The “Lumberjanes” comic is just as great as a Saturday morning cartoon?—?and for anyone who doesn’t remember what that’s like, just think “Adventure Time”-levels-of-awesome. 20th Century Fox is now turning the fan favorite adventures of Jo, Molly, April, Mal and Ripley into a movie and we couldn’t be more excited.
Although probably better suited to be an animated feature over a live action film, the “Lumberjanes” movie is in capable hands. Indie director Emily Carmichael has some serious geek cred from short film “RPG OKC,” not to mention her forthcoming film “Powerhouse” with Steven Spielberg.
A great comic? Check. An indie director with a promising future? Check. What can go wrong? Nothing. (OK. A lot.) But I’m an optimist, so here’s five reasons the “Lumberjanes” movie is going to kick butt.
1. It’s about friendship first.
The Janes go on a lot of wacky adventures, but they are not superheroes, and the comic never presents them as such. There’s no bickering about group dynamics that grinds the story completely to a halt, like on “The Walking Dead.” Instead, the “Lumberjanes” are a close group of friends who show readers (and future viewers) what strong female relationships look like.
2. It’s not the end of the world.
When people talk about “Superhero Fatigue,” what they’re really saying is that all the movies are the same—the heroes band together in a crazy third act sequence to stop the evil thing from killing everyone. You won’t find any of that in “Lumberjanes.”
There’s a forest outside the camp. Weird stuff lives there. There may or may not be a Kitten representing Jesus. You have to read the comic, of course, but nobody’s running around in the book all that often and worrying about the fate of the known universe.
3. It’s not just for adults.
Today’s list of comic-themed movies aimed at kids is pretty thin. But the “Lumberjanes” has plenty of odd, childlike things going on (Hipster Yetis!) that will entertain and amuse an entire audience. And that’s what this genre needs right now. “Deadpool” did as well as it did because it was something different. It was still a superhero movie, but it didn’t take itself seriously and spent most of its running time mocking the same genre it was a part of.
4. It represents the LGBTQ community.
Jo is transgendered. Mal and Molly are in an adorable same-sex relationship. The fact that we have a comic book movie in the works with an all girl cast, many of whom are of color, is fantastic. The fact that some members of that cast are part of the LGBTQ+ community is even better.
Because if children are going to get hooked on comics like “Lumberjanes,” they need to see themselves in those characters. That’s pretty challenging to do these days when most of the Marvel and DC heroes are older, straight white guys, and the few female characters often have little to do (see: Katana in “Suicide Squad”, and The Scarlet Witch in “Civil War” and “Avengers: Age of Ultron.”)
There’s a reason there’s classroom material built around the “Lumberjanes” comic. It’s an excellent teaching tool for young children curious about the people around them, and it never treats Jo as different or Mal and Molly’s relationship as anything out of the ordinary. That might not sound like a big deal, but it’s pretty huge for there to be a trans character starring in a comic book movie, let alone a comic book, and it sends a powerful message of tolerance, friendship and love. You’re not exactly getting that from Batman, who has gone in near-literal contortions to show readers he’s not gay since the ’40s. (He’s not. But … “The lady doth protest too much, methinks.”)