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Review: The Backstagers vol. 1

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4/5

*Taken from Goodreads*

James Tynion IV (Batman Eternal, The Woods) teams up with artist Rian Sygh (Munchkin, Stolen Forest) for an incredible yet earnest story about finding a place to fit in when you’re kinda an outcast.

When Jory transfers to the private, all-boys school St. Genesius, he figures joining the stage crew would involve a lot of just fetching props and getting splinters. To his pleasant surprise, he discovers there’s a door backstage that leads to different worlds, and all of the stagehands know about it! All the world’s a stage…but what happens behind the curtain is pure magic!

Being the background person for stage productions is personal to me. My university’s homecoming tradition is competitive musical theatre, and my job has been to mom friend everyone involved. I’ve done everything from scrimmaging with sports teams (long story) to backstage parenting (even longer story). So a story like this is going to be something that perks my interest. There isn’t much about this graphic narrative I didn’t like!

Sygh has a quirky, captivating art style akin to Steven Universe. The bright images really hold this story together, making it all the more magical for the reader. Tynion’s story is original, bringing in a setting and concept that has been mostly absent from stories I have read, with the exception of Eyes Like StarsI loved the pull from theatre and the focus on the behind-the-scenes personalities that keep shows running, as well as the magic. This work was a light-hearted enjoyable escapade, with humor that anyone who has worked backstage before will appreciate. I mean, don’t all prop rooms look like the Backstagers? Also, POC main and another plus-size male character with a round belly? Yes please! Finally some body diversity in our males!

The only annoyance I had while reading was the brevity of the story. Yes, I know it’s only vol. 1, for even for a first installment it seemed to pass to quickly, which didn’t leave me much time to get attached to the characters. However, since graphic novels are so short it allows for quicker reads, which will bring me to more character development sooner, which I can dig.

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