've made a huge mistake.
  • This Is No Time for Knitting: When the girls are attacked by a river monster, April reaches for her scrunchie. Jo protests that this is no time for a new hairdo, only for April to shoot the elastic into the monster's eye.
  • Title Drop: “Does anyone here know the Lumberjanes pledge?”
  • Town Girls:
    • Butch: Mal, Ripley, Jo.
    • Femme: April
    • Neither: Molly, Jen.
  • Town with a Dark Secret: Apparently a summer camp with a dark secret.

  • True Companions: This is a story about five girls who are best friends, where “because friendship, obviously” is a totally valid reason for doing something. The motto of the camp is actually “Friendship to the max!”
    • This is lampshaded by the shapeshifter Fox, after its attempt to impersonate April fails a lot faster than usual.
  • Unusual Euphemism:
    • "What the junk?" is a common expletive.
    • The characters also tend to swear using the names of famous female figures, e.g. "Oh my Bessie Coleman" and "Holy Mae Jemison!"
  • We Used to Be Friends: Rosie and Abigail were apparently close friends when they were both Lumberjanes, but because Rosie didn't stand up for Abigail before she got kicked out of the camp, Abigail doesn't want anything to do with her.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Jen calls Rosie out on trusting the girls to handle the danger around the camp without actually preparing them for it or telling them what's coming.
  • Whole Episode Flashback: Issue 13 is a flashback to when the girls first met at the camp.
  • Wild Child: Ripley.
  • Year Inside, Hour Outside:
    • Molly and Mal feel like they are trapped in the parallel magical dimension for weeks, but only four hours pass outside that dimension.
    • Apparently, the camp itself counts as this, too. Jo calls her parents in Issue 17, and finds out that although they've spent weeks at camp, her parents think they've only spent a few days there.