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‘The Backstagers Act 1:’ Advance Comic Book Review

I’ve spent many an hour both onstage and backstage creating impassioned pieces of live theatre, probably more hours than I care to admit. James Tynion IV is a writer whom I like very much; his Memetic and Cognetic books are trippy, David Cronenberg-esque sci-fi horror films that play as social satire, his UFOlogy harkens back to ’80s films in which kids have to become the heroes, and his runs on a few different Batman titles – now specifically Detective Comics – have all been inspired. The Backstagers is nothing like any of them. It’s more of a Young Adult fantasy about the people who really bring to life the plays you might see or be a part in when you were in high school.

Jory is the new kid and because his father is working late shifts, he is forcing Jory to take up an after-school activity with one of the many clubs. He chooses Drama Club. I think Tynion probably took part in high school drama as I did, because he basically nails it on the head, with a bit of exaggeration – okay, a lot of exaggeration. Jory is sent off by the super stars of the stage into the bowels of the school to seek out a tiara. This is when he meets the Backstagers, the ones no one knows about or appreciates. (This tells me Tynion absolutely must have worked in live theatre at some point in his life.) These bowels prove to be a little more Harry Potter-inspired than Jory ever could have guessed, and he ends up helping to fend off a group of tiny creatures.

This is a silly book with art by Rian Sygh that’s reminiscence of something like Steven Universe. The Backstagers is charming and light, and it’s a fun book that younger readers will definitely enjoy.

Phillip Kelly, Fanbase Press Contributor



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