I should explain right up front in this review that I am an unmitigated and wildly loyal fan of the Lumberjanes comics. I opened the very first issue expecting great things, and that expectation has continued to be exceeded with every new installment.
Issue #9 is a delightful pause between story arcs in which our Lumberjanes are sitting around the campfire working on their “Gimme S’more” badge by telling each other their very spookiest ghost stories. Or at least giving it their very best effort. Guest contributors Aimee Fleck, Faith Erin Hicks, Becca Tobin, Carolyn Nowak, Felicia Choo, and T. Zysk each bring their talents to illustrating the ghost story portions of the tale.
I was immediately impressed with the seamless bridging between the ghost stories. There is no sense of disconnect as we move from artist to artist, no distancing from the storyline that can so easily happen when there are so many different hands in the pot. The guest artwork serves to enhance the personalities of each of the characters, while keeping up the overall energetic, whimsical, and sometimes dark tone that we’ve come to expect in the Lumberjanes world. It’s the highest of compliments to say that no one guest contributor stands out over the others in this compilation; there is a unity to the production that speaks very well of the creative team’s focus.
The Lumberjanes creative team excels at bringing us fresh experiences to familiar story concepts. The “telling ghost stories” mechanism is as old as anything I can think of, but every story in this collection is just a little off center, taking unexpected paths and ending in surprising ways. Every story feels so organically right for the character telling it. You can feel the creative team’s love and enthusiasm for their characters oozing out of every panel, and I think it is very telling that the same love and enthusiasm can be felt from the guest contributors in this issue.
Issue #9 is yet another wonderfully crafted comic that fulfills all my best expectations. Why, you ask, does a woman in her 40s love a comic seemingly geared toward a much younger audience? Because of energy, whimsy, humor, passion, and, most of all, friendship! These are the things that keep us young, and Lumberjanes is one of the absolute elixirs of youth!
Exclamation point to the max!!