May’s GreatAce.Club’s pick was Lumberjanes from an awesome writer/artist, Noelle Stevenson! If you’ve watched the new She-Ra, it’s the same person! We’ll be reading the first trade edition, which included the first four issues. Rather than try to divide up a comic book, we are instead going to break it down and take a look at different elements. We’ll be looking at:
- Week One: Characters
- Week Two: Setting
- Week Three: Plot
- Week Four: Tone, Theme, and other literary things!
I hope you’re as excited as I am for something new and different! Let us know what you think of doing comics; we would definitely love to do more and maybe even do another Lumberjanes trade edition!
I am absolutely a character driven reader; some of my favorite books may have a weak plot, but the characters are *chef’s kiss.* How do you feel about characters? Who is (or are) your favorites in these beginning chapters? Let’s talk about them!
-How are we introduced to the main characters? What do we immediately learn about them?
-How do the characters’ physical appearances match with their personalities? If you don’t think they match, how do they play against them?
-What are your initial thoughts about the Roanoke Cabin? Jen? Rosie? Barney and the other boys?
-What are some unexpected things we learn about each of the characters? Did anything really surprise you?
-The Lumberjane characters definitely do not suffer from sameface or tokenism. How are each of the girls different and how do they use their differences to be stronger together? How do they surprise each other and the audience?
-What are each girl’s strengths? Weaknesses? How do they lift each other up to overcome and grow together?
-Which characters seem to have the strongest relationships? Do you get a romantic sense from any of them? Share your shippy thoughts!
-”xxx to the max!” is a common quote the characters say. How do they each embody that quote? Do you think their friendship is “to the max”?
-What relationships do you want to see grow? Who do you want to learn more about?
The setting of a book can make or break it sometimes; is it a real place? If so, does the book meet the feeling of that place? Is it a made up place? Choosing where a book or comic is set can absolutely effect how the plot progresses and what types of conflicts the characters will face. Even in a fun comic series, the authors made choices about the setting and that’s what we’re going to discuss this week!
-Lumberjanes is set in a summer camp. What implications does this have for the plot? What kinds of imagery do we usually associate with summer camp and childhood?
-How does adding an element of scouting change the summer camp setting?
-The comic opens with a description of the Up All Night Badge; how does starting in the middle of the night set the scene? Set a tone?
-The camp sign has “hardcore lady types” nailed over the original name; is this significant? What does it mean for the camp? How does that change the expectations?
-Does the main cabin being called the Roanoke Cabin foreshadow anything?
-In what ways are the woods like normal woods? How are they different?
-How does the underground cave give each girl a chance to shine? What purpose could the challenges the setting presents have?
-What differences are there between the boys’ camp and the girls’ camp? Why are they potentially significant?
-How do the Lumberjanes react to each new place? Do you think their reactions are propper? Why or why not?
-What traditional camp settings would you like to see more of? Is there a place the girls have been that you want to learn more about?
-Did you notice anything interesting or fun in the background?
There are a lot of little things in this series that I feel like we need to discuss! Noelle is known for their characters basically all being some form of queer; if you’ve seen She-Ra, then… yeah. She plants deliberate clues and being queer is often part of the theme he puts into their work. Themes of friendship, love, growth, and bonding are all important, as is the tone she chooses for the comic to have. Let’s talk about everything else about this comic!
-If you haven’t already, make sure you have read the Message from the Lumberjanes High Council. How does this message go along with organizations like the Girl Scouts? How are the Lumberjanes like a scouting group?
-Why is it important to have a group like this for young girls? How does our real life past of limiting women to being housewives and indoors impact the comic?
-What is substantial about the “then there’s a line about God” in the pledge?
-The Lumberjanes are not exactly a summer camp and are more than just a scouting program. What could be the significance of this? How does roping the supernatural in with scouting/camp add to everything?
-In what ways do the beginning chapters reference fairy tales? And how do they turn those tropes on their heads?
– How do the Field Manual pages help set the scene for each chapter? Do you read the page to get a sense of what the girls are doing or just jump right into the action? In what ways do they allow us to learn more about the Lumberjanes as a whole?
-How does the book turn common tropes on their heads? References?
-What significance do the three eyed animals have? How many did you notice?
-How are the boy scout characters a good foil to the Lumberjanes?
-Many instances in the comics do not go as expected, such as April being a great arm wrestler or the yetis being bribed with cookies. What does that do for the comic? How does it go along with our expectations in real life?
-What themes are you really enjoying about the comic? What do the writers and artists build into each issue and keep going?
-How would you describe the tone of the comic? Did you laugh a lot? Did it seem serious or mysterious?
-What kind of symbols are we seeing so far? What is significant about Molly getting the bow and arrow? How are bows and arrows a part of mythology and legend, or a part of the strangeness presented in the woods?
-What tropes are you enjoying? What tropes are you enjoying seeing turned on their heads?
Be sure to pick up Volume 1, new, used, kindle unlimited, or even check if your local library or comic shop has it!