The Backstagers Act: 1: A fantastical space for the weird kid in all of us

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The Backstagers Act: 1 by James Tynion IV (author) and Rian Sygh (artist)The Backstagers Act: 1 by James Tynion IV (author) & Rian Sygh (artist)

The Backstagers Vol. 1 Kindle & comiXology by James Tynion IV (Author), Rian Sygh (Illustrator)Behind the scenes of the drama club, there is a labyrinth of rooms and hallways filled with creepy critters and questionable sofas alike – that is the world of The Backstagers Act: 1 (2107). The inhabitants design and build the sets and props for the actors of the drama club and are all but forgotten in their backstage rooms. The Backstagers not only cater to the needs of the drama club but have their own adventures out of sight and out of mind of the rest of the school. It’s the perfect place for the group of misfits to gather and find belonging.

The art in The Backstagers Act: 1 is perfectly whimsical. It’s bright and cheery, full of decidedly uplifting (and wonderfully ludicrous) colours and eye-twinkles (not a weird metaphor – there are literal stars in eyes at some points). I’m not art critic, but the best I can do is say that it made me happy – the art and the story were both so matched in tone, and a joyful one at that, it was delightful to read.The Backstagers

The fantasy element was introduced in a thoroughly tongue-in-cheek way with major questions met with shrugs and, “this is how it is so we have a good time with it” kind of nonchalant acceptance of the nature of the rooms beneath the drama club.

I’ve probably used the word ‘delightful’ a couple of times now, but here it comes again: the characters were nothing short of completely delightful. We only get a brief introduction to who I assume will be the main characters of The Backstagers as a whole, but what we see this early on is truly full of promise. The potential and the heart of it all was a breath of fresh air, appealing to my inner weird kid. The Backstagers themselves as a group are introduced as individual outsiders who have found a cozy home back stage and with each other.

Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed The Backstagers Act: 1. It’s funny, bright, and quite simply nice to look at. I certainly recommend it for a light and happy tale with some whimsical fantasy elements.

Publication date: July 25, 2017. 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. James Tynion IV (Detective Comics, The Woods) teams up with artist Rian Sygh (Munchkin, Stolen Forest) for an incredibly earnest story that explores what it means to find a place to fit in when you’re kinda an outcast.

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SKYE WALKER, on FanLit’s staff since September 2014 (but hanging around since 2007), is from Canada, where she is currently a University student studying Anthropology and Communications. When she isn’t reading or doing school work (or reading for school work) she can be found in one of three places: in a tent in the woods, amid a sea of craft supplies on a floor somewhere, or completing the task of finishing her ‘Must Watch’ movie list. Skye was practically born with a love of fantasy and science fiction (as her name might suggest). These days her favourite authors include Ursula Le Guin, Guy Gavriel Kay, and Chris Wooding. Skye is in fact a Jedi (we know you were waiting for it).

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One comment

  1. Reading your review made me nostalgic for my own backstage adventures — and a couple of “questionable couches,” too! Thanks for bringing this to my attention, Skye!

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