Publisher: Boom! Box
Released: July 25th 2017
The Backstagers is a cute and quick read about a group of boys that work backstage of a play at school (what a shock, I know). I think fans of Lumberjanes will enjoy this series in particular, as they have a very similar feel. Anyone who has ever felt like an outside or reject will resonate with this series.
James Tynion IV (author of Detective Comics and The Woods) and Rian Sygh (artist for Munchkin and Stolen Forest) are a dream team, bringing us a fascinating world with outstanding images and drawings. Their collaboration is seamless. Though I’ll confess I’m particularly fond of the artwork in this case – there are specific scenes that just wouldn’t be the same if they were done any other way.
Every high school has a secret rumor that spread around, even if nobody truly believes it. In the world of Backstagers, this idea is flipped on its head. It’s a secret that only few are allowed to know, so there are no rumors. The other difference? The story is actually true – there really IS a fantastical (and dangerous) set of rooms (or worlds?) attached to the drama’s stage crew quarters.
The main character/perspective is Jory, the new kid; he’s shy but excited about this whole new world being presented to him. Him being new is useful, as the other members of the crew can explain things to him, and thus have the author explain this to us (yay for solving a show/tell issue!).
The other characters vary from being very naive to fairly jaded, and back again. The combination makes an interesting and well balanced group of guys, capable of taking on the challenges these rooms present to them.
Speaking of these rooms (I feel like I should have a better name for them, but I don’t), I have so many questions about them. Probably more than Jory by at least a few. I also think the rooms are a bit more ominous than the rest of the crew has led Jory to believe (despite revealing the details about a missing group of kids). That little revelation at the end? (I don’t want to say what specifically, because trust me, you don’t want that moment spoiled) It gave me the shivers. I absolutely cannot wait to see where it goes.
One last note I would like to make before I finish my review; I just loved how open and accepting the Backstagers is, both as a team and as a graphic novel. There is just so much diversity and representation in this series. It shouldn’t be a big deal, but it is. It is very clearly LGBTQIA+ accepting and adoring, and you have to give them credit for that!
In case it wasn’t obvious, I absolutely will be following up with this series, and can’t wait until I can pre-order volume two (I always feel better once a pre-order has been safely placed). Here’s hoping it comes out sooner rather than later!