Michael Moccio ’16 / Emertainment Monthly Editor-in-Chief
If you’re a comic book fan and you’re not reading Lumberjanes, I literally have no idea what to tell you. This Eisner Award winning series, created by Noelle Stevenson, Shannon Watters, and Grace Ellis and put out by BOOM! Studios, is one of the best books being put out by any comic book publisher across the board. It stars a group of amazing girls at the Lumberjanes came as they navigate the supernatural wonders of the surrounding forest while keeping ‘Friendship to the max!’ Emertainment got a chance to sit down with Shannon Watters and Noelle Stevenson at San Diego Comic Con to catch up on what’s been going on in their current arc and their plans for the future.
“This arc is setting the stage for the rest of the book,” Watters revealed. “There’s going to be a lot of fun coming: getting into trouble, saving little lost critters, but there’s a lot more of the foundation that’s being laid in this arc that’ll continue to be very instrumental in telling the rest of these girls’ stories.” Watters is an editor at BOOM!, so authentic and organic storytelling is something she’s intimately familiar with. Her ability as a storyteller—as well as Stevenson’s and the entire team’s—is evident by the quality of the book.
“There’s a desire to expand the Lumberjanes mythology as much as possible,” Stevenson said. “There’s one thing to have these gods and goddesses running around with them, but the ground, too, is so old and something’s been going on here for a long time. And perhaps it’s a lot darker than they originally assumed. There’s something really terrifying in the heart of the woods. It’s affected Abigail and changed her.”
Abigail is the current antagonist of the arc. Previously a part of the Lumberjanes and best friend to current Scout Master Rosie, Abigail presents an idea of what can happen when “Friendship to the max!” doesn’t always become a reality. “This is exploring difficulty in friendship,” Watters said. “Even when you know someone through and through, there’s still going to be some conflict and insecurity.”
“Friendships go wrong in real life,” added Stevenson. “and that’s what makes the good ones so valuable. And then there are those that can be saved, too.”
Stevenson became very excited once the conversation turned to Abigail. As one of our favorite characters so far, we were equally enthused to learn more about the origins of the character. “I remember exactly when Abigail happened and we had just come off of the eight issue miniseries. We were scrambling to figure out where to go,” Stevenson said. “We had these ideas for an overarching plot during the eight issue miniseries, but when we turned ongoing we didn’t feel we needed to put everything in. But we realized we needed more mythology, like you don’t know where the heart of the woods really is. And so we thought we’d introduce someone who had been living in the woods the whole time. And I wanted a villain, a real villain. We didn’t have one. Even Diana, she was just selfish and a kid. Apollo was the same. Abigail doesn’t think she’s a villain. She thinks she’s doing this for the right reasons. She’s a really interesting character for me.”
When Jen—the counselor for the main group of girls in Lumberjanes—becomes separated from the group, she stumbles upon Abigail and her home. ““I think Jen says when she finds her that she’s so happy to find someone normal,” Stevenson said, reflecting on why it’s Jen that’s the one who ultimately runs into Abigail and not one of the campers. “I think Jen is going to be one of the most susceptible to Abigail’s thinking and way of life. Jen is the sixth cast member, but it’s really easy for her to be left out of the main cast because she’s their counselor. She’s the only one who can keep them safe sometimes. Abigail is really out there and Jen is nowhere close to leaving her girls, but there is a mirror there as well. From Abigail’s point of view, you’re either chosen by the Lumberjanes or you’re not. In her eyes, Jen is like her: Jen will be the one who’s sent home at the end of the day and she wants to save Jen from that. Abigail is a mirror for the girls. The banner phrase has been ‘Friendship to the max!’ and Abigail is what happens when that goes wrong.”
“She’s a character we want to see redeemed,” Stevenson said.
“She’s going to be a part of the Lumberjanes universe for a long time,” Watters added.