Genres: Young Adult, LGBTQIA+, Comics & Graphic Novels
Series: The Backstagers
Published by Boom! Box on August 17th 2016
Source: Provided by Publisher, Netgalley
Amazon, Barnes & Noble
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!
I think The Backstagers is going to be one of those comics that completely change the game in terms of LGBTQIAP+ representation. I’m not saying other comics don’t have great representation, but I’m saying that I’m loving the representation here, and the fact that it has an openly bisexual writer and an openly trans artist is even better.
Based on an interview of the creators about the comic, I can see that we’re in for a great ride with lots of diversity and positive representation.
What I liked:
- Our protagonist, Jory. I could relate so well to Jory in his struggle to fit in to a new school, especially an all-boys school in which he feels he doesn’t have a place among his peers. I immediately took to him and l loved seeing the way his expressions were so open and honest; you could really see how Jory felt in each panel. Also, how cool is it that our protagonist is black? I loved that. I feel like there isn’t enough representation of PoC in literature, so this was amazing.
- The art. Gosh, the way this was drawn was so incredible. I didn’t find it difficult to follow the story at all, which is sometimes a problem that I encounter when reading comic books. Also, every character’s emotion was easy to read, and I could almost see the way they moved around the spaces they inhabited.
- The story is funny and endearing. At its heart, it’s about finding a group of people to fit in with, but it’s also about solving a certain dilemma while getting to know this new group of people.
- The Backstagers themselves were such a great group that I’m excited to know more of them in future issues. There’s Sasha, Aziz, Hunter, and Beckett. I can’t choose a favorite between them, because they all had something different that made them unique. I think I really liked Hunter in this comic though, because he’s flirtatious and funny. He was also drawn as fat, so seeing an underrepresented body in fiction and not be fat-shamed was nice to see.
My only strife with this comic is the fact that it was so short and I don’t have the next copy with me GAH! I really want to read what happens next but at the same time I feel like I might wait until the collection is out so I don’t have to wait in between issues.
But, overall, I really enjoyed reading this comic and I cannot wait to see more of The Backstagers.
Me after finishing the comic:
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