I have been on a graphic novel kick lately. Graphic novels are great because they can still have wonderful stories with amazingly deep characters, but they are decidedly more fun to read. At least in my opinion. I just love looking at the art in graphic novels.
The graphic novel I’m talking about today is The Backstagers by James Tynion IV, illustrated by Rian Sygh. I loved it and couldn’t wait for the second volume to come out. I found the ebooks online through my public library’s Hoopla subscription, and it was so good! I still have to read the last issue, though, since it’s not available on Hoopla yet. Hurry up, Hoopla! I need to know what happens! If you loved Lumberjanes then you will love The Backstagers as well. I am hoping and praying for a Jumberjanes/Backstagers crossover so hard! It would be so epic!!!
The story starts out by introducing new kid Jory. He’s just transferred to an all boys private school and his mom is telling him he needs to find an after school activity to fill up his time. He decides on the drama club, but after going on a mini adventure backstage and finding out that the actors in the drama club are “the worst” he decides to join the Backstagers. But the Backstagers aren’t your normal stage crew. Nope. The backstage area of the school is a supernatural wonderland filled with strange creatures, moving tunnels, and wondrous rooms. It’s all very dangerous and also quite exciting!
There is an overarching mystery to be solved over the course of the series which involves the missing Backstagers from 1987. They disappeared on opening night and were never heard from again. Some of the Backstagers, the Stage Managers included, think it’s just an urban legend to keep the newbies from wandering too far into the tunnels on their own, but Jory thinks there is more to it, especially after his new friend Sasha goes into the tunnels on his own and returns with a new friend.
I gave this book 5 stars on Goodread because, honestly, there was nothing I disliked about this graphic novel. The art is amazing, the characters are amazing, and the story is amazing. I felt a connection with the characters because I was a theatre kid in high school and as an adult I’ve transitioned into being a backstager myself. One of the things I loved about this book is that it talks about LGBTQ+ themes without talking about it, if that makes sense? Like there is a transgender character who transfers from the all girls school to the all boys school but they never really talk about it. It’s not a big deal, it’s just there treated as normal content (because it is).
Sorry this is such a short review but there really isn’t much more I can say other than OMFG I LOVE IT, without giving the plot away. It’s a relatively short series with only 8 issues available, so the plot moves really quickly. So yeah, there you have it, Internetland! Go read The Backstagers!