Lumberjanes Series Overview

lumberjanesA summer camp for “hard-core lady types”, filled with bear-women, dinosaurs, alternate time dimensions, and a whole lot more crazy supernatural stuff, is the setting of Lumberjanes. Lumberjanes is a graphic novel series created by Noelle Stevenson, Shannon Watters, Grace Ellis, and Brooke A. Allen. Lumberjanes is chaotic and full of the unexpected, and it’s great. It follows five best friends, April, Molly, Mal, Jo, and Ripley, during their time at summer camp, which is way more magical (literally) then they ever could have expected. And for the most part, they just roll with it, which makes for some great adventures.

The characters, both main and supporting, are diverse and well rounded. There is a lot of representation going on in these comics, which is great, especially for an all ages comic. One area of representation that I was very pleased to see was LGBT+ because it’s largely absent from most all ages/kids media.

The supernatural aspect of the story is really enjoyable. It’s a bit random and not always super explained, but it’s always really fun and just seems to work. You never know what kind of supernatural antics will occur, but whatever they are, you know they will be enjoyable, even if they don’t totally make sense.

One thing that I think is a really nice touch is the way they work the Lumberjanes earning badges into the story. For each story arc (which lasts a few comics each), there is a page at the begging detailing a badge they are working on. The story somehow ties into that. It’s an interesting take on the idea of scouts earning badges because with the Lumberjanes, the requirements for getting a badge are never as straight forward as it seems.

Being a comic series, the art is an important aspect. And honestly, I have mixed feelings about this. Their isn’t a constant artist/style for the series, and while I’ve never read an issue where the art was bad, there have been some that just didn’t feel like Lumberjanes to me. Sometimes the art is fairly realistic, sometimes it’s more stylized, so it’s really a matter of personal preference whether or not  you like the art in a specific issue. Overall though even when I’m not  a fan of the art I still love reading the comics because the story and the characters are always great.

Lumberjanes has been around for a little while now, there are currently 33 issues of the main series comic, with the 34th being released later this month, as well as a spin off series and some one-offs. This may be a bit overwhelming for some new readers, but as far as comics go it’s not really all that much, plus it would be pretty great to be able to read that many back to back without having to wait.

Overall Lumberjanes is a really fun read that’s doing some great things in terms of representation and overall is something I highly recommend.

-Angela J.

Book vs. Movie: Middle School, The Worst Years of My Life

Image result for middle school worst years of my life bookMiddle School: The Worst Years of My Life by James Patterson is a good graphic novel. I feel that it is a great book for tweens and young teens.

I watched the movie with my friends, who have never read the books. They were shocked when the movie revealed something important, while I just sat there, knowing about this since the beginning. This probably altered my perspective, because when you have read the book first, you are comparing it to the movie the whole time. And more often then not, minor details from the book are changed for the movie and completely ruins the adaptation. Many minor details were altered, and I do feel that a couple changed how you look at the movie. Characters were not the same, and some were excluded. In the book, Leo passed away from meningitis when him and Rafe were toddlers.

In the movie, they state that Leo had passed about a year before from cancer. This can really change your perspective of the movie. In the book, you know that it’s amazing that Rafe can think of his brother like this through his imagination. In the movie, it’s just because Rafe is mourning. I feel that Leo is not thImage result for middle school worst years of my lifee same character in the movie that he is in the book. Also, what happened to Miller, or Miller the Killer? He was a huge part in the books as the school bully. In the movie, he only had a minor part and didn’t seem as threatening. Additionally, they did not have Jeanne Galleta and Georgia’s personalities correct. Jeanne is much more different, and defiantly does not sneak into his house. Georgia was way more of a brat, and did not feel sorry for her brother at all.

I would say that if you have never read the books, go see the movie! Maybe your younger sibling wants to go. Even if you think that this is a “kiddy movie,” it’s not. Half of the friends that went with me were high schoolers, and they enjoyed the movie as much as the middle schoolers with us. But for the fans of the Middle School series, I really don’t think that the movie is worth it. It is a humorous movie, but you might be disappointed.

-Rebecca V.

For reference, here is a comparison of Leo from the book and the film:

Image result for middle school worst years of my life book leoRelated image

Comic Review: Orphan Black: Helsinki

orphanblack_helsinkiI’ve got to say, I really liked this. I read the first round of the Orphan Black comics, and while I enjoyed them, I wasn’t all that impressed as they were basically just retelling of the show. Not so here. Helsinki introduces new plot material and serves as a prequel both for the comics and the show.

There are several new clones introduced in this, it has a similar vibe to the show where they are all meeting for the first time in that regard. There are also some familiar characters that make appearances here. The story-line is great at make the reader feel connected to the new characters, and also adds to the existing characters. Being that this is basically a prequel it takes place back in 2001, when the clones are 17. Seeing this past perceptive is really great with the know characters, as it reveals more about how they got to be who they are and elaborates more on what was shown of their past in the show and original comics.

I really liked the pacing of the story, it keep things moving with lot of action, but still made sure to keep an emotional tie to the characters. Not really any bomb dropping new information was revealed in this, but rather it gave more context to the already existing plot line. My one minor grip is that is jumps around a little showing the range of characters, and while it works, it took a little getting used to (but not too much).

