Graphic Novels, Tough Chicks is an original feature that celebrates the amazing female characters that abound in graphic novels. While many people still associate this particular form with a male readership, certain graphic novels empower women and combat feminine stereotypes through illustration and text. Tough chicks resist injustice, fight for their beliefs, and they don’t take flak from nobody. These women are capable of fighting their own battles, both literally and figuratively.

Lumberjanes Vol. 2Lumberjanes Vol. 2: Friendship to the Max (Lumberjanes #5-8)

Authors & Illustrators: Noelle Stevenson, Grace Ellis, Shannon Waters, Brooke Allen, and Maarta Laiko

Genre: Paranormal, Middle Grade/YA, Feminism

Publisher: BOOM! Box on October 13, 2015

Source: Library

Jo, April, Mal, Molly, and Ripley are not your average campers and Miss Qiunzella Thiskwin Penniquiqul Thistle Crumpet’s Camp for Hardcore Lady-Types is not your average summer camp. View Spoiler »

Since LUMBERJANES VOL. 2 is an all-ages comic, there isn’t any profanity. Rather than using curse words, the Lumberjanes use the names of feminist icons as expletives. References to notable and/or influential women throughout history like the Black gospel musician Sister Rosetta Tharpe and Agnodice, the first female physician in Ancient Greece (who I had never heard of before!) are sprinkled throughout the text. This makes it a fun way for the curious to learn more about feminism, since you can look up these names – as I did – or carry on reading without missing any plot points.

If you read the first volume, you may recall beleaguered camp counselor Jenn and her struggle to keep her campers safe – and out of the clutches of bizarre creatures like three-eyed yetis and the mysterious Holy Kitten. This time around, Jenn decides to embrace the madness and work with her campers rather than against them…while this is considerably more exciting than her previous boredom-inducing role, poor Jenn couldn’t possibly have predicted the level of insanity she’ll encounter. What’s a practical, rule-following girl to do? Well this is Lumberjanes, so there’s only one thing to do: embrace friendship to the max and support her friends!

Lumberjanes Vol. 2 Excerpt 2
Image: Noelle Stevenson, Grace Ellis, Shannon Waters, Brooke Allen, & Maarta Laiko

The plot of LUMBERJANES VOL. 2 is just as insane as the first, with crazy monsters and magical artifacts joined by Greek Gods reincarnated as sassy teens at summer camp. Clearly that’s a total recipe for disaster, and of course the ladies from Roanoke Cabin are in the middle of it. They’re going to need to combine all their individual talents and skills if they want to protect the camp…and maybe even the world. But as every Lumberjane knows, nothing is impossible when you have the help of your friends!

As much as I love these graphic novels (and the amazing characters within <3) I can’t help but feel that LUMBERJANES still hasn’t quite hit its stride as a series. The collections remain a bit unfocused, with the girls scrambling from one part of the camp to another – and from one misadventure to another – with seemingly little connection between them. I’m confident that things will start to even out in the next volume, but I have to admit that LUMBERJANES VOL. 2 was slightly all over the place. But no less charming, for all that!

Lumberjanes Vol. 2 Excerpt 1
Image: Noelle Stevenson, Grace Ellis, Shannon Waters, Brooke Allen, & Maarta Laiko

This series is a great choice for newcomers to comics and long-time readers alike. With an adorable and unique art style, diverse and realistic characters, and some truly hilarious dialogue, LUMBERJANES VOL. 2 is an accessible and rewarding read. Highly recommended for all, especially readers who want to see more female friendship showcased in both SFF and graphic novels alike.

A very cute queer relationship has been developing in both the first and second volumes of LUMBERJANES and I for one am excited to see where it goes! It’s definitely one of the ‘blink and you’ll miss it’ kind of ships, bit I think the subtlety of it is perfectly in keeping with the tone of the series. After all, the genesis of the series is friendship, not romance.

What comics or graphic novels have you read lately? Have you been reading the LUMBERJANES comics? Let me know in the comments!