Comics/Graphic Novels

What the Junk: Lumberjanes #4 & #5

Say it with me, campers: “Friendship to the Max!” The pages of Lumberjanes contain mysteries upon mysteries and references upon references, and our goal here at What the Junk is to decode at least a few and gather clues along the way. Below we continue our adventures — oh, such adventures! — with Issues 4 and 5.

Dicentra formosa: Also known as Western bleeding heart, it’s a hardy perennial with ferny foliage and, in the spring, pink heart-shaped flowers. They’re favorites of hummingbirds, drought tolerant, and grow best in shady woodland areas. Botany bonus, check!

What the Anahareo: If, like me, you thought this was maybe an anime reference — boy are we wrong. Anahareo, a.k.a. Gertrude Bernard, was a Mohawk conservationist and writer as well as wife of Grey Owl, a.k.a. Archie Belaney, a controversial trapper turned conservationist. Anahareo is considered responsible for Belaney’s transition from trapper to wilderness warrior, and her autobiography Devil in Deerskins details their life and work with nature. A trailblazer not only for conservation but for aboriginal woman in the 1930s, she was the recipient of the Order of Canada, and is my new hero.

art by Brooke Allen

art by Brooke Allen

The Yeti: Clearly the Yeti youth of today have more in common with humans than they might wish. While it could just be a cool design, I have a feeling we’re going to see more of that crown-and-arrow motif. The Yeti hale originally from the Himalayas, and are similar in description to the Native American Sasquatch (also known as Bigfoot). A tip for amateur cryptozoologists: coloration is important, as the Yeti is traditionally white while Sasquatch has darker fur.

Good Juliette Gordon Low: How did I not know the name of the founder of the Girl Scouts?! Probably because, confession, I did not make it past Brownies. But our troop was nowhere near as lady-powered (or as imperiled) as the Lumberjanes. Anyway. Inspired by her meeting with Boy Scouts founder William Baden-Powell, the widowed Low decided to use her monetary powers for good by founding the Girl Scouts. A fine legacy for a woman nicknamed “Crazy Daisy” for her preference, considered shocking in the 1880s, for the outdoors rather than drawing rooms.

Robyn Hood: Comics shout-out? Grimm’s Fairy Tale universe from Zenoscope includes the on-going Robyn Hood series, which (while the cheesecake art makes my eyes burn) has some pretty convincing commendations by reviewers. And I do love a woman with a bow. Anyone reading it?

The Scouting Lads: These poor guys! All they want is to help, but those golden eye tie-clips are clearly bad news. Not to mention the hyper-masculine camp director. But what set off the eyes? And why is the scepter-wielder in such deep shadow? I can’t help but get nervous about the two camp directors’ strikingly similar silhouettes…

And then we move right along to Issue 5, in which EVERYTHING HAPPENS, not the least of which is Ripley biting a dinosaur.

Raccoon Rodeo, Pittsburgh

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette – Oct 23, 1997

Raccoon rodeo: You guys. There actually is such a thing as a racoon rodeo. Which you might already know, if you lived in Pittsburgh in 1997. Apparently, it involves treeing a raccoon with the help of a dog to win scholarship money. I am not making this up.

Holy bell hooks: bell hooks is the first of the shout-outs you can follow on Twitter! An influential thinker on feminism, gender, and race — and their interconnectedness — hooks is author of numerous books and the winner of the American Book Award. Just this past summer, she ignited a spirited debate about Beyonce and feminism.

Jurassic Park and Terminator: The Lumberjanes team has my undying gratitude for giving me a cafeteria-and-raptors scene and a Terminator reference — on the same page, no less. If I was wearing a hat, I would tip it. And then do my best “I’ll be back.” (Which is horrible, for the record.)

Bubbles: I knew it! Just kidding, I didn’t know that Molly’s hat was actually a live raccoon, but I am SO EXCITED about this information. More Bubbles and fast, please!

Out dang spot: Imagine along with me, friends: Roanoke Cabin’s production of Macbeth for the camp talent show. April is, obviously, Lady Macbeth; Jo is Macbeth; Molly is Banquo; Mal is MacDuff; and Ripley does everyone else, especially the three witches. Actually, she plays everyone else as if they were the three witches. It’s a glorious mess.

So many questions: The bearwoman has returned — and she and Rosie clearly know each other and have some history. Is the bearwoman actually on the side of good? The golden eyes (which I have decided are in the Wild Magic family, neither good nor evil but clearly powerful) and the blue crystals clearly interact in one panel, but how? And what, in the name of Mary Shelley, is Diane? Pointy teeth, red glowing eyes — please say she’s not a vampire.