Finally given that this is a comic, this review wouldn’t be complete without mentioning the art. I really enjoyed looking at it, it wasn’t the most breathtaking I have ever seen, but this wasn’t due to lack of skill, just personal preference. The art is closer to traditional comic book graphics than some of the modern day computer generated 3Dish stuff that appears in some comics. The artist did a good job of visually distinguishing the clones while still making them look the same. My only real complaint with the art was that in this bound edition each issue runs into the next one with a cover breaking them up, and I always love looking at the covers.

Overall a very fun read that should be appealing to fans of both the show and the other comics. I would recommend these for older teens as their are a view brief scenes involving partial nudity, including some sex scenes (though nothing graphic, more implied than shown), as well as some violence.

*This bound edition will be out in July 2016, but the single issues are already available for purchase.

*The review is based on a free ARC copy of this book from NetGalley, given in exchange for an honest review

Graphic Novel Review: Deadpool, by Poehsen, Duggan, & Moore

deadpoolI should explain why I put full story spoilers in these comic reviews. Because of how short they are, and the fact that comics are a visual book. I try to engross you in the story without the images, of course this isn’t that easy but I do my best. So without further delay, here is DEADPOOL!

This has to be the most interesting part of the comic for me if only for how absurdly stupid and funny it is. It’s a disembodies voice talking over the many noteworthy problems like the amount of homeless people, and overweight people fighting which I will not go into do to this turning into a political rant. Turns out, instead of everything else, it’s a necromancer. (Fun fact: A necromancer is a wizard that uses what is normally but not always considered dark magic to revive the dead.)

Of course, this necromancer LOVES America so he has an idea! He’s going to bring back all of the dead presidents to help fix the country. (An idea that many people that I know think would be cool.)  This of course is a no-no. He brings back a very demonic Harry S. Truman. (Fun fact: The S in Harry S. Truman doesn’t stand for anything. Instead of a middle name he had middle initial.) Instead of helping the country he wants to DESTROY it. Happy, right? Some where in all this, Captain America comes in and has to fight President Truman. The next scene skips ahead to the Shield flying fortress.

I can only assume that the person screaming at Agent Preston is Nick Furry. He is of course upset that CAPTAIN AMERICA is using his shield to DECAPITATE President Truman. They have a problem, of course, because the dead presidents are coming everywhere and causing problems; but they can’t send their heroes after them because after all, that would be horrible for the press. Who you gonna call? DEADPOOL. …but that’s later.

The next page is literally a Godzilla spin-off destroying the city. And then stops. You see a small sword go all the way down the front of him and dead pool’s head sticks out going: HERE COMES DEADPOOL. Once again proving Deadpool is the funniest thing in Marvel.

Easily a 8 out of 10. I love this comic series, and this is only the first half. There’s far more to love and I can’t wait.

-Cameron S., 12th grade

Manga vs. Graphic Novels

manga_gnEven though graphic novels and manga have many differences, they are alike in some ways, one of them being that they mostly use art to tell their story. For scenery, what in a normal book would take a few sentences only takes one frame in these kinds of books.

Manga are not the same as what you might think of as comic books. Manga reads right to left. Graphic novels and comic books read left to right. Though these differences are evident at first glance, most people still don’t know the difference between graphic novels and manga. At first I didn’t know the difference either, but over time I have come to recognize their characteristics and can now tell them apart.

One of the differences, as previously mentioned, is that manga reads right to left, while graphic novels read left to right, the way we are used to. The reason that manga reads “backwards” is because that is the traditional way the people read in Japan. The only publishing conversions that are made from Japan to America are that it is translated from Japanese to English, and that maybe the translator put in some notes. When manga first started being published in the U.S., publishers would “flip” the pages as to not to confuse readers as much. However, there was a downside to this. For example, a poster in the background saying, “Happy Birthday”,would read, “yadhtriB yppaH”. To preserve the original format, publishers now publish them right to left.

For me, another difference between manga and graphic novels is just the feel of the art. Manga has a more flowy style, while graphic novels have a choppier feel to them. Most manga also have titles that were not fully translated into English, and an example of a graphic novel could be a more modern version of a comic book.

Personally, since I have been reading manga for a long time, I feel that graphic novels are a tad tacky. Nevertheless, I love reading either manga or graphic novels in my spare time, and both kinds are usually enjoyable for people of all ages.

-Linna C., 7th grade

Movie Review: Iron Man 3

ironman3_posterThis movie starts in Switzerland. When Tony Stark is in the elevator to exit the building on New Year’s Eve, he meets a guy, Kingsley, with a new idea. So Tony told Kingsley that he will meet him on the roof of the building. Tony leaves the man standing there waiting without showing up. Then thirteen years later Tony Stark takes his titanium suit as a hobby. Kingsley returns with years of therapy and tells Pepper, Tony’s girlfriend, about his excellent idea about redeveloping the brain to recover itself almost instantly. Pepper comments that it would be a great change, but it may be used for very harmful things, and refuses to work with Kingsley…

I think that this amazing movie is fun for older kids and is very entertaining. This movie is very adventurous and intense. I believe that this movie is perfect for every kind of child, 10 and older, and adults. If you enjoyed the first two Iron Man movies, go see this one, based on the Marvel comics.

-Samantha S., 7th grade