I’ve been following the varied works of Boom! Studios since they were running Ducktales and the Farscape sequels. They’ve evolved into a studio that caters to varying audiences with wide appeal and some for a (seemingly) very specific crowd. In the case of The Backstagers, it seems like a foray into the latter of the two categories. With variant covers referencing both Broadway sensation Hamilton and video-game classic Pac-Man, I knew that this book was going to hit home with me.
While I may be a part-time crew member for Nerds Doing Stuff, I wouldn’t be here without mine and co-creator Robby’s love for theatre, as that is where we truly connected and created a friendship that has lasted through a lot of madness and fun. And it is within those types of relationships that I hold dear that I was hoping to connect to The Backstagers. It was in this story written by James Tynion IV and drawn by Rian Sygh that my search began for a feeling not experienced for over 10 years. That feeling was the pain of being in High School Theatre. Take a quick look at a synopsis of The Backstagers:
The Backstagers is an all-ages, “incredible yet earnest story” about a group of outcasts and weirdos becoming friends in the impossible, magic world behind the curtain of their high school theatre. The story’s central character, Jory, joins the stage crew at his new high school, and discovers an entire world backstage. If you’re a theatre person, you probably know the exact people I’m talking about.
Jory’s story is one that we can all relate to: showing up to High School–in this case an all-boys school–without knowing who we are, let alone what we want to do, for what is supposed to be the first step toward the rest of our lives. Issue One draws the line in the sand between the world of Onstagers and our title group of wayward techies.
Coming from the land of High School and College Theatre, I can remember times being on stage and wondering what sort of strange, foreign magicks the technical crews were up to while not needed in the weeks. I can also remember times in the deepest catacombs of a theatre looking for a single hand prop that would be featured for no more than 5 minutes. It was in these times where I would hear of stories similar to those told in this exciting first issue.
If you have no relation to the theatre world, but are looking for something fun to read, let me offer this comparison. The world behind the curtain features a bizarre look at a type of alternate reality unknown to us in the audience, but one that I would compare to the podcast world’s “Welcome To Night Vale” that is reacted to with a similar sense of banality from our cast.
Do yourself a favor and support this new book. To get a print copy use findacomicshop.com or comicshoplocator.com or find it on your favorite digital publishing service now!