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The magic of the stage

Cover of The Backstagers
A review of The Backstagers by James Tynion IV, Rian Sygh, Walter Baiamonte, Jim Campbell, and Veronica Fish

Have you felt enchanted when experiencing live theater? I have! This new graphic novel series explores the weird and wild magic that happens behind the scenes of high school theater productions. Jory is a new student at St. Genesius looking for an after-school activity. He stumbles into the backstage crew on accident and immediately finds a place in their ranks. They are a welcoming and motley bunch working the lights, sound, sets and costumes and they have a secret. There's a hidden world beyond the backstage door full of labyrinthine twists and turns that lead to rooms of fantasy and danger.  

This series is full of inside jokes and entertaining one-liners. The students are working on productions of Les Terriblés and Lease - can you guess which popular musicals these are based on? There's also the age-old animosity between the actors and the stage crew. But the real strengths in The Backstagers are the cast of multicultural, LGBTQIA characters and their friendships. The motto of the crew is to stick together and save the world. I can't think of better advice for us all to live by.

There are currently two volumes available:

The Backstagers. Vol. 1, Rebels without Applause - We are introduced to the crew and stage managers in this first volume and start to learn more about the mystery of the backstage. There's a legend of a crew that was lost in 1987 never to be found, again. Spooky!

The Backstagers. Vol. 2, The Show Must Go On - This second installment features the abduction of one of the key actors in the spring musical. Most of the backstage crew are missing and have been replaced by a pro crew hired by the school board. Will the show go on?

The Backstagers is the winner of the 2017 Prism Award for Best Single Issue from a Mainstream Publisher. This is a new awards group, sponsored by the Queer Comics Expo, with the stated goal to highlight "diverse, powerful, innovative, positive or challenging representations of LGBTQIA+ characters in fiction and nonfiction comics."

March 5, 2018