The Backstagers by James Tynion IV

32898210I 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!

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The Vagina Monologues: V-Day Edition by Eve Ensler

monologuesThe dreaded “V-word” that a lot of people, myself included, avoid saying at all costs. The Vagina Monologues by Eve Ensler….

I’ve actually read this book before. Back during my undergrad days in university I was the stage manager for this show. It was being put on by the university’s drama club and I thought it would be interesting. It was weird because there was a male director. He was weird and somewhat… inappropriate with his female cast. I didn’t like him very much. Gave me the creeps. I saw him a few years ago while I was doing my graduate degree at a different university and I ducked into a Chinese restaurant to avoid talking to him.

Anyways, this is my second time reading this book. I decided to read it again because a local theatre group announced it as part of their season and I was considering auditioning for it. I don’t think I will audition…It’s a good read, but like I said before I get uncomfortable with the word… That’s the way i was raised. Don’t talk about your personal bits with people who aren’t your gynecologist.

I read the V-Day Edition, which was interesting because it includes a lot of anecdotal stories and facts that you don’t get from the version with just the monologues.

Not much else to say except that I think if you’re interested in this book that you would have a better experience watching it be performed, rather than reading it. The V-Day edition is nice because of the little facts, but I think this book was made to be performed, and the impact would be so much greater if you watched it.

Fun Fact: My favourite monologue is The Angry Vagina. It’s hilarious and true.