The Backstagers: Act 1 - Tynion, Sygh, Baiamonte

Review for…

The Backstagers: Act 1 by James Tynion IV, Rian Sygh, Walter Baiamonte

All the world's a stage . . . but what happens behind the curtain is pure magic literally!

When Jory transfers to an all-boys private high school, he's taken in by the only ones who don't treat him like a new kid, the lowly stage crew known as the Backstagers. Not only does he gain great, lifetime friends, Jory is also introduced to an entire magical world that lives beyond the curtain. With the unpredictable twists and turns of the underground world, the Backstagers venture into the unknown, determined to put together the best play their high school has ever seen.

James Tynion IV (Detective Comics, The Woods) teams up with artist Rian Sygh (Munchkin, Stolen Forest) for an incredibly earnest story that explores what it means to find a place to fit in when you're kinda an outcast.

I first read James Tynion IV when he took over Constantine’s reboot as an out bisexual author. His work is funny and touching, but different in it’s darkness than the original Hellblazer was. You might know him from Detective Comics (Batman) or The Woods. This series is an entirely different animal and much better suited the sort of horror that Tynion writes.

The Backstagers is an enticing and cute children’s comic. It’s mostly harmless, aiming to a similar demographic that Lumberjanes found, I suspect, but I’m not as deeply invested in these characters. That said, this was only the first four issues, and the omnibus of Lumberjanes I read was the first arc, the first eight issues. That was all Lumberjanes was ever supposed to get, coincidentally, and we may see something similar with The Backstagers. To continue the comparison, this story starts us with the introduction of a newbie who doesn’t yet know the depth of the world he’s entering, where Lumberjanes dropped on us a wholly developed group of friends who’d already spent a bunch of time together.

Meet the deceptively small upperclassman, the seniors who are stage managers, and look like college kids already, the techie who may be transgender, the buff guy who the main cutie (Jory) is flirting with, and the slouchy kid who chills with the tiny upperclassman— weirdly reminded me of that cute boy from Ouran High School Host Club.

In sum, I feel as though I haven't found the heart of it yet, and there’s a slight emphasis on crushes and blushes. It’s definitely got adventure, joy and creepy mystery and I do recommend it. Can’t wait for volume 2.

Pages: 112
Year: 25 Jul 2017
Publisher: BOOM! Box

Read: 5 Dec 17
Stars: 3.5 (charmed)