Ellis, Grace, Noelle Stevenson, & Shannon Watters (Creators). 2014-ongoing. Lumberjanes [comic series]. Los Angeles: Boom! Studios.
Be careful about starting this series, because once you’re caught up you might have a hard time waiting each month for the newest issue. Lumberjanes follows the ongoing adventures of best friends Jo, April, Mal, Molly, and Ripley as they solve a supernatural mystery at summer camp.
This series is fantastic for many reasons: it’s girl-centric and focuses on friendship and problem-solving; conventional swear words are replaced with puns and the names of historical women; there are a variety of gender presentations and ethnicities represented; and the art is beautiful and well-balanced with the text. Of course, since I’m reviewing it on a queer media blog, I’m going to have to give a little spoiler: several characters are queer. Refreshingly, this isn’t a heavy “issues” read; instead, characters are simply being themselves and are supported by their friends.
This series is intended for high schoolers and above, though I think it would be appropriate for mature middle schoolers as well. Language avoids curse words and queer content is limited to obvious mutual crushes and a vague coming out moment (no sexual themes). I wish I had something like this as a preteen! Messages of friendship, empowerment, and skills building are so important at that age.
Oh, did I mention it’s super cute? Kittens, hipster yetis, nerdy science references, and adorable scout badges are but a sampling.