Noelle Stevenson and Shannon Watters on the success of “Lumberjanes” and their recent Eisner wins

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If you’re not reading Lumberjanes yet, seriously, what are you doing with your life? The comic is set at Miss Quinzella Thiskwin Penniquiqul Thistle Crumpet’s Camp for Hardcore Lady Types, a summer camp whose attendees are known as Lumberjane Scouts. The comic follows five scouts as they form friendships and discover magical creatures in the nearby woods. The series (created/written/illustrated by queer women) features queer characters, feminism, and great role models for girls both young and old. Sadly, Noelle Stevenson is finishing her run on Lumberjanes after issue #17 to work on a new fantasy series for Harper Teen called 4 Wizards.

The creative team behind the series held a panel, “Camp Out with Lumberjanes!” the day after scoring two Eisner awards, for Best New Series and Best Publication for Teens (13-17). The series has also been optioned for a live-action movie by 20th Century Fox, with Will Widger attached to write the screenplay. Fingers crossed they’ll hire a female director. I got a chance to sit down with co-creator/writer Shannon Watters and writer Noelle Stevenson to find out more about the series.

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AfterEllen: First off, congrats on your Eisner wins! What was that night like for you?

Noelle Stevenson: It was literally unbelievable. I mean, after our second win, I was so flustered I made a Punk’d reference onstage. Timely!! But I thought we had no chance for Best New Series—we were up against some incredible series, and it was honestly an honor just to be nominated beside them. But I didn’t think we had a chance in heck of actually winning.

Shannon Watters: Noelle literally said to me, “I’m not even nervous right now, we’re not gotta win” approximately 13 seconds before we won Best New Series. We were crying and texting Brooke [A. Allen] and Grace [Ellis] and generally being adorable messes.  

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AE: Watching all of you interact with each other on the panel, it’s clear you’re all great friends, not unlike the Lumberjanes. How do your friendships with each other influence the relationships of your characters?

SW: I think our friendships in general, with all of the people in our lives, are a huge influence on Lumberjanes. And providing a positive friendship model for young women is hugely important to us. There’s not going to be any stabbing someone in the back over a boy in Lumberjanes, ya’ know?

AE: Lumberjanes is filled with so many fun creatures. Who/what kind of critter would you like to see make an appearance in future issues?

NS: I think dodo centaurs came up during the panel? I have a lot of feelings about dodos. They didn’t stand a chance! They were so innocent, so trusting, and so flightless. I think the girls should travel back in time and save the last of the dodos.

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AE: The series is full of strong female characters for girls (and women!) to look up to. Who were some of your real and fictional heroines growing up?

NS: Harriet Tubman. One of the most heroic and interesting historical figures I can think of, period. I also have a soft spot for lady pirates like Ching Shih and Jacquotte Delahaye.

SW: As far as fictional heroines, Kristy Thomas (The Baby-Sitters Club), OBVIOUSLY.

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