Backstagers Volume 1 – eARC review

The Backstagers #1 by James Tynion IV, Rian Sygh

The Backstagers #1
by James Tynion IV & Rian Sygh
Series: The Backstagers (#1)
: July 25th 2017 by Boom! Box
Genre: graphic novel, LGBTQIA+, young adult, contemporary
Pages: ? (issues still being published)
Source: e-copy provided via NetGalley
Rating: ★★★☆☆
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.

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My review copy was a sample – only #1 of the series as it is ongoing, so this is not a review of the full volume collection. However, the review is intended for the volume one collection since that how it was provided on NetGalley. Confusing, I know.

The art style reminded me so much of Bee and Puppycat (which I love), but the story itself was more reminiscent of Lumberjanes in terms of structure. Lumberjanes, unfortunately, I did not like very much for much the same reasons I wasn’t super wowed by this single issue of Backstagers. It’s cute, and a great example of POC and LGBTQIA+ rep but doesn’t go super deep in the first issue. Backstagers at least dangles more of an interesting plot to me than Lumberjanes did – what exactly is going on in that school? That fact alone was enough to interest me. For me, one issue isn’t enough for me to care terribly much either way  – I prefer my comics in volumes so I can really get to know the characters and the world more.

As I had a very small experience with theater – pit band only, no real stage experience, and I couldn’t have cared less about stage productions then and now – I didn’t connect with it too much on that level and found it a little difficult to get into. That’s generally an issue with me and more contemporary settings: If I can’t relate with the main focus of the main character’s interest (in this case theater, but it’s usually rich girls being rich) it’s hard for me to care. It did at least have quite the fantastical element to it! The world definitely has some intriguing bits to it.

Were I able to read more, perhaps this review would be a little more glowing. If you are into theater, might be more your style than it was mine. A good friend of mine would love this. Backstagers is something I would pick up the next issue of if I were to come across it at the library, but not something I would personally seek out. If you’re like me and more into fantasy settings and want some queer and POC rep, try Rat Queens!

What graphic novels are you excited for this year?

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2 thoughts on “Backstagers Volume 1 – eARC review

  1. Sorry you didn’t love this as much as you wanted to. I’m just diving into the graphic novel world and I’m excited to read some of the highly recommended ones!


  2. I’m not sure where I heard about this originally, but I got the same sample and I loved it. The art kind of reminded me of Steven Universe a bit, especially with the youngest character (the blonde kid). I wish this had been the complete book rather than issue one; oh well.

    I’m waiting for more Saga, but I do have to read the last volume before the next one comes out. Moon Girl and Dinosaur Girl is one I’ve gotten into that should have a second volume coming out soon if it hasn’t already.


